Hammertoe causes an abnormal bending of the toes. It can happen to a single toe or multiple toes and results in the toes remaining in a curled position that resembles a hammer. Hammertoe is often painful, causes corns and calluses, and affects daily activities such as walking or wearing shoes. When conservative treatment does not help or hammertoe is severe, surgery is recommended.
Types of Hammertoe Surgery
When hammertoe is advanced or is causing problems with daily activities, surgery is recommended to correct the condition. Surgery is done as an outpatient procedure and is based on the type of hammertoe and problem you are experiencing. Surgery options include:
- Tendon transfer
- Tendon lengthening
- Joint fusion
Surgery may require the use of small pins, rods, or screws to connect the ends of the bones together or to hold the tendons in place. Stitches are commonly used to close the incision and a bandage or dressing will be placed over the surgical incision.
Hammertoe Surgery Recovery
After surgery, your podiatrist will give you instructions for your recovery. Recovery usually takes four to six weeks. Recovery from hammertoe surgery may involve the following:
- Medication. To minimize pain and reduce swelling, you may be given pain medication to take for the first few days following surgery. This should be taken as prescribed.
- Rest. It is important to stay off your feet and keep your foot elevated to reduce swelling and pain.
- Ice. Ice may be used for 10-20 minutes at a time to help with pain and swelling.
- Keeping your foot dry. You will need to keep the foot dry until stitches are removed. This typically takes two weeks.
- Wearing a surgical shoe. A surgical shoe may be worn to protect the toes and keep weight off the foot. You may need to use crutches or a knee scooter as well.
- Following driving restrictions. You may be advised to avoid driving a vehicle if the surgery was done on your right foot.
Hammertoe can return after surgery and may require non-surgical treatment. Some other complications that can occur after surgery include:
- Pain, swelling, or redness
- Stiffening of the toe
- Damage to the nerves
- Blood clots
- Bones that do not heal properly
When to See a Podiatrist
If you have questions about hammertoe surgery or are experiencing pain in your feet or toes, Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry can help. We offer a free initial consultation and can create a treatment plan based on your personal needs. To set up an appointment, fill out our convenient contact form or call our office at (301) 515-FEET.