Toe deformities are common problems, which often become noticeable when we move into our winter shoes or buy new ones that have not had time to mould a little to the shape of our feet. Hammer toes are often very difficult to cope with, particularly in closed shoes, as the top of the toe can rub itself raw and be prone to corns and infection. Often pain occurs in the ball of the foot as the metatarsal gets overloaded by back pressure from the toe.
We use many descriptions for toes that are misshapen which tell us the position of the deformity. Often the deformity is associated with other foot problems, such as hallux valgus (bunion), and as such it is important to properly understand why a toe has deformed before attempting to correct it.
The usual method of correcting a hammer toe (an excision arthroplasty) will involve both bone and soft tissue surgery to not only mobilise an arthritic joint, but to help regain stability around the forefoot. Hammer toe implants are sometimes used to stabilise the joint as they give a natural shape to the toe but will only work if there is no other forefoot deformity. If this is present then it must be corrected at the same time.
It is unusual to completely stiffen the toe as this may lead to further problems after the surgery. A temporary stabilising pin may, however, be used which is removed after a few weeks to give a better function to the toe post-operatively.
Hammer toe surgery is highly effective in solving the problems encountered with footwear and pain so long as care is taken with both the surgery and the recovery. By following the advice and rehabilitation programme advised by Lyndon and his team you will have the best possible chance of gaining an amazing outcome.