Hammertoe occurs from a contracture or degeneration in the toe joints. It usually happens due to imbalances in the tendons and muscles caused by uncomfortable shoes; chronic issues like arthritis can cause it, too. Here’s how a hammertoe surgery before and after looks.
What Is Exactly Hammertoe Surgery?
When you have a hammertoe, the joints get stuck in a flexed position, causing pain accompanied by sores and irritation. This issue can sometimes be resolved non-surgically with physical therapy and exercises, but the best long-term solution is a surgical procedure.
Hammertoe is treated with the following types of surgery:
- Tendon transfer – involves rerouting tendons from the bottom of the toe to the top, thus helping it straighten,
- Fusion procedure – the most common surgical procedure for hammertoe; the ends of the bone at the fixed joint are cut, and a pin is inserted to keep the toe straight. The pin remains there until the ends fuse. Nowadays, there’s a new technique with permanently implanted rods or screws,
- Joint resection – the end of the bone at the fixed joint gets removed, and pins are added to keep the toe straight temporarily.
What Are the Hammertoe Surgery Before and After Potential Risks?
If your hammertoe issue is minor, or you can’t undergo surgery because of an underlying health condition, your doctor will suggest other ways of solving the problem. That’s one potential pre-surgery risk that could significantly impact your treatment method.
After the procedure, there’s a 5-10% risk of returning, although statistics suggest this rarely happens. Otherwise, you could experience balance and walking difficulties post-op due to changed ligaments and tendons.
Overall, the surgery doesn’t pose health risks and is minimally invasive and performed under local anesthesia. Contact us at Luxe Foot Surgery if you want more information on hammertoe treatments. You can reach us via website or phone, and we’re open Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 6 PM and Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
How to Prepare for Surgery?
Before surgery, you’ll have to get checked by a specialist. The doctor can help you learn about hammertoe causes and complications and potential treatment methods for your case.
You’ll learn details about the procedure, such as the kind of anesthesia you’ll be under, how long it will take, and when to arrange for someone to pick you up when it’s over.
Your doctor may introduce a physical therapist to help you improve your balance and exercise the tendons and ligaments on the leg you’re not operating on. This is done so that your good leg can support you during recovery.
Additionally, you’ll have to wear a stiff surgical boot for several weeks and switch to crutches if necessary. These tools will help you stay off your treated foot and heal faster.
What to Wear Before the Surgery?
Before the surgery, wear loose-fitting clothes that you can take off quickly, as you’ll change into a patient’s robe at the hospital. Wear loose shoes and slippers as much as possible to avoid pain and worsening of the hammertoe.
Ensure you bring open-toed shoes for after the procedure, something that won’t tighten around the operated foot.
What to Eat Before the Procedure?
If the doctor plans to give you local anesthesia, you should eat and drink light foods and beverages beforehand. Some doctors recommend not eating anything after midnight, so your body can react to the anesthetic better. This is imperative if you’re going under general anesthesia.
What Should You Expect Post-Op?
The hammertoe correction before and after hammer toe surgery is significant, but the healing process can be uncomfortable. Once the anesthesia wears off, you’ll feel pain and swelling, which can be regulated with painkillers and antibiotics.
Your foot will be bandaged, and the doctor will remove it on their own or instruct you how to do it at home. You will also have to wear a stiff surgical shoe or boot to hold your foot in place and let it rest fully.
You’ll be able to walk a few days post-surgery, but try not to lean on the operated foot too much; the crutches and the surgical shoe will help.
How Does the Recovery Process Go?
The recovery process might be a bit longer than you’d like. You’ll have to rest for at least six weeks before walking regularly again. People typically stand on their feet independently after three months of recovery.
After four to six weeks, you will likely see your physical therapist again to help you recover and ensure you don’t injure yourself while trying to walk normally again. The ideal recipe for best, and most effective results, are physical therapy, cold compresses, and plenty of rest.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Hammer Toe Surgery?
Initial recovery from hammertoe surgery lasts about six weeks. During this period, you’ll have to be light on your feet and avoid walking and strenuous activities as much as possible. Generally, full recovery lasts three to six months.
Is It Worth Getting Hammer Toe Surgery?
This surgical procedure is worth it for anyone with an extremely painful hammertoe. It is around 90% effective, and the chances of patients developing hammertoe again are minimal. It’s the best and most effective long-term solution to this problem.
How Painful Is Hammer Toe Surgery?
Hammertoe surgery is often performed under local anesthesia and isn’t painful at all. You might feel pressure in your feet during it, but no pain. The only painful part will come after the anesthesia wears off. For that, your doctor will prescribe pain medication or antibiotics.
What Are the Risks of Hammertoe Surgery?
The biggest risk of hammertoe surgery is its slight chance of returning. However, this only happens in 5-10% of cases, and there’s always the option of having the surgery again. You might also feel weak and have balance issues in your foot and toes later, but physical therapy often solves those problems quickly.