While hammer toe is a condition that can be managed with physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and non-prescription pain medication, it can only be reversed through surgical intervention. If non-surgical treatments are not giving you the relief you desire or if you wish to correct the appearance of hammer toe then your doctor may recommend that you consider your surgical options.
Surgical hammertoe treatment is a relatively common method of treating this condition and there are many surgeons who specialize in foot-related procedures so finding someone to perform the surgery will likely not be difficult.
Hammer toe surgery basics
Because there are several conditions that can result in abnormally flexed toes, there are several surgical procedures that can be employed in their correction. During surgery a small portion of bone may be removed in order to reduce the degree of joint contracture. This will minimize the bend while still leaving the joint mobile. In other procedures the tendons may be cut or transplanted to correct the bend; the soft tissue may also be pinned with a bit of surgical wire. In some cases the bones of the joint may be fused together; this will prevent the affected toe joint from bending. This form of surgery is not likely to impact the joints at the ball of the foot, only the joint inside the toe itself.
The specific procedure that your surgeon will employ will depend on multiple factors. Once your surgeon has selected a technique he or she can explain the procedure in more detail. Your surgeon can also tell you what kind of hammertoe surgery recovery time you can expect to experience based on the nature of your particular case and the type of surgery that will be performed.
How to prepare for surgery
To prepare for surgery, you will probably have to:
Stop smoking. Smoking can slow down the healing process and prolong your hammertoe surgery recovery time.
- Inform your medical team of what medications you are taking. Adjustments may need to be made in order to improve the surgical experience; specifically, drugs that affect the blood’s ability to clot (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) may have to be discontinued for a while.
- Let your medical team know if you are sick or have recently recovered from an illness.
- Refrain from eating or drinking anything 6 – 12 hours prior to surgery.
While changing shoes and employing symptom management techniques can make it possible to live with a minimum of inconvenience, the hammer toe condition will not reverse itself. Correcting this and similar types of toe deformities can be done with surgery. If you would like to know more about your surgical options, just ask your doctor.
Source: MedlinePlus “Hammer Toe Repair” C. Benjamin Ma, MD, 7/14/2012
Source: Bunion Surgery NY “Hammer Toe Surgery” Accessed 10/17/2013