While it might seem unnatural to have uneven toes, the truth is that this condition is very common. That’s why the second toe shortening surgery procedure is becoming more and more popular, no matter if it’s done to ease discomfort while walking or simply for cosmetic reasons. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this type of medical procedure, from the most common symptoms to the recovery process after the surgery.
What Is Second Toe Shortening Surgery?
Second toe shortening surgery, also known as second toe correction or second toe hammertoe surgery, is a surgical procedure performed to address a condition called hammertoe or mallet toe. Hammertoe is a deformity of the toe in which it becomes bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer or a mallet.
During second toe shortening surgery, the surgeon aims to correct the deformity by removing a small section of bone from the middle joint of the toe. The surgery involves the following steps:
- Anesthesia: The patient is usually given local anesthesia to numb the foot, although general anesthesia may be used in some cases.
- Incision: The surgeon makes a small incision over the top of the toe or along the side, depending on the specific case and the surgeon’s preference.
- Bone removal: The surgeon carefully removes a small section of bone from the middle joint of the toe, allowing the toe to straighten.
- Soft tissue adjustments: In some cases, the surgeon may need to release or lengthen the tendons and ligaments surrounding the toe to achieve proper alignment.
- Closure: The incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples.
After the surgery, the patient may be required to wear a special postoperative shoe or a protective device to promote proper healing and support the foot. The recovery period can vary, but typically it involves rest, elevation, and limited weight-bearing for a few weeks. Physical therapy exercises may also be recommended to restore flexibility and strength to the foot.
It is important to note that second toe shortening surgery is considered a last resort when conservative treatments, such as wearing properly fitting shoes, using orthotic inserts, and doing toe exercises, have failed to provide relief. The procedure should be performed by a qualified foot and ankle surgeon who can assess the specific condition and determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
Who Is It For?
In recent years, toe-shortening surgery procedures have been done for both cosmetic and functional reasons. That’s because abnormally long toes can cause a lot of pain and discomfort when walking, as well as the feeling of embarrassment of being seen barefoot or in sandals. So, anyone that is experiencing discomfort in any way due to having “Morton’s toes” is eligible to undergo this procedure.
What Causes Long Toes?
Like most bone structure features, having abnormally long toes is a hereditary trait that occurs when one of the metatarsal bones is significantly longer than others. The opposite genetic condition is quite common as well – if one of the bones is abnormally short, you have the option of undergoing a toe-lengthening surgery.
Moreover, it can be done in combination with other interventions to not only make your feet look more aesthetically pleasing but also to correct any underlying problems. So, toe-shortening surgery is regularly performed along with other procedures such as bunion surgery, corn removal surgery, or hammertoe surgery.
What Symptoms Are Associated With Long Toes?
Long toes themselves are not typically associated with specific symptoms. However, individuals with long toes may experience some discomfort or issues related to their foot structure. Here are a few potential symptoms that can occur due to long toes:
- Shoe fitting issues: Longer toes can make it challenging to find properly fitting shoes. This may result in discomfort, corns, calluses, or blisters due to friction and pressure on the toes.
- Toe deformities: Long toes can increase the risk of developing toe deformities such as hammertoes or claw toes. These conditions involve the abnormal bending or contracture of the toe joints, causing pain, difficulty wearing shoes, and possible corns or calluses.
- Balance and stability problems: When toes are significantly longer than the other toes, it can affect the overall balance of the foot. This imbalance may contribute to difficulties with stability and potentially increase the risk of trips and falls.
- Back and knee pain: In some cases, having long toes may alter the biomechanics of the foot and affect the alignment of the lower extremities. This can lead to issues such as back pain or knee pain due to abnormal forces being exerted on these areas.
What Does Second Toe Shortening Surgery Entail?
The second toe shortening surgery entails creating an incision on one side of the second toe, dislocating it, shaving off a certain amount of bone, and fusing all of it back together. In simpler terms, a small portion of the bone is removed, and the rest of it is realigned properly.
As mentioned, medical advancements substantially improved the procedure, and the new technology enables it to be as minimally invasive as possible, with hidden incisions and without any external fixation wires.
How Long Is the Recovery Process?
In most cases, the full post-op recovery of shortening your second toe will take about six weeks. The first couple of weeks should be spent in complete rest, with no strenuous activities that would put your feet under pressure, as it can disturb the healing process and result in serious problems. It’s important to understand that the healing process is different for everyone, and it depends on a couple of factors, such as age and general health condition.
About 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure, it’s recommended to gradually get back to your regular everyday routine, with mild-level exercise to help your toe settle in the right position. It’s important to watch out for any signs of infection and consult with your doctor at every step of the recovery.
Contact Your Miami Surgeon to Book Your Second Toe Shortening Surgery
As mentioned, the most important thing for any patient is to follow the instructions of their chosen medical specialist – this is the essential part of any recovery process, no matter if you’ve undergone a hammertoe surgery or a corn removal procedure. Staying responsible and following professional recommendations will ensure that your recovery is on the right track, with no unnecessary complications developing.
If you’re interested in undergoing a second toe shortening surgery but aren’t sure about the risks, costs, and other details, feel free to contact us directly or through our website. The medical professionals at the Luxe Foot Surgery clinic have all the necessary information, as well as the experience needed to guide you through the entire procedure, including the recovery period.
Is There a Surgery to Make Your Second Toe Shorter?
Yes, there is a surgical procedure called toe shortening surgery that can be used to shorten the length of the second toe. This procedure involves removing a small portion of bone from the toe and realigning the surrounding soft tissues.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Toe Shortening Surgery?
Recovery time from toe shortening surgery varies depending on the extent of the surgery, as well as numerous individual factors, such as age and health condition. In general, it takes about 6 weeks, but the healing process can sometimes last as long as several months, with some patients reporting swelling and discomfort for up to six months after surgery.
How Risky Is Toe Shortening Surgery?
As with any surgery, common risks associated with toe-shortening surgery include bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications, and nerve damage. However, these risks are generally considered low, meaning you can minimize them by choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon and following postoperative care instructions.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From 2nd Toe Surgery?
Second toe shortening surgery recovery time depends on the extent of the procedure, as well as numerous other factors such as age and health condition. In most cases, the recovery takes about 6 weeks.
- Yorkshire Foot Hospital. (n.d.). Toe Shortening and Hammer Toes. Retrieved from https://www.yorkshirefoothospital.co.uk/conditions/toe-shortening-and-hammer-toes/
- Gotham Footcare. (n.d.). Toe Shortening Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.gothamfootcare.com/services/toe-shortening-surgery/
- University Orthopaedic Surgeons. (n.d.). Second Metatarsal Shortening Osteotomy. Retrieved from https://www.uosortho.com/second-metatarsal-shortening-osteotomy-0