Correcting hammertoe is a very common procedure. In some cases surgery can be performed in-office and it is cosmetically friendly as far as scars are concerned.
There are a number of procedures that you can do for hammertoe. Hammertoe has different levels of severity and types.
- There is a hammertoe that is flexible and we usually can correct that by releasing the tendons around the joint that are curled or contracted. There’s even one procedure we can do in the office with a flexible hammertoe that is percutaneous and we can do that under local anesthesia with a small sharp sterile blade the size of a needle and we can release the tendon and relax it which allows the toe to straighten.
- The next level is if the toe is contracted at two joints, the end and the distal end is still flexible with this contracture then we oftentimes have to release or cut the knuckle of the middle joint and remove that from the toe which allows the toe to relax and straighten around the tendons of the joint with tension.
- The last level of hammertoe surgery required removing or changing the joint and we either fuse the joint of the toe or we put in an implant within that joint to straighten the toe. This type of procedure is done when the toe doesn’t bend prior to surgery, which is referred to as rigid, usually to maintain the correction of this type of toe we have to fuse the joint or place an implant into the joint.
What is the recovery time for hammertoe surgery?
Usually in hammertoe surgeries we see the patients recover right away. You can usually walk the day after surgery unless you have the third level or surgery which requires fusion of the joint. You can walk the day of surgery in a surgical shoe. Usually 4-6 weeks in a surgical shoe.
If you have the procedure where we fuse the percutaneous correction to release the toe in the office, perhaps you can go as little as 2 weeks in the surgical shoe and then you’re back into a comfortable shoe or sneaker or even a sandal back out at the beach.
If you have the toe fused and other manipulation of the foot, then you may require some non-weight bearing period of time in a protected shoe and/or a boot to keep the toe from moving. If you have the toe fused it is possible you may have a pin in your toe to hold it in place for 4 to 6 weeks.
Can you walk after hammertoe surgery?
Yes, in most cases you can walk. There are a couple of instances where we apply a procedure that fuses the toe and walking is not recommended right away. And we may have to pin the toe, so to prevent the pin from bending walking may not be the safest thing for the patient to do.
More than 75% of the hammertoe surgeries you can walk the same day of surgery – you can usually expect to walk out of the surgery center with a protected shoe.
Now some people will have some pain so it depends on when the pain goes down – it could be after the first night and some people are putting pressure and walking on it the very next day. It’s actually a good idea to keep it up and only put weight on it for the basic activities of daily living which is to get up and get something to eat, use the restroom, and go to the bathroom to bathe.
Otherwise, you should be relaxing to keep the swelling & pain down and help the surgical incision to heal.
Is hammertoe surgery successful?
We plan all surgeries to be successful – that’s our goal with any surgery is to correct the alignment of the toe, to reduce pain, and to correct the appearance and the alignment of the toe which are things that we plan on doing immediately with hammertoe surgery.
Does insurance cover hammertoe surgery?
Yes, usually most hammertoe surgeries and procedures and covered by the patient’s insurance coverage.
How much does hammertoe surgery cost?
If hammertoe surgery is not covered by insurance it can cost anywhere between $250 to $1000.