If one of your toes has a bend in the middle joint that causes it to rub against your shoes, you might have hammer toe. This condition is caused by a muscle imbalance in your toe that causes it to curl. When the toe muscles are out of balance, the ligaments in your toe are affected and they can't hold your toe straight like they should. This condition can be painful and make it difficult to wear shoes. Your podiatrist may recommend surgery if more conservative treatments don't help. Here's what you can expect with this type of foot surgery.
Hammer Toe Surgery Is An Outpatient Procedure
You can have this surgery done at an outpatient clinic under local anesthesia. Your toe area is completely numb, so you don't have to worry about discomfort. You may also be given medication to help you stay relaxed during the procedure, but you'll be awake. This allows you to go home as soon as possible after the surgery is complete.
Different Foot Surgeries Can Help Hammer Toe
Your podiatrist has a choice in the type of surgery to do for your hammer toe. One option is to do a tendon transfer that helps stretch the toe back into a flat position. Tendon release surgery allows the toe to stretch back out when the tendon no longer causes it to curl. Instead of operating on the tendon in the toe, the doctor may operate on the joint instead. This could involve doing a joint resection that removes part of the joint bone. You might need pins in your toe while it heals from this surgery to help hold it straight.
Another type of joint surgery is fusion surgery that requires removing part of the joint so the toe can straighten out. The bones on each side of the joint are held together with pins until they have time to fuse together. After the fusion, your toe should stay straight. All these surgeries have the goal of making your toe straight again and reducing pain.
Recovery Often Takes Several Weeks
Recovery from foot surgery can take several weeks. You won't be able to walk on your foot until your doctor says it's okay. You may need to use crutches or a knee walker so you can get around without bearing weight on your foot. You won't be able to drive or resume many of your usual activities for at least a few weeks. Expect some pain right after the surgery that can be controlled with medication. You'll probably be encouraged to keep your foot elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling and help with pain. You'll have visits with your podiatrist as you heal and you'll be allowed to return to your usual activities gradually based on the speed of your recovery. Factors such as your age, type of surgery, and general health affect how quickly your toe will heal.