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Hammertoe Correction Surgery: Procedure, risks, complications, reasons

  • Posted on- Oct 15, 2016
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A Hammertoe Correction is a surgical procedure used to correct an abnormal configuration, wherein the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th toe joint, is bent downwards. A Hammer Toe Correction involves all toes of the feet (except the big toe), the surrounding tendons, blood vessels, underlying skin, and the nerves associated with these toes.

Why a hammertoe correction surgery is needed?

A hammertoe correction surgery is performed for the following reasons:

  • Relieve pain caused by calluses
  • Avoid permanent abnormality of the toe

How a hammertoe correction surgery is performed?

Two methods are commonly used to correct hammertoes, which include: Arthroplasty and Bone-mending procedure.

Arthroplasty (Joint resection procedure)

  • There are 3 joints in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th toe
  • The 1st joint is between the ball of the foot and the toe the other 2 joints are in the toe itself
  • In an arthroplasty (joint resection procedure) for hammer toe deformity, one of the two joints within the toe is resected (surgically removed) in order to make room for the toe to be re-positioned flat
  • The resection does not involve the joint of the ball of the foot

Bone-mending procedure

  • In this procedure, the contracted toe is realigned by removal of the entire deviated joints of the toe (not at the ball of the foot)
  • This allows for the toe to be positioned flat and the bone ends, to mend together
  • Surgical hardware fixation is necessary to keep the bones steady during healing. The hardware may be a buried implant inside the toe, or a temporary wire that is later removed

A hammertoe correction surgery is usually performed by an orthopaedic surgeon, a podiatrist or by a general surgeon with assistance from an anaesthesiologist. It takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours for a hammertoe correction surgery, depending on the type of surgery performed.

Preparations needed for a hammertoe correction surgery

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the overall health status of the patient including information related to the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Blood tests may be performed to determine if there is a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevents the person from undergoing the procedure
  • Inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure
  • It is advisable to quit smoking and the use of any nicotine based products, for a while, before the surgery
  • Consumption of alcoholic drinks must also be avoided for a period of time, as instructed
  • The patient must avoid eating or drinking at least 8 hours prior to the surgical procedure, depending on when the procedure is arranged
  • For persons suffering from diabetes, it is important that the blood sugar stays within the normal range if not their diabetologist may have to control blood sugar by recommending insulin or a combination of oral medicines

Diagnostic lab tests before a hammertoe correction surgery

Prior to a hammertoe correction surgery, the individual may have to undergo certain tests, such as:

Risks and complications during hammertoe correction surgical procedure

The possible risks or complications that may arise during the surgery are:

Risks and complications after hammertoe correction surgical procedure

Post hammertoe correction procedure, the following complications may arise:
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive swelling, which is present several months after the procedure
  • Recurrence of hammer toes
  • Infection in the surgical wound
  • Accidental injury to the neighbouring nerves or blood vessels

Post-operative care needed after a hammertoe correction surgical procedure

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended, after a hammertoe correction procedure:
  • Use a heat pad or warm compress to relieve pain, due to the incision
  • Keep the wound clean and dry
  • Wear proper footwear that does not put any unwanted stress on the foot
  • Wear flat shoes and cotton socks during the healing process
  • Complete the course of prescribed medication
  • Avoid taking non-prescription medications, such as aspirin. However, individuals may take acetaminophen to relieve pain, if necessary
  • Resume driving only a week after surgery, or follow your physician’s advice
  • Avoid all activities that are physically strenuous, for about 6 weeks

Comments

user profile image
27-11-2016 12:16 PM

I had hammertoe correction surgery performed in January at the same time as bunions removed. Bunions done on both feet and 2nd toe on one foot had hammertoe correction.

user profile image
14-11-2016 01:32 AM

I had surgery on the second toe and the surgery was meant to stop the pain that I was receiving.

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