While a variety of conservative, non-surgical methods for treating hammertoes are available, sometimes the condition has progressed beyond the point where anything but a surgical intervention will provide the necessary relief of pain and discomfort. The surgical procedure is designed to straighten out the toe by aligning the joints and minimizing unnecessary contractions so that the toe remains straight during regular activities such as walking and standing.
There are two categories of hammertoe surgery that are generally employed:
- Fusion surgery—This procedure mends the deformed bone by removing the disfigured joint and mending the two ends together with specially designed hardware and pins. Ligaments and tendons that help support the toe will also be modified as necessary to help the toe maintain a straight position. In the case of hammertoes that are still flexible, the surgeon will often move a tendon from the top of the offending toe to the bottom where it will more effectively achieve the desired alignment.
- Joint resection surgery—Used mostly for hammertoes that are no longer flexible, this method involves the removal of the end of the joint so straightening can be achieved. The toe will be held in the correct position with hardware.
Recovery from hammertoe surgery:
Since most hammertoe surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, you will most likely be able to return home on the day of the procedure. The typical recovery lasts about six months and involves a physical therapy regimen with toe and foot exercises to gradually recover strength and flexibility.
If you are experiencing complications with a hammertoe, enlisting the services of a skilled podiatrist will help you find the best solution. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, diabetic foot issues, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, and chronic tendon pain. Podiatrists Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Our offices are conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact us.