Will Surgery help your Hammer Toes?
In one word, “Yes,” but like any problem related to the human body, it’s not always that straight forward. If the joint closest to the foot of one or more of your toes always seems to stick up like a knuckle, the chances are you have a hammer toe.
This condition usually affects the second toe, but sometimes other toes are involved. The protruding joint becomes a problem in shoes; the upper of your shoes may rub or press down on this joint causing pain and maybe a corn will form. Meanwhile, the end of the toe is pushing down into the sole of the shoe and is taking more weight than it should so it too is susceptible to corns.
If the second or third toes are longer than the big toe, the toes are often pushed back in the shoes resulting in hammer toes. Sometimes, shoe pressure just forces the tip of the toe down while the rest of the toe remains straight. This is known as a mallet toe and may be just as uncomfortable as a hammer toe. Both conditions may also be a result of injury or arthritis.
Is surgery necessary?
The answer to that is, “Not always.” Schedule an appointment with podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal, D.P.M. and he will determine whether or not surgery is necessary. In young people whose joints are still soft and malleable, conservative treatments can be tried first. Sometimes, footwear advice may be all that is necessary, and at other times a custom-made orthotic (insole) can straighten the toe over time. Flexible toes also respond well to silicone toe splints.
If conservative treatments fail, Sheldon H. Nadal has many years’ experience with minimally invasive surgery. The benefits of this technique are minimal trauma, reduced pain, and a quick recovery. The procedure takes place in the office with just a local anesthetic.