Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Complications Of Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe is a condition in which the toes become deformed, becoming abnormally bent. Hammertoe surgery is a common treatment method for hammertoe. It rarely causes complications. As with any surgery, it is important for the patient to follow the postoperative instructions given by the surgeon. Pain and some swelling is common following surgery, but it gradually subsides after the first night following surgery. Sometimes, the patient’s treated toes develop more severe effects from the surgery.

Swollen toe, sometimes called “sausage toe,” is the most common complication from hammertoe surgery. This swelling is often caused by damage to the lymphatic or circulatory system during surgery. Some swelling can be expected following surgery. The physician may suggest taping or strapping to prevent or control troublesome swelling. The swelling usually subsides on its own within six months following surgery.

Malpositioning of the toes is another complication of hammertoe surgery. Unlike swelling, malpositioning often causes long-term problems. Malpositioning of the toes during hammertoe surgery can be caused by excessive shortening or excessive straightening of one or more toes.

Excessive straightening is the most common malpositioning complication. Excessive straightening of the toe can cause that toe to become irritated by the other toes. The straightened toe can develop mallet toe or a reverse swan neck deformity.

Another complication is referred to as “floppy toe.” In the case of floppy toe, the patient experiences discomfort especially when putting on socks. It causes a feeling of a loss of function of the toe. Floppy toe is caused by excessive bony resection. Floppy toe may be able to be corrected with surgery. In some cases, the floppy toe may need to be amputated.

Infection can occur at the surgical site. Common signs of infection include fever and inflammation. The patient should notify the physician if they experience signs of infection or if they experience any other complications.


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