When to Consider Hammertoe Surgery

by | Jul 21, 2017

At Premier Podiatry Group, we know choosing to undergo surgery isn’t an easy decision for you, nor should it be. There are many considerations you should weigh, including the recovery period. The good news is that we are here to help you when deciding if you should use a procedure like hammertoe surgery to correct a progressive toe deformity. We will make sure you have the information you need to make a confident choice.

Of course, we will always attempt to treat your condition with conservative (nonsurgical) methods first. With deformities like hammertoes—and related conditions like claw and mallet toes—some of the conservative treatment options used include things like custom orthotics, switching to shoes that are have more room in the toe box area, and taking medication to relieve any pain you experience.

It is worth noting that, much like with a bunion, conservative care can address the symptoms, but is not able to reverse the condition. To actually correct a toe that is abnormally bent, surgery needs to be used. That being said, the best chance for nonsurgical treatment to be effective is when the condition is in its earliest stages. If you have not caught it early enough, or if the deformity is severe and prevents you from performing normal activity because of pain, these are all signs we may need to discuss a surgical procedure.

The root cause of a hammertoe and related conditions is an imbalance in strength between the muscles and tendons on the top of your toes versus the ones found in the bottom. We can correct the problem by either cutting supporting tissue or moving tendons.

Other potential surgical options for hammertoe correction include arthroplasty and arthrodesis. Arthroplasty removes part of the affected toe bone. Arthrodesis involves removal of part of the affected joint, then allowing the bones to fuse together. In some cases, we may even need to straighten the toe or replace a bent joint with an implant.

After your surgical procedure, we will provide you with post-op instructions. You can expect to experience at least a certain degree of stiffness and swelling in the area as healing commences. Complete healing typically takes around three to six weeks, but we will discuss this together and help you understand what is reasonable for your unique situation.

it’s important to note that having the problem addressed sooner is best. Hammertoes, much like bunions, are progressive in nature. This means they will only worsen over time when left unaddressed.

If you have a hammertoe, claw or mallet toe, or bunion, come see us. Our team at Premier Podiatry Group will provide the care you need—surgical or otherwise—so you can live your life and do the activities you love doing. To request an appointment or for additional information about hammertoes, give our Ebensburg office a call at (814) 472-2660 and we will be glad to help.