20 Jun Understanding Hammer Toe Repair
A Hammer toe is a very common condition that occurs when there is a bend in the middle joint of a toe. This causes the toe to ben downward instead of pointing straight. Any toe can have a hammer toe effect. However, it is most often seen in the second or third toe. While hammer toes can be unsightly and sometimes painful, they do not typically present an extreme danger to the patient. Fortunately, most hammer toe cases are treatable through surgery and patients go on to live a normal and healthy life.
Hammer toes typically develop over time. They can be caused by anything from a traumatic toe injury to arthritis to wearing ill-fitting shoes or even due to a bunion putting pressure on the toe. In rare cases, spinal cord damage may cause all the toes to exhibit a hammer toe effect. Risk factors that contribute to hammer toe include a family history of the condition, wearing pointed-toe shoes, or having corns and bunions that lead to constant friction on the toes.
Mild cases of hammer toe can often be corrected on their own through the use of proper footwear and special insoles. However, if your condition is more severe, you may need surgery to help correct the condition. Fortunately, the procedure does not require serious surgery and most patients remain conscious while having the affected area numbed prior to the procedure.
After the patient is numb, the surgeon will make a couple of small incisions on the affected toe. Then, manual manipulation is used to straighten out the bones in the toe. Wires and pins are used to keep the toe in place and prevent it from curling downward again. Eventually, the wires and pins are able to be removed at a later date.
Hammer toe surgery should only be considered after more conservative treatment methods have been tried and failed. However, if you have a hammer toe that is not bothersome, there is no reason you need to undergo surgery. If you are experiencing pain or have a reduced quality of life due to the aesthetics of the hammer toe you may be a candidate for hammer toe surgery. There are a variety of different surgeries that exist for patients suffering from hammer toe. A consultation with your treating physician is required to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Fortunately, hammer toe is typically not a dangerous condition for patients. It tends to be more of an annoyance as opposed to a genuine problem. However, some hammer toe cases can get so bad the patient begins feeling pain. In these cases, it is worth speaking with a foot specialist to determine whether or not surgery is needed. Foot specialists have a variety of different surgical tools and methods at their disposal depending on your specific condition.
Hammer toe repair is a relatively safe surgery that does not even require general anesthesia. In many cases, it is an outpatient procedure from which patients recover quickly.