Hammertoe Surgery: All Your Questions Answered

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If you need hammertoe surgery, you probably have plenty of questions. And why not? Hammertoe  — or any kind of surgery — can make you a bit nervous. You need to know what to expect, how to prepare for surgery and recovery, and if there are any complications you should be aware of. It’s only natural to have questions and want answers.

The sure fix for hammertoe

At Houston Foot and Ankle Care, we first suggest changes in your footwear to prevent and help ease the discomfort of hammertoe, a condition that causes the mid-joint of your (typically) second or third toe to bend upward at the knuckle.

Shoe inserts can pad the arch and take pressure off of your toes. A bigger toe box prevents crowding and reduces rubbing on the inside of your shoe. There are even some exercises that . Dr. Gabriel Maislos, board-certified podiatrist at Houston Foot and Ankle Care, can show you to help keep your toe flexible.

But there comes a point with hammertoe when surgery is your only option. For many, surgery offers a permanent solution to the pain and suffering.

Let’s get into some common questions you may have about hammertoe.

Will I be in the hospital for my surgery?

Hammertoe surgery is typically an outpatient procedure. In many cases, Dr. Maislos can perform surgical procedures for hammertoe in his office. For more complicated surgeries, you check into a surgical center, but again, it is likely to be an outpatient procedure.

Will I be asleep during surgery?

Depending on the type of procedure, the condition of your toes, and your overall health, Dr. Maislos uses a local anesthesia to numb your foot temporarily. In other instances, you are asleep for your surgery.

What are the types of surgery for hammertoe?

Of course, the type of surgery you have depends largely on the condition of your toe and the degree to which that condition has progressed. Here are the three most common procedures to fix hammertoe.

Tendon transfer

If your toe retains some degree of flexibility, you may be able to have a tendon transfer. This involves rerouting the tendons of your afflicted toe from beneath the toe to on top. The tendon transfer pulls the toe into a straighter position.

Joint resection

In this type of hammertoe surgery, cutting the tendons and ligaments allows the toe to straighten. Removing the top of the bone further promotes straightening, and pins hold the toe in position.

Fusion surgery

This procedure is similar to the joint resection. Dr. Maislos cuts tendons and ligaments as well as the ends of the bone. When the toe is straightened, pins and screws hold the toe in place while the bone heals.

What does recovery entail?    

Your recovery depends on the kind of surgery you have. Dr. Maislos may provide you with a certain type of shoe to wear. This shoe helps you begin walking without disrupting the healing process. In other cases, you may need a walker or crutches. Dr. Maislos may also ask you to elevate your foot several times per day.

It may be a few weeks before you’re able to get your foot wet, so you should place a plastic bag over your foot when you shower. If your hammertoe surgery is on your right foot, you may not be cleared to drive a car for a few weeks.

There may be stretches Dr. Maislos asks you to perform to prevent your foot from becoming stiff. Some swelling is to be expected. Because each surgery is different, the recovery time is different for each.

Will I regain flexibility in my toe?

As each surgical remedy for hammertoe varies, so does your ability to fully bend your toe. Dr. Maislos can answer this question more specifically when you speak with him.

Specific cases have specific questions and answers

These are answers to some of the more common questions and concerns surrounding hammertoe surgery. But every patient, case, and surgery is unique. For specific questions, or to find out if you are a candidate for hammertoe surgery, contact Houston Foot and Ankle Care.

We serve patients in and around Houston, Texas. Dr. Maislos uses state-of-the-art procedures to surgically repair hammertoe and help you live free from foot pain. He strives to ensure his patients have the finest in foot and ankle care. To make an appointment to assess your hammertoe, or any other foot or ankle problem you’re experiencing, contact Houston Foot and Ankle today.