Having a hammertoe can be frustrating. This painful deformity can make fitting into your shoes very difficult. You may even get to the point where it’s hard to do your daily activities. If you have tried conservative methods, it might be time to consider hammertoe surgery as an alternative.
What is Hammertoe?
This deformity happens when one or more of the middle joints of the toes become bent in an abnormal position. This causes them to resemble a hammer or mallet, which is where the name comes from. Many people who suffer from this condition are women, as a result of wearing tight high-heeled shoes. However, other risk factors may include trauma, genetics, and nerve disorders.
Some of the side effects or symptoms of hammertoe include the signature bend in the toe, an inability to move them without pain, and the development of corns or calluses from the friction. It is easiest to fix a hammertoe in the early stages with just shoe inserts or physical therapy. When it is left untreated, it becomes more difficult. In these severe cases, surgery may be required.
What Can I Expect From Surgery?
You should never enter into surgery lightly. It is important to exhaust all other options before going under the knife. However, as far as surgeries go, this one is a fairly simple procedure. It is done on an outpatient basis and usually takes no more than 15 minutes. A few small incisions are made in the toes and the tendons are repositioned so that the toe does not bend abnormally. Patients can typically walk immediately after the surgery with the help of special orthopedic shoes. Pain medication can be administered by a doctor as needed.
What Can I Expect in Post-Op?
As with all open wounds, your body will need time to heal. It is important to follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions, otherwise you might end up with an infection. For the first week or so you will want to rest your foot. It is a good idea to elevate it and apply ice in order to keep the swelling to a minimum.
Do your very best job at keeping your bandages clean to avoid a possible infection. This means changing the dressings daily and applying an antibacterial ointment on the surgical site. Usually, at about two weeks post-op, you will go back in for a check-up and to have your sutures removed. You will no longer need to wear the orthopedic shoes, but instead can wear a wide athletic shoe. It is still not recommended to wear open-toed shoes at this point. You might be encouraged to do physical therapy on your toes as they heal. Over time, you will be able to get back into your normal physical activities, but the healing process is important—try not to overdo it!
When Should I Seek Medical Help?
The earlier you catch a hammertoe, the easier it is to treat. At the first sign of a deformity beginning to develop, call Dr. Robert Parker at (281) 497-2850 to schedule an appointment. Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston can help treat your hammertoe with conservative methods, but we can also perform hammertoe surgery if it becomes necessary. Call today to learn more.