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The Causes and Remedies of Hammertoe

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Hammertoes result from curling toes that occur due to a bending in the middle joint of the toe. It is the second, third or fourth toes that have Hammertoes and the condition is referred to as rotated toe or contracted toe. Usually, when there is an imbalance of the tendons at the bottom and top of the toes, there results pulling of the toe(s), forming a hammer position, and hence the name hammertoe. There are many reasons for tendon imbalance.

People having hammertoes may find corns and calluses forming on the tip of the toe or else on the middle joint top of the toe. There could be difficulty in walking due to swelling and redness around the toes as well as stiffness. In this situation, Hammertoe surgery is often recommended to relieve pain.

Hammertoes could be rigid or flexible. While rigid deformity could be corrected by surgery, flexible hammertoe can be corrected manually and may respond to foot orthotics for biomedical insufficiencies correction. However, the use of appropriate footwear or foot orthotics could accommodate the deformity.

Hammertoe Surgery: What is the Process?

There are different types as part of hammertoe surgery in Houston that is used for the correction of hammertoes. There are some surgeries that are performed under local anesthetic and are completely safe while others may require general anesthetic. However, in most of the cases, the surgery can be completed during the day itself and there will be no need for overnight stay at the hospital. The surgery is performed by making a small incision and using small tools to work in this foot area.

Types of Hammertoe Surgery

The most common types are:

  • Tendon transfer
  • Arthrodesis
  • Arthroplasty

In tendon transfer, the tendon is re-routed from below the toe to the top of the toe for correcting the position. This type of surgery is performed if there is mobility of the toe. Or else, the surgery is executed along with the other two techniques.

In digital arthrodesis, the toe is straightened and the joint is fused completely. A wire is inserted into the toe and it is extended till the end of the toe for keeping the toe in place for around 4 to 6 weeks.

The third option is Implant arthroplasty or joint replacement in which an implant is inserted in the toe for replacing the removed bone. The implant is made of silicon, metal or rubber.

What to Expect After Hammertoe Surgery

After surgery, there could be swelling, stiffness and limited mobility. The person undergoing surgery may start walking normally either immediately or can take around 8 to 12 weeks. Depending on the surgeon performing the surgery, the instructions after the surgery could differ. Hence one should follow what the surgeon recommends after surgery. Some common recommendations could be continued wearing of appropriate footwear, restricting weight bearing for 24 hours, a splint for about 4 weeks. The surgeon may also recommend exercises to increase the toe muscles and the strength of the foot. 

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