26 Nov Is Surgery the Right Option for Hammertoe Repair?
Hammertoe is exactly what it sounds like. One of the toes of a person gets crooked at the middle joint giving it a shape of a hammer. This condition is painful and can hinder the normal routine of a person. The good news is, hammertoe repair is easily possible.
Many people try to treat it through simple tricks. They wear wide toe shoes or orthotics to ease the pain. Some people do toe stretches and exercises. These techniques may work for certain people but are not always effective.
Does a person need hammertoe surgery?
If non-surgical methods have not been successful in treating a person’s misshapen toe, then surgery should be considered. Extreme stiffness and constant pain in the hammer toe is a sure sign that a person should undergo surgery.
Types of hammertoe surgeries
There are various types of hammertoe surgeries that can be used depending on the condition of the patient.
If the hammertoe is still a bit flexible then tendon transfer is employed. In this procedure, a tendon from the bottom of the toe is brought over the joint to help straighten it.
In case, the misshapen toe is no longer flexible, one or both of the bones forming the crooked joint are cut.
- Arthroplasty- one of the bones of the deformed joint is cut and removed.
- Arthrodesis- both of the bones, forming the bent under the crooked toe, are trimmed.
In order to treat severe stiffness, the tendons on the upper part of the toe and the joint at the base of the toe may need to be modified.
- Basal phalangectomy- the bone at the base of the toe is shortened.
- Weil osteotomy- a part of the metatarsal bone is severed and wires and pins are used to keep the rest of the bone in place.
Convenience of the procedure
Hammer toe surgery is an outpatient procedure. This procedure can be done under general or local anesthesia depending on the preference of the patient. No bulky plasters are required after the surgery.
Cost of the repair
Most of the hammertoe surgeries are covered under medical insurance. Therefore, there are no monetary issues related to this surgery. However, if the surgery is undertaken just for the sake of cosmetic appeal then it will not be covered by insurance.
The patient is given special shoes to wear post surgery. Usually, a person can walk after a few days with the help of crutches. For the first few weeks, the patient is advised to keep their leg raised so that less pressure falls on their toe and the healing process speeds up.
Full recovery from the surgery might take a few weeks. The swelling starts to subside after six to eight weeks. This is when most of the people go back to work and start driving. Still, it takes around 3 months for the foot to feel normal again. This time period can vary from person to person.
It is better to treat hammertoe as early as possible. It is a progressive disease and gets worse with time. Non- operative remedies may work in the initial stages but surgery is the ultimate solution for this condition.