Hammer toe and Claw toe surgery


hammer toe and claw toe surgery

What Are the Treatment Options?

When hammer toes and claw toes are causing mild to moderate pain, the simplest solution to try is a wider, more accommodating shoe to allow room for the toes to move. This includes lower heels, softer leather, wider toe boxes, and gym shoes. Use of a pumice stone to thin any corns and callouses is sometimes helpful. Cushions and various soft pads may provide relief from shoe pressure over the toes. Never use a “medicated” corn pad since these contain a strong acid which does not know the difference between the bad and good skin and can lead to a chemical burn or deep open sore which can become infected.

When the hammer toes and claw toes are painful despite the conservative therapy options, or you cannot find shoes that are comfortable, surgical correction should be discussed with your podiatric physician. The longer surgery is delayed in a symptomatic foot, the greater the amount of deformity that develops, and the more complicated the surgery becomes. Patients who have their symptomatic hammer toes and claw toes corrected earlier tend to have greater satisfaction after the procedure. When these treatment options are no longer providing the comfort you need, consultation with your podiatric physician is advised to discuss surgical options.

What Does Surgery Involve?

The goal of surgical correction is to restore normal alignment and function of the toe joint. If the toes are still flexible the tight tendons can be released and the toe straightened through a small poke-hole in the skin. If the toe is rigid, the knuckle is straightened and returned to a normal alignment. A small pin is sometimes placed inside the bones to hold the toe in proper position while it heals. A pin may stick out the end of the toe for a few weeks but is easily removed. If the joint is destroyed from osteoarthritis and is beyond repair, it may need to be replaced with an artificial joint. A Hammertoe is usually involved with a cullus below the second metatarsal head on the bottom of the foot.

Following surgery, the foot is bandaged and a post operative shoe or cast is worn for a few weeks.  Athletic shoes may be worn upon removal of the pin.  Exercise and prolonged standing are restricted for the first 4-6weeks to prevent swelling. A home exercise program is important for regaining the strength and flexibility. You may steadily resume activities and wear more fashionable shoe gear as healing occurs, and in consultation with your surgeon.

As a general rule, Hammer toe or Claw Toe procedures are performed on an out-patient basis in an AHS approved Surgical Center or in a Hospital.  Surgical procedural costs are covered by AHS or the patient may opt for private surgery to avoid a waiting time.  A visit to Feldman Foot And Ankle Specialists will CLEARLY define all available patient options.

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