Having a hammertoe can cause serious pain and discomfort when left untreated, but there are surgical options. Which one is best for you? We explore the options available to you under the expert hands of Dr. Samuel Cox, DPM, and how they work to correct your hammertoe and have you comfortable on your feet and in your shoes again.
Hammertoe is caused by a muscle imbalance in your toes putting pressure on the tendons, leading them to bend abnormally into a hammer shape. This deformation starts off as a flexible hammertoe, where you can still move your toes and may experience only mild discomfort. When left untreated, rigid hammertoe can occur.
With rigid hammertoe, surgery is the only option to restore full function to your toes and foot, and remove the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing.
Invasive surgery means more time off your feet to recover, so Dr. Cox always tries to use the least invasive surgery possible to correct your hammertoe. This is determined through X-rays that show the degree of deformity and other factors that may have an impact, such as damage from rheumatoid arthritis or injury to your toes.
The simplest surgery for your hammertoe is a small incision to release the affected tendon. Other approaches may be necessary, however. Let’s take a look at them.
Your tendons attach the muscles of your toes to the bones beneath, keeping them in the correct position. A deformity occurs when the tendon is put under too much pressure to maintain this position and your toe ends up in the shape of a hammer.
With a tendon transfer, Dr. Cox pulls a different tendon near your hammertoe across the top of the joint to pull your toe into a straighter position. This improves the appearance of your toe, reduces discomfort and pain, and compensates for the muscle weakness that caused the hammertoe.
Under local anesthetic, the bone of your affected toe is shaved down directly underneath the deformity. This makes room for your toe to be straightened and repositioned using physical therapy and simple toe and foot exercises.
Small metal pins or rods may be inserted to keep the toe in the correct position as it heals; they’re usually removed about a month after surgery.
When the hammertoe involves the joint at the ball of your foot, it needs to be released and repositioned. This technique is often performed alongside a joint resection or tendon transfer. Not only does the ball of your foot need to be released from the deformity, but the affected toes need to be corrected back into their natural, straight position.
You’re in the best of hands with Dr. Cox, who’s highly experienced in treating hammertoe through surgery. Knowing that minimal interruption to your day-to-day life is essential, Dr. Cox finds the right surgical option for your medical needs and lifestyle goals. He ensures that recovery time is kept to a minimum and that you’re back on your feet as quickly as possible.
If a hammertoe is causing you discomfort and pain and forcing you to give up your favorite pair of shoes, get in touch with us at Arizona Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC today for your consultation with Dr. Cox. Simply book your appointment online or give our clinic a call.