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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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recovery From Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe occurs when the joints of the toe become abnormally contracted. The toes become bent and deformed. This deformed position often starts with some flexibility remaining. Over time, the bent toes may become rigid. Though noninvasive treatments are normally attempted first, sometimes surgery is necessary to correct hammertoe.

Following surgery, the patient may be fitted with a post-operative shoe. The post-operative shoe is an orthotic device that has a stiff sole to protect the toes by restricting any bending movement of the foot. The foot should remain bandaged for about a week following the procedure.

The surgeon is likely to instruct the patient to restrict activity during the first two weeks of recovery. The use of crutches may be recommended to reduce the amount of pressure on the healing toes. Some pain and swelling is common following hammertoe surgery. The surgeon may prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help alleviate pain and swelling. Elevating the foot is commonly recommended.

If stitches have to be removed, the removal usually occurs between ten and fourteen days after the hammertoe surgery. This is unnecessary if the surgeon used dissolvable stitches. Any metal pins that were used to realign the toes and hold them in their new position are usually removed after three or four weeks following the procedure.

The swelling gradually subsides. More than half of the patients recovering from hammertoe surgery are able to wear regular, wide shoes within six weeks after surgery. The feet often begin to feel normal three months after surgery. If a surgical pin was used, it may take longer to be able to wear shoes as shoes cannot be worn until after the pin is removed.

As with most surgeries, infection and complications can happen. The surgeon will provide instructions on what to do if the patient experiences any symptoms of infection.

Orthotics for hammertoes


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