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When Surgery for Hammertoe is the Best Option?

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So, you had to abandon your most-loved pair of footwear recently due to the painful hammertoe. That’s really sad! But do you feel that the pain in your toe is getting worse over time? If so, you need to pay more attention to this issue.
The abnormal bending of toes is a common issue, especially among women and the pain may often get severe. But one needs to be more careful about when to undergo surgery. In most cases, the issue can be resolved by following a few nonsurgical remedies and treatments at home.

A few trusted tips are listed below to help you deal with the hammertoe issue:

  • The first most task is to do a careful selection of shoes. You need to pick shoes with a deep and wide toe box that can prevent calluses and corns due to hammertoe. Many people even find sandals or shoes with mesh more comfortable.
  • Experts also recommend following a few toe strengthening exercises to maintain the flexibility of these small muscles.
  • In this technologically advanced era, you can also find some wearable devices such as Yoga Toes for enhanced relief from hammer toe pain.

When you should go for surgery to treat hammertoe?

If your hammertoe has become extremely painful, stiff and you are forced to limit activity, surgery may be desired. One of the pain reasons for hammertoe surgery is prolonged and unbearable pain. When hammertoes are flexible and do not cause more pain, they are listed as mild to moderate. Surgical procedures are usually recommended for hammertoes with severe deformities.
The most commonly followed surgical procedure for hammertoe pain is proximal interphalangeal joint fusion. The toe is stabilized and straightened by fusing two bones permanently together. The old method to execute this surgery was to cut the ends of the toe bones and then join them together. This was done with the help of a k-wire that helped to hold the bones together for around six weeks and then a natural fusion is achieved. At this stage, the artificially inserted wire could be removed. In this treatment, the stainless steel pin from the k-wire sticks out from the toe and the patient may require to take extra care with some soft dressing and proper foot covering. However, most patients were not happy with this procedure.
With the new approach for hammertoe surgery, screws and rods are permanently fixed inside the toe and they don’t stick out. The biggest benefit of this method is that it can keep your toe in a stable and reliable position in the long run. Both these procedures require patients to take rest for around 12 weeks before continuing regular activities with the foot. These surgeries are successful in almost 80 to 90% of cases; however, some patients may experience mild discomfort. Swelling and stiffness in the toe may last for a few months after surgery. The experts are also working on some less invasive surgical procedures for hammertoe. One such procedure is named tenotomy and it requires cutting of tendon instead of bones for treatment.


Besides being the main writer and owner of Life and Experiences, she is also the co-founder of Ayanize Co.