A Look At Hammer Toe Surgery And The Recovery Period

If you've been struggling with hammer toe, and your condition has gotten to the point where you have a lot of pain and your life is negatively affected, it may be time to consider hammer toe surgery. Surgery could help your pain and make wearing shoes more comfortable. Here's an overview of how hammer toe surgery is done and how long it takes to recover.

Hammer Toe Surgery Options

There are a few types of surgery to correct hammer toe. The goal is to straighten the toe and return it to its normal position. One thing that influences the type of surgery you have is whether your toe joint is still flexible or if it is frozen. If the joint is flexible, the surgeon may do tendon surgery. If the joint is frozen, you might also need joint surgery.

Tendon lengthening is sometimes done so the toe can straighten out. This might require transferring a tendon from another part of your toe. If your toe joint is fixed in place, the joint itself may need surgery. Your surgeon might remove part of your toe joint or all of it. They might remove or shorten some bones. You might have wires or screws put in your toe to support it.

Recovery After Hammer Toe Surgery

Your toe will be swollen after surgery, and it could take several weeks for the swelling to go away completely. During this time, you'll probably wear a protective boot that holds your toe in place. Your toe will also be wrapped in bandages for several days.

It takes a few months for your foot to heal. If you had more extensive bone surgery, your recovery takes longer. You may be given pain pills and antibiotics after the surgery, so be sure to take them as your doctor prescribes. Your doctor will also give you instructions on when you can get your toe wet, when you can resume your normal activities, and when you can drive and go back to work.

You may be encouraged to move around as much as you can tolerate to stimulate blood flow and prevent complications. You'll also have follow-up appointments with your doctor so they can monitor your recovery and remove stitches and pins when it's time.

It could be months before your toe has healed completely, but you'll probably be mobile and back to most of your activities within several weeks. You'll want to be careful about wearing tight shoes or heels once you've resumed your usual lifestyle. Give your toes plenty of room by wearing shoes with wide toe areas. This increases your comfort and reduces the chance of other hammer toes forming.