Hammer toe is the term given to a deformity of a toe that causes it to resemble a hammer. The cause of this is the tendon that controls the movement being too short. The middle joint of the toe is bent upward and the end joint downwards.
If you have worked with your doctor and all treatments have failed you may need surgery. The position of the toe may have become so painful you just want something done to straighten your toe. After all the deformity makes walking difficult. The skin may break down due to the position of the toe. If this happens there is a risk of bone infection. If you are having any of these problems with your hammer toe ask your doctor to set you up with a surgeon at Outpatient Services East. The staff there take great pride in seeing that every patient who has a procedure done at their facility is given the best care possible.
As with all surgeries that require anesthesia you will need to talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking as some of them need to be left off for up to a week before the procedure is done. You will need to have someone to drive you to and from the facility and plan to stay with you at least 24 hours.
Your surgeon will discuss with you the options he/she will be using for the procedure. Depending on your needs the corrections may be made with changes to the soft tissue or it may be necessary to make changes to the bone or joint.
If the soft tissue method is used a cut is made in the skin and the tendon is released. The tendon may be reattached to a different area of the bone. Usually the changes in the soft tissue allows the toe to relax and the deformity is eliminated.
The bone method may be needed. Your surgeon may have to use joint arthroplasty or joint fusion or a combination of both. In both methods a cut is made in the skin over the toe joint. During the arthroplasty part of the bones on both sides of the middle toe joint may have to be removed in order for the toe to uncurl. If the fusion method is used the ends of the toe bones are removed. Then the bones are repositioned. A pin may be placed within the bone but will be removed at a later date. The incision will require stitches. Dressings will be applied to hold the toe in proper position.
As this surgery is almost always done as a same day surgery you know all your needs will be meet while you are at the facility. However, once you get home be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. The corrected toe may be a little longer or shorter than it was before the surgery. The toe will not move as much a your other toes. Do not be concerned if there is some swelling and redness. This may last for a few months.
Expect to use crutches or wear a special open toed, wooden soled shoe for as long as your surgeon tells you to do so.
Call Outpatient Services East if you have any question about your upcoming hammer toe correction. Phone: 205-838-3888