No one wants to sign up for unnecessary surgery. After all, when many people think of surgery, they probably think of lengthy stays in the hospital, painful side effects, and long recovery times. Yet, the reality is that many foot conditions –– like hammertoes –– can often be most effectively treated through surgical procedures. What’s more, modern surgical techniques have greatly improved the patient experience and eliminated or minimized many of the drawbacks associated with traditional surgery. With that in mind, it’s important to ask two questions: is hammertoe surgery worth it? And, is it necessary? For many, the answer will be a resounding “yes” to both. We’ll explore this subject further here:
What are Hammertoes?
A hammertoe is a condition in which the second, third, or fourth toes curl down and no longer lie flat. Hammertoes are caused by an imbalance of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that hold the toe straight. As a result of this imbalance, pressure on the joints and tendons forces the toe to curl permanently.
Hammertoes may form as a result of a number of factors including:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Toe injury.
- The aging process.
- Improper footwear.
Over time, hammertoes can become extremely painful and make it difficult for a person to walk. Corns or calluses may also form in conjunction with hammertoes.
Flexible vs Rigid Hammertoes
Hammertoes tend to form over a long period of time. Hammertoes may start out as a mild inconvenience and grow into a serious issue if untreated. In essence, there are two types of hammertoes: flexible hammertoes, which still retain movement, and rigid hammertoes, which don’t.
Individuals who still retain flexibility in their toes may be able to find some success using non-surgical treatments like specialized footwear, foot pads, physical therapy, or corrective devices. These methods could lessen pain from hammertoes and work to restore a greater range of movement. (Note, quick diagnosis is key to non-surgical hammertoe treatment methods.)
Individuals with rigid hammertoes should consider surgery their best, if not their only option to alleviate and cure painful hammertoes. As is the case with most conditions, the sooner medical intervention can happen, the better the outcomes are likely to be. And surgery will act to correct hammertoes and pain caused by hammertoes.
While some individuals may be nervous at first to undergo hammertoe surgery, there is, in reality, nothing to fear. Minimally invasive hammertoe surgery is an outpatient procedure that offers many benefits to people suffering from foot pain. Not only is hammertoe surgery effective at correcting hammertoes and alleviating pain, but it’s also a very convenient and safe surgery. Most minimally invasive procedures last only around 90 minutes, and almost all of our patients are able to walk out of the operating room on their own two feet. (We only use local anesthesia during the procedure.)
In many instances, recovery time is short and minimal. Some people may be able to return to work almost immediately following surgery. And recovery for a minimally invasive surgery is typically measured in weeks –– as opposed to traditional foot surgeries that could require months of extensive recuperation.
Living with hammertoes can be frustrating, painful, and potentially even debilitating. If you’re tired of putting up with foot pain –– or you want to correct an issue before it becomes painful –– then contact the professionals at Northwest Surgery Center today. Our team are experts in minimally invasive foot surgeries, and we can help you find a solution to your foot issues.