What You Need to Know About Hammer Toe Surgery

Hammer toe is a painful deformity of the second, third and fourth toes typically caused by shoes that don’t fit correctly such as high heels. While there are various hammer toe treatments, some patients develop severe hammer toe that requires surgery. In these cases there are several different types of hammer toe surgery.

Surgical Options

One type of hammer toe surgery is arthroplasty, also called phalangeal head resection. This surgical procedure removes or reconstructs a portion of the toe joint allowing it to be straightened. The procedure relieves pain and restores range of motion.

The second type of hammer toe surgery is arthrodesis or surgical fusion. Similar to spinal fusion, this procedure involves removal of the cartilage between the toe bones of the joint affected, and then fusing the two bones together. Fusion procedures do limit range of motion, however. The last type of surgery involves an implant. Part of the toe bone is surgically removed, and an implant is put in its place.

What to Expect After Surgery

After surgery, your toe may be stiff, red, swollen, and minor pain may be associated with these symptoms. It is important to keep your foot elevated to decrease the inflammation and help speed the healing process. Your toe may also be shorter or longer than it was prior to surgery.

Hammer toe surgery is typically very successful and have very few complications.  However, complications that may occur include infection, excessive swelling, and possible deviation of the toe.

The toe may also feel soft and limp depending on how much of the bone was removed. This is normal, and may last up to seven weeks, but should not be permanent.

These surgeries are usually done as out-patient procedures and with only local anesthetic, (although they may also be done under general anesthesia in a hospital). In most cases, you are able to go home shortly after the procedure is completed. It is recommended that you stay off the foot for the first few weeks. After about six weeks, most patients can begin wearing shoes that are supportive with stiff soles and wide toes.

If you are considering hammer toe surgery in Manhattan, or need further information, give the best podiatrists in New York, Manhattan Footcare, a call to schedule an appointment.