There is a multitude of situations where treating the complications of hammertoes can require the need for a surgical intervention. When the toe becomes significantly bent in the shape of a hammer to the point that corns are developing on the top of the bent digit, the pain can become unbearable. At this juncture, you should consult with your podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Hammertoes are usually delineated as either flexible or rigid. This designation determines what type of surgery will produce the best outcome. Your foot surgeon will realign the toe joints to decrease contraction, which will have the added benefit of straightening out the toe so it no longer rubs against your footwear.
The two basic types of hammertoe surgery
- Bone Fusion—In this type of surgery, the joint that is bent out of position is physically excised and the bones are fused together in a straightened position often with the help of metal or other hardware. The ligaments and tendons surrounding the toe are also altered to achieve the best result. With flexible hammertoes, the relocation of a tendon from the top of the toe to the bottom of the toe can help achieve the perfect alignment.
- Joint resection surgery—Mostly utilized for inflexible hammertoes, this method of surgery involves the cutting out of the end of the affected joint and use of hardware to hold it in the new position.
What to expect during recovery
These surgeries can usually be done on an outpatient basis, which means you can return home on the same day of the operation. The healing process takes at least 6 to 8 weeks and involves a combination of recuperation, physical therapy, and strengthening exercises to ensure the optimal recovery.
If you are suffering from hammertoes that may need surgery, your foot care specialist is the one to contact. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists treats a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide excellent foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.