Do you need hammertoe surgery? If you're not sure what to expect after this common podiatric procedure, take a look at the top post-surgical recovery questions answered.
Can You Drive Yourself Home from This Type of Procedure?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors. Anesthesia is the primary reason not to drive yourself home after surgery. Some patients need general anesthesia or sedation. Whether you're completely asleep for the procedure or the doctor gives you medication for relaxation, you'll need a responsible adult to drive you home from the hospital or outpatient surgery center. But if you only get a local anesthetic that numbs your toe, the doctor may allow you to drive after the procedure.
Along with anesthesia, pain may impact your ability to drive following surgery for a hammertoe. You may have discomfort or tenderness in the foot area. This can make it difficult to safely or comfortably drive yourself home.
Can You Walk After Surgery?
Again, you may feel pain or discomfort after this type of procedure. This can interfere with your ability to walk. Talk to your doctor before the surgery about post-procedure activity. The surgeon may recommend that you stay off the foot for several days or weeks to help the healing process.
Will You Need a Special Shoe After Surgery?
Discomfort, swelling, and the healing process can make it difficult, or impossible, to wear your regular shoes after this type of procedure. To protect your foot post-surgery, the doctor may send you home with a special boot. The podiatrist may also recommend specific types of shoes to choose or avoid in the next few weeks or months.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
There's no universal answer to this question. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, some patients have redness or swelling in the surgical area for four to six weeks after the procedure.
The specific length of time recovery takes depends on the type of surgery your doctor chooses (tendon lengthening, tendon transfer, or joint fusion), the severity of the hammertoe, your overall health/ability to heal, and how well you follow the doctor's post-procedure instructions. Failure to follow the doctor's directions could increase pain or infection risks and slow down the healing process.
How Can You Heal Faster?
Your body needs time to recover. But you can take steps to speed up this process. Elevate your foot, stay off the area, and keep all post-surgical podiatrist appointments. Talk to your doctor about other ways to help your hammertoe heal. The podiatrist can provide you with tips to keep you on track during the recovery period.
Contact a local podiatrist to learn more about hammertoe surgery.