Is Hammer Toe Surgery Right for You?
Hammer toe, mallet toe, and claw toe are conditions that can affect the second – fifth toes of the foot. These conditions are characterized by abnormal flexing of the joints inside the toe itself. If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions you may already know that surgery is sometimes employed by people who wish to correct the abnormal flexing and the accompanying pain.
Patients curious about how to fix hammertoe and related conditions should speak with a doctor or podiatrist to explore a range of treatment options. A health care provider will typically suggest non-surgical forms of treatment initially, even if surgery is recommended. Non-surgical forms of treatment for hammertoes will help relieve your day to day symptoms and can help manage pain. Your surgery date may be set several weeks in the future, so learning about these symptom management techniques will certainly be to your advantage.
Weighing your surgery options
To start with, it is important to understand the three most important reasons that surgical treatment for hammertoes might be recommended.
These are pain, sores on the foot, and irritation. While the appearance of an affected toe might be dissatisfying to the patient, there may be non-surgical forms of treatment available to treat this particular concern.
- Pain – In hammer toe, the affected toe is bent towards the bottom of the foot. This can cause the tip of the toe to strike the ground with each step, resulting in considerable pain anytime the patient walks.
- Sores – If the tip of the toe continues to strike the ground during walking, the site of impact can become damaged. This might result in the formation of a sore. Wounds that are unable to heal fully and stay healed are sites for infection and other potentially serious problems.
- Irritation – The foot contains a complex network of bones and soft tissue; any disturbance to one portion is likely to affect others. You might experience pain and irritation in other parts of your foot as a result of hammer toe.
What are the risks of surgery?
All surgery carries a degree of risk and as a patient you have a right to be informed of these risks. This information will give you an idea of what you can expect from surgery; having realistic expectations about the surgical experience will also help you prepare for this experience. Possible risks of hammertoe surgery include bleeding, infection of toe bones, poor toe alignment, allergic reactions to surgery-related medications, painful scaring, nerve damage and numbness, and toe stiffness. There may be other risks in addition to these; your doctor and medical team can tell you more.
You do not need to suffer from the pain and on-going discomfort that frequently results from hammer toe and surgery is just one of the available treatment options. To find out if this is the right option for you, speak with your doctor or a surgeon.