What to Expect from Hammertoe Surgery

Aug 2, 2023

At Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers, we understand the impact that hammertoe can have on your daily life. In this condition, the middle joint of the toe bends abnormally, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty walking. 

While surgery is not always the immediate solution, it is an option to consider in severe cases. In this article, we will delve into the details of hammertoe, discuss the criteria for opting for surgery, explore when surgery may not be the best course of action, highlight the benefits of hammertoe surgery, and encourage you to reach out to our experts for personalized hammertoe treatment.

Understanding Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a condition in which the toe bends unnaturally at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. It most commonly affects the second, third, or fourth toe and can be caused by various factors, including genetics, trauma, ill-fitting footwear, or underlying medical conditions like arthritis. The deformity can lead to pain, discomfort, corns, calluses, and difficulties in wearing shoes and walking comfortably.

Choosing Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe surgery is typically considered when conservative treatment options fail to provide sufficient relief or when the condition worsens, causing persistent pain and functional limitations. The decision to undergo surgery depends on the severity of the deformity, associated symptoms, and individual risk factors. At Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers, our expert podiatrists conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if surgery is the most appropriate course of action for each patient.

When Surgery May Not Be the Best Option

While hammertoe surgery can be highly effective, it may not be suitable for everyone. Factors such as overall health, age, and the presence of certain medical conditions can increase the risks associated with surgery. 

In less severe cases where symptoms are manageable and do not significantly impact daily life, conservative treatments may be sufficient. Our experienced foot specialists carefully consider each patient’s circumstances and work collaboratively with them to explore all treatment options before recommending surgery.

Bad Hammertoes

Benefits of Hammertoe Surgery

For severe cases of hammertoe, where pain and functional limitations are significant, surgery can offer substantial benefits. By correcting the deformity, surgery can alleviate pain, improve mobility, and prevent further progression. It can also help reduce the risk of complications such as corns, calluses, and ulcers that may develop due to pressure and friction caused by the deformed toe. At Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers, our skilled surgeons utilize advanced techniques to optimize surgical outcomes and provide patients with the best possible results.

The Hammertoe Surgical Procedure

When hammertoe surgery is deemed necessary, our team utilizes advanced surgical techniques to correct the deformity. The specific procedure will depend on the severity of the hammertoe and the patient’s individual needs. Generally, the surgery involves making small incisions in the affected toe and carefully manipulating the tendons, ligaments, or joints to correct the deformity.

In cases where there is a tendon imbalance causing the hammertoe, a tendon transfer may be performed. This technique involves repositioning or transferring tendons to restore balance and allow the toe to straighten.

Joint fusion, known as arthrodesis, is another surgical option where the surgeon removes the damaged joint surfaces and fuses the bones together. This eliminates the deformed joint and promotes stability and proper alignment. Joint resection, or arthroplasty, is another technique in which a portion of the affected joint is removed to straighten the toe.

During the surgical procedure, the surgeon will meticulously address the underlying issues causing the hammertoe, ensuring the best possible outcome for the patient. Our skilled surgeons have extensive experience in performing hammertoe surgeries, prioritizing both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the foot.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

After hammertoe surgery, a crucial phase begins—the recovery and rehabilitation process. It is normal to experience some discomfort, swelling, and stiffness in the affected toes immediately following the procedure. To aid in the recovery and promote optimal healing, several aspects are considered:

  • Dressing and Bandaging: The surgical site will be dressed and bandaged to protect it and facilitate proper healing. The dressing may need to be changed periodically as instructed by the surgeon.
  • Immobilization and Footwear: Depending on the extent of the surgery and the surgeon’s recommendations, you may need to wear a special surgical shoe or a walking boot to limit movement and provide support during the initial healing phase. Your surgeon may also recommend specific footwear or orthotic devices to aid in the recovery process.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises play a crucial role in the rehabilitation process. These exercises aim to improve strength, flexibility, and restore normal movement of the affected toes. Your surgeon or a physical therapist will provide specific exercises tailored to your needs, ensuring a gradual and safe recovery.
  • Follow-up Care: Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress, remove sutures if necessary, and address any concerns or questions you may have during the healing process.

Recovery time varies depending on the individual, the extent of the surgery, and other factors. It is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon diligently to promote a successful recovery.

hammertoes on single foot

Potential Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with hammertoe surgery. These risks include infection, delayed wound healing, bleeding, nerve damage, recurrence of the deformity, and stiffness in the toes. 

While the risks are relatively rare, it is crucial to be aware of them and discuss any concerns with your surgeon. Choosing a skilled and experienced surgeon, like those at Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers, can significantly minimize the risk of complications and ensure a safe and successful outcome.

Contact Us for Hammertoe Treatment

Hammertoe surgery, performed by experienced foot specialists, can provide lasting relief for individuals suffering from severe cases of this foot deformity. Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers prioritizes patient well-being and offers personalized treatment options, including surgical intervention when necessary. 

By understanding the factors contributing to the decision-making process, the surgical procedure itself, the recovery process, and potential risks, you can confidently approach hammertoe surgery. Do not let hammertoe limit your quality of life—contact Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers to schedule an appointment and explore the best treatment options for your specific needs. Our dedicated team is here to support you on your journey to pain-free and functional feet.