Hammer toe surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, which is used to treat an abnormal curve/bend in the middle toe joint. A deformity makes moving the joint difficult and painful. The affected to rubs against the inside of the patient’s show, which cause calluses, corns, and irritation. When conservative treatment options fail, the discomfort is eased using hammer toe surgery.
What are the causes of hammer toe?
Hammer toe is caused by:
- Tightened tendons that make the toe curl downward
- Having a stroke
- Nerve injuries or problems with the spinal cord
- Jamming, stubbing, or breaking a toe
- Being diabetic
- Wearing tight shoes or high heels that crowd the toes and prevent them from flattening
How is the hammer toe surgery performed?
After cleaning the skin and numbing the region, the surgeon makes small surgical cuts on the affected toe using special tiny instruments. The manipulation involves straightening, cutting, and removing part of the toe’s bones, tendons, or joints, which is used to realign the connective tissue to the foot bones. Incisions are also made to prevent the toe from bending in a downward position. The surgeon installs surgical hardware (wire and pins) to hold structures in place. This hardware is removed at a later date. Small sutures are used to close the incision. A small bandage is then applied.
Who needs hammer toe surgery?
Many people choose to have hammer toe surgery after conservative treatment fail, such as toe strengthening exercises and orthotics. Patients with this condition often experience cramping and stiffness of the toe, pain at the base of the toe, or pain that affects walking or moving about. To determine if surgery is the best option for you, the orthopedic surgeon asks about medical history and symptoms. A physical examination involves taking x-rays and conducting a physical examination.
How do I prepare for the hammer toe repair?
Pre-surgery instructions are given before your surgery is scheduled. After you meet with the podiatrist or surgeon, the doctor evaluates you. Certain blood thinning agents must be held beforehand, as they can cause increased bleeding. After you fill out paperwork, you are given a IV and mid sedative.
What are my options for hammer toe surgery?
There are many surgical methods used to correct hammer toe. The physician determines which method is best for you, which depends on the severity of the deformity. The options include:
- Arthroplasty – Used to promote straightening, half of the joint, located under the crocked part, is removed.
- Tendon transfer – This is performed in combination with other procedures, or alone. The procedure involves moving a tendon from the bottom of the toe to the top, which promotes straightening.
- Arthrodesis – Also called fusion, this is used to straighten the joint underneath where the toe is crooked. A pin or wire is used to assist with healing.
- Basal phalangectomy – To assist people with severe stiffness, this procedure is used to remove the bone on the bottom of the toe.
- Weil osteotomy – Used to assist patients with severe stiffness, this technique involves shortening the bone and inserting hardware to hold structures in place.