What is a hammertoe?

A hammertoe is an abnormal positioning of the lesser toes. Many times, the toes sit up off the floor and cause increased pressure on the ball of the foot or rub on shoes. They can also press against one another and cause painful calluses.

How are hammertoes treated?

There are many factors which influence what needs to be done to correct a hammertoe. Treatment typically involves addressing the bending of the toe, but also release of the tissues around where the toe attaches to the foot. Some deformities must have open surgical repair for long term success. Traditional procedures fuse the knuckle of the toe and use pins or other implants to stabilize the toe into a corrected position. Some toe deformities allow us to treat the condition with a series of percutaneous tissue releases utilizing a small sharp needle.

What are the advantages of a minimally invasive hammertoe repair?

Patients’ lives are minimally interrupted after undergoing minimally invasive hammertoe releases. The only requirement is splinting the toes into a straight position for 2 weeks. There is minimal pain, minimal to no scarring, and very minimal interruption in daily activities. No time is required off work unless there is a high risk of the toes becoming dirty or contaminated, then 3-4 days off work is required.

What is it like to have a surgery in the office?

The thought of having a surgical procedure done in the office can be intimidating to say the least. We do our best to put your mind at ease by answering all your questions and allowing you to relax on the examination table. When you are ready, we utilize a small needle to numb the toes and surgical sites completely. This only causes mild discomfort for a short period of time. Once the toes have been numbed, we clean and prep the foot for the procedure and apply a sterile drape. We then utilize the slightly larger needle to perform the surgical procedure to release the hammertoes.

Once the procedure is completed, we control the bleeding by applying pressure for a few minutes and then we splint the toes into a straight position with tape and band-aids. We ask that our patients leave this dressing on and keep it clean and dry for about 48-72 hours. It can then be removed in the shower and new toe splints can be reapplied after bathing. We demonstrate this taping technique to our patients to ensure they understand how to keep the toes straight. This continues daily for the first two weeks, after which time the taping may be discontinued.