Hammertoe Surgery: Post-Operative Care

There will come a time when there will be nothing else that will make your pain go away other than hammertoe surgery.

 

With great care, your podiatrist has explained the details of the surgical procedures, discussed with you anything that can go wrong, and developed the necessary treatment plan for recovering from surgery to achieve the best possible outcome.

 

What is the biggest obstacle to healing your hammertoe surgery? Swelling. The foot cannot start to heal until the inflammation is gone and one of the key signs of inflammation is swelling.

 

Normal toes are small and there isn’t much room for them to swell. Increased pressure on the nerves causes more pain and increased pressure on your circulation to the toe just makes the healing process longer.

 

Here are some tips that can make you control swelling: R-I-C-E.

 

Rest

No matter how minor the surgery is, patients need to treat all surgeries as they do major ones. You daily routine might have to wait for you a little longer – you simply cannot pick up where you left off a day or two following your surgery. Rest involves lying down – not just sitting. Normally, patients who undergo hammertoe surgery are prescribed a boot to wear on their affected foot. The area of surfer needs to be protected or rested while wearing the boot. Removal of the boot should not be done until you are told that you can.

 

Ice

Ice is possibly the most underrated anti-inflammatory in the world. There are, however, certain rules you need to follow when using ice:

  • Do not put ice directly on your skin.
  • Ice is applied to the ankle or behind your knee.
  • Ice is applied for 20 minutes and then left completely off for 40 minutes.
  • Put a washcloth over the ice pack and then rest your knee on the ice.
  • If you leave the ice on for more than 20 minutes or without protecting your skin, you may develop a cold injury or frostbite.

 

Compression

Having snug bandages on your foot help prevent the swelling. There is a big difference between snug and tight – be cautious. The appropriate amount of compression is still comfortable. If your compression is applied too tight, you will notice things like your toe changing colour, usually blue, but sometimes white can also occur. You may also feel numbness and tingling when the bandages are too tight. If you notice these things, loosen the bandage and call the podiatrist immediately. Keep in mind that the layer of the bandage that supplies the compression is the outer most layer. Should you need to loosen the compression, only touch the outermost layer – nothing beneath that without your podiatrist’s orders.

 

Elevation

This is the easiest part, but the one most people fail to follow. Elevation of a foot means getting your foot above your heart. The heart is in your chest, so you have to lie down, prop your foot up on pillows or the arm of a couch. Keep your knee bent slightly for added comfort.