Hammertoe surgery may be required when you have been diagnosed with having a hammertoe by your doctor.Hammertoes occur mostly due to prolonged usage of badly fitting shoes, or by changes to the way which foot is made to perform its job.
At the early stages of hammertoe formation, the problem can be easily reversed and the toes can be straightened with out surgery. The toes remain quite mobile to begin with, and providing corrective measures are taken early, symptoms can be reduced and problems will cease.
The use of a splint or a toe straightener will keep the toe in the correct position and should reduce the symptoms in mild cases. The high heels will need to go, and flat, well fitting shoes with plenty of space for the toes should be used instead. If there is any pain or swelling, then a doctor will be able to prescribe antiinflammatory drugs and painkillers.
If early diagnosis and treatment does not occur, the problem will deteriorate and the joint will become fixed and immobile. In severe cases the joint can become totally dislocated, causing the toe to stick up in the air, making wearing shoes painful and difficult.
In more severe cases, and when the problem has persisted for some time, it is necessary to undergo hammertoe surgery. There are different operations which are used, depending on the nature of the problem. The key types of surgery are tendon transfer, digital arthroplasty and digital arthrodesis
Tendon transfer involves taking the tendon from under the toe and attaching it to the of the toe. This has the effect of pulling the toe down into the correct position, and can suffice in itself, or may be part of multiple procedures.
Even celebrites have undergone hammertoe surgery such as Brooke Shields.
Digital arthroplasty and arthrodesis involve removing part of the bone from the toe, at the joint with the rest of the foot. The removal of excess bone allows the toe to move freely again, and is performed when non-invasive corrective methods have all failed. Arthorplasty removes the bone from half of the toe joint, and will allow movement of the toe again, although somewhat less than before the problem started. Arthrodesis is the removal of the whole joint and will leave the toe in the correct position, however the toe will be immobile; pinned or wired in place.
As with any surgery there will be a period of recovery when pressure cannot be placed on the foot. Due to the nature of the procedures, there is likely to be stiffness, swelling and pain directly after the surgery. In some cases the procedure is very straightforward. Modern painkillers can reduce any post-surgical discomfort and make pain manageable as the toes and joints heal. Problems rarely persist for more than two weeks after a standard hammertoe surgery procedure.