You just can’t take the pain any longer: you want to have your hammertoe surgically repaired. Your doctor has advised you of the possible hammertoe surgery side effects, and while you know there’s no guarantee your hammertoe won’t return, you know you don’t have any other options left.
But how exactly will the surgeon straighten your bent and callused toe—and how long will you be off your feet while it heals?
The three most common types of hammertoe surgery are:
- Tendon transfer. This procedure attempts to correct the position of your toe, and is often used if the hammertoe is still flexible. The surgeon redirects the shortened tendon under your toe to the top of the toe, pulling it upwards and straight.
- Arthrodesis. In the process of digital arthrodesis, your toe will be permanently straightened by fusing the toe joint together. To ensure proper healing, a wire is inserted into the toe that extends through the skin, holding the toe immobile for 3 to 6 weeks.
- Arthroplasty. Your doctor may opt for implant arthroplasty, also known as joint replacement surgery. Instead of fusing the joint, an implant made of silicon, metal, or rubber is inserted in place of the toe bone.
The length of recovery time after hammertoe surgery varies from patient to patient. Some people will be able to walk within hours of the procedure; others will have to remain immobile or in a surgical boot for up to 12 weeks.
All patients should be prepared to suffer pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility for a time after the surgery. Many doctors recommend that patients reduce their risk of further injury by restricting their activities for a few days after the procedure and wearing appropriate footwear when they are able to wear shoes again. When the injury has healed, the patient should practice exercises to strengthen the toes and foot.
If you are considering hammertoe surgery, the podiatrists at HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates would be happy to advise you on which procedure will work best for you. Call us today at 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville to set up your first consultation.
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