Hammertoe Surgery: The Tools of Toe Repair

To do a good job on a project, you really need the right tools. A screwdriver isn’t as helpful when you need a hammer, even if you used the screwdriver effectively earlier. The right “tools” can apply to your foot health, too. When conservative methods aren’t working well enough for your hammertoe pain, you may need an alternate treatment “tool:” hammertoe surgery.

A Quick Review of Hammertoes

Hammertoes are common toe deformities that can make wearing certain shoes or being active uncomfortable for you. It’s the result of an imbalance in the muscles or connectors in your foot. Every toe is held straight and allowed to bend by a pair of muscles and tendons. When one in the set is tighter or shorter than the other, however, it pulls more, bending your digit so the middle joint sticks up. This can make it very uncomfortable to wear particular shoes or, in some cases, participate in certain activities. Over time, your toe can get stuck in this position. Hammertoe surgery is one of the treatment options to truly correct this problem.

When Is Surgery Your Best Option?

Normally conservative measures are successful at straightening out a hammertoe and alleviating your discomfort. Stretches, exercises, shoe changes, and even taping and strapping help loosen up and treat the imbalance in your foot. The does come a point, however, when conservative methods are not enough. A hammertoe can grow fixed in the bent position. You continue to struggle with pain and may be more prone to calluses on the affected digit, despite noninvasive treatments.

It’s at this point that hammertoe surgery becomes your best option. Surgery corrects the imbalance and straightens out your toe, eliminating the problem and relieving your discomfort.

Your Surgery Experience

Our foot doctors at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will help you determine if surgery is the right step for you. Once you decide to go forward with it, we’ll plan out the procedure and your recovery with you. There are several different approaches to hammertoe surgery, and whichever one will be best for you will depend on your unique needs. The procedure may include releasing the muscle or moving the tightened tendon so it is more balanced with its opposite. You may need to have part of your joint removed to straighten a rigid digit. In some cases, fusing the stiffened joint into a straight position might be necessary.

After the procedure, you’ll have to wear a protective boot and keep your foot propped up as much as possible to reduce swelling. It may be several weeks before you can start walking normally again. You may need physical therapy as well to help with your healing.

Hammertoe surgery is not as overwhelming as you might think. The procedure is safe and can make a big difference for your comfort. If you’re struggling with hammertoes, or worry that conservative methods are not working, it may be time to consider surgery. We’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact Dr. Oberholtzer-Classen and the team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Parker, and Denver, CO for more information or a consultation today. You can reach us online or by calling (303) 805-5156.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC