More Information
via our confidential request form

Hammer Toe Surgery at Our Los Angeles Center

Hammer toe is a condition that most commonly affects your second toe, causing it to point slightly downward or appear clenched like a claw. The affected portion of the toe is the tip. If another portion of the toe points downward, this is known as a mallet toe.

This condition most commonly occurs if you wear shoes that are too tight in the toe box or high-heeled shoes. The position of your toes can contribute to the bending in your second toe to make room for your other toes. In addition to pain when moving the toe, you also may experience a callus or corn on the area because your toe is rubbing against your shoe. You will likely feel pain with a variety of toe motions, such as walking, pointing or flexing the foot.

However, you can also experience a hammer toe following an injury where you either jam or break your toe. Those with diabetes or arthritis may be at increased risk for nerve damage that can cause your toe to develop abnormally. A previous history of stroke also increases the risk you will experience a hammer toe because your nerves may not function properly.

When you initially experience this condition, you may try making changes in footwear that reduce how crowded your toes are in your shoes. However, if your toe has become inflexible and feels tight with each movement, at-home relief measures may not be sufficient in repairing your hammer toe and surgery may be indicated.

Surgical Approaches

Hammer toe surgery is typically an outpatient procedure where your physician will perform the surgery and you will go home the same day. The anesthesia used is local anesthesia, meaning your toe will be numbed, but you will not be put to sleep during the procedure.

Your physician will use a physical examination and imaging to determine the best approach for reducing your hammer toe. For example, if your toe has retained some flexibility, your surgeon may recommend releasing or cutting the tendon to keep the toe from curling and tightening.

However, a rigid toe may require both cutting the tendon and removing pieces of bone. In this instance, your doctor may fix your toe with pins that keep the toe in place and healing in a straight fashion.

Following surgery to repair your hammer toe, you can expect some swelling, redness and stiffness. You always should notify your physician if these symptoms seem to be worsening instead of improving over time after your surgery. Elevating your foot to promote blood flow return can help to reduce these symptoms.

Keep your foot clean and dry post-surgery to minimize post-surgical infection risk. If you have diabetes, the incision site may be slower to heal.

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions regarding the level of movement you can achieve. For example, some people are able to bear weight on the affected foot immediately while others may need to rest the foot for a few days or weeks.

A correct hammer toe may take several months to properly heal post-surgery. Your toe may appear slightly swollen or puffy during this time as the toe heals. While this may affect your shoe choices post-surgery, it is important to wear stiff-soled shoes that protect the toe. Because nerves or blood vessels may have been affected during the procedure, you may feel some tingling or numbness in the foot or surrounding area.

Remember that surgery does not mean you will never experience hammer toe symptoms again. You must not repeat any habits that caused you to experience the hammer toe in the first place, such as wearing tight shoes. Talk to your surgeon about measures you can take post-surgery to keep each step pain-free.

Web Analytics