When Should You Consider Hammertoe Surgery?

Hammertoe typically occurs when one or more of the three middle toes bend upward at the middle toe joint. From the side, a hammertoe resembles an upside-down letter V. Similar conditions that involve the lower joint or top joint, are known as claw toe and mallet toe.

Causes of hammertoe

One or a combination of causes can result in this toe deformity. Here are the most common causes of hammertoe:

In early cases of hammertoe

Here at Hoosier Foot & Ankle, we treat hammertoe in a variety of ways. Depending on the cause of your hammertoe, and whether it’s caught early enough, you can sometimes alleviate it through lifestyle changes.

Wearing orthotic shoes with excellent arch support and ample room in the toe box will distribute the pressure on your foot and toes evenly while supporting the arch.

We may also use medication or try taping the toe to relieve the imbalance and provide pain relief.

Soaking your feet and using a pumice stone to remove the calluses and corns that form on the top of the afflicted toe can help too. Corn pads can help protect sensitive spots.

Performing exercises to stretch the feet and toes helps strengthen your foot and toe muscles and keep the tendons flexible.

A sure solution

Oftentimes the only sure solution for fixing a hammertoe is surgery. The more advanced your condition, the more likely your tendons have been affected and a surgical solution can realign your toes to make walking comfortable again.

In general, if we’ve tried more conservative treatments, but your hammertoe is affecting your balance or causing you a lot of pain, surgery is probably necessary. Our podiatrists are also foot and ankle surgeons who can guide you in a decision about when it’s time to do surgery and discuss the surgical options with you.

What to expect

Hammertoe surgery is typically done as an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t have an overnight stay in the hospital. It may be done under general anesthesia so you’re asleep for the operation. Your doctor may have other anesthesia options available if need be.

We may use one of three types of surgical solutions for hammertoe:

Recovery from hammertoe surgery takes some time, and you’ll come back to see us to make sure your toe is healing well. If you surgery required placing screws or pins in your toe, those are removed a couple of weeks after your surgery.

Take the next step

At Hoosier Foot & Ankle we take your foot health seriously. One of our dedicated physicians assesses your condition and helps you make the best choice to correct your hammertoe and alleviate your pain.

We have six locations to serve you: Carmel, Indianapolis, Franklin, Greenwood, Zionsville, and Fishers, Indiana. Contact us by phone or online to make an appointment.

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