Why Surgery Is Typically Required to Treat Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a painful condition of the foot caused by a weakened muscle. The afflicted muscle causes certain tendons to shorten, which makes your toe curl upwards at the knuckle. Left untreated, this condition will only get worse and may affect your knees, hips, back, and neck.

The experts at Family Foot and Ankle Clinic, LLC in Wisconsin offer advanced treatment for hammertoe, including surgery to correct advanced cases of the condition.

What causes hammertoe?

The causes of hammertoe aren’t always obvious, but genetics can play a role, as can ill-fitting shoes, such as high heels and those with a small toe box area. Some people experience hammertoe as the result of a high arch that puts strain on the toes; others develop hammertoe due to arthritis.

While it’s possible for hammertoe to affect any of your toes, it typically shows up in the second and/or third toe.

The impact of hammertoe

For those who suffer with hammertoe, finding comfortable shoes can be a real challenge. As the affected toe curls upward at the knuckle due to the shortened tendons, it tends to rub on the inside of your shoe, causing painful corns, calluses, and blisters. These can easily become infected if not treated immediately.

Additionally, hammertoe can affect the way you walk. The pain can cause you to adjust your gait, which may impact your knee, hip, and back muscles, causing misalignment and even more pain. This can be a frustratingly difficult byproduct of hammertoe and a solid reason to visit your podiatrist and explore your treatment options.  

Treatments for hammertoe

There are a few treatments for hammertoe that aren’t invasive and may help alleviate the pain you’re experiencing. However, these noninvasive treatments are really only effective early on.

Special insoles to take the pressure off your toes or padding to prevent blisters and calluses will treat the pain but not the problem. The only permanent solution for painful, unsightly, hammertoe is surgery.

For advanced hammertoe — when you are unable to flex your toe — surgery is the only option to restore your ability to move your toe. Through hammertoe surgery, your physician can remove the deformed or traumatized bone, reposition your toe, and realign your joints by repositioning your tendon.

Hammertoe surgery

Most hammertoe surgeries are routine and typically take place in a clinic on an outpatient basis, so you don’t need to be concerned about a lengthy hospital stay.

At Family Foot and Ankle Clinic, LLC, we use the latest techniques in hammertoe surgery. Your surgery is performed in as minimally invasive a manner as your condition allows. Our podiatrists are experienced in hammertoe surgeries and are confident you can live without the pain you’ve come to know.

You’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure proper healing and full recovery. Even if you begin to feel like you can run a 5K, don’t be tempted to do anything until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. Bones take time to heal properly; this can take a while, but usually no more than a few weeks.

Family Foot and Ankle Clinic, LLC has four convenient locations in Weston, Merrill, Marathon City, and Antigo, Wisconsin. For a permanent solution for your hammertoe pain, call today.

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