If you suffer from a painful condition known as "hammertoe," then you may have been looking for relief for some time. You've tried wearing different types of shoes and have attempted some strengthening exercises, while you've also tried to apply ice packs and other solutions to deal with the swelling. However, surgery may be the only realistic option, so what can you expect here, and how long will it take to recover?
Typically, foot surgery like this will take place under a local anaesthetic, and you may be able to attend on an outpatient basis. The surgeon will have several procedures to choose from based on the severity of the issue and will discuss the right course of action before they go ahead.
For example, they may be able to adjust one of the tendons that are close to the affected joint in a procedure known as a transfer. This can help to adjust the toe naturally, reducing the pain and compensating for any weakness in the muscle.
They may also be able to modify the tendons and ligaments in the affected area to help strengthen the toe. Sometimes, they will need to insert some pins that can be removed after a few weeks and, in an unusual situation, may also need to remove a small part of the bone.
Alternatively, they may decide to remove the joint altogether so that the two bones can fuse and become one. This will permanently straighten the toe, but it will certainly help to reduce pain. Once again, pins may need to be inserted while the bones fuse together, but they can be removed thereafter.
This type of surgery has a high success rate, but the patient can expect quite a long recovery, due to the pressure that they will normally apply to the area during movement. The foot may swell, and this could last for an extended period of time, so it may be necessary to wear special shoes to compensate accordingly.
During the recovery, it's a good idea to enlist the help of a podiatrist who can show you some special exercises that will promote healing, strength and function within the foot. It's important to take this seriously, however, to try and prevent this problem from coming back in the future.
Scheduling a Consultation
Talk with your podiatrist and set up your initial consultation so that you are ready to move forward following the surgery.