What to Expect When You Have Hammertoe Surgery

Having a hammertoe constitutes one of the more common reasons for seeing a podiatrist. This video explains why a hammertoe may develop and how you can prevent its occurrence.

A hammertoe is a joint problem that can affect the second, third, or fourth toe on the foot. When the toe experiences pressure from tight footwear, it can crowd or curl against a neighboring appendage and result in significant pain. Under some circumstances, hammertoe can be alleviated by changing out one’s normal footwear for roomier shoes with ample toe space. For individuals with significant pain, hammertoe surgery may be the better option.

Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third, or fourth toes that causes the affected toe to bend at its middle joint. Hammertoe is commonly caused by shoes that are too tight or by high heels that pinch or put pressure on the toes. If you have hammertoe, you may suffer from extreme discomfort and even have difficulty walking. Here is what to expect if the pain becomes so severe that your podiatrist recommends hammertoe surgery:

Before Your Surgery

Any surgery poses a risk, so be sure to discuss potential side effects with your doctor far in advance. You will experience pain and sensitivity after your surgery, so plan ahead of time to rest and stay off your foot for up to a week. Simple steps like preparing meals in advance, practicing walking with crutches, and rearranging your sleeping arrangements to avoid stairs ensure a successful healing process.

During Your Surgery

Not all hammertoe surgeries are alike—the procedure depends on how much flexibility is left in your toe. If your toe still has some flexibility, your podiatrist may make an incision in the toe to release the tendon. If your toe is rigid, your doctor may need to straighten it by realigning tendons and removing some pieces of bone. Most patients are able to go home immediately following either surgical procedure.

After Your Surgery

Be sure to talk to your doctor about your options for pain medication to relieve any post-surgery discomfort or swelling. You will most likely need crutches or a special walking boot for two to four days, and should plan on returning to work and driving your vehicle after four to weight weeks. When your foot has healed, remember to wear a wide, comfortable shoe with a low heel to give your toe space and prevent the hammertoe from returning.

If you live in the metropolitan Austin area and want to find out more about hammertoe surgery, call us to schedule an appointment with the foot doctors at Austin Podiatry or visit one of other convenient locations.