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Deciding on Hammertoe Surgery – Do You Need It?

The holidays are in full force with the New Year just around the corner. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and think forward to the next. Many people take this time to make resolutions and think about improving their health. If you live with foot pain from something like stiff hammertoes, this is the perfect time to consider if hammertoe surgery is right for you in 2015.

Hammertoes are small toe deformities that typically affect the second digit, which sits next to the big toe. An imbalance in the tendons and pressure on the toe causes the middle joint of the second toe to contract and get stuck in a bent position. Typically this condition can be treated conservatively. Orthotics, shoe changes, toe pads, physical therapy, and splints all help you manage and relieve the bent joint. There are cases, though, when surgery is the best answer to eliminate the problem. The question, then, is at what point you need hammertoe surgery.

Early on, you can straighten the toe back out with a little treatment or by changing your shoes. The toe is still flexible and responds to conservative care. In this case, surgery is unnecessary. You can continue to use noninvasive methods to take care of the problem.

As the problem progresses, though, your toe becomes stuck in the bent position. It may not straighten on its own or be prone to calluses or corns that have a high risk of deteriorating into ulcers, particularly if you have diabetes. This toe becomes consistently painful and can make wearing shoes or even walking normally uncomfortable. That digit may then need hammertoe surgery to recover.

Choosing and going through with forefoot procedures can be nerve-racking. You don’t have to make the choice on your own, though. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC can help you determine if surgery is your best option for recovery—then take you through the whole process. Contact our Metairie, LA, office for more information or an appointment to take care of your hammertoe. Call (504)-708-4810 or use the website to reach us.

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