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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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Surgery For Hammertoe

Hammertoe refers to a condition that causes the toes to become unnaturally bent. Hammertoe affects the smaller toes of the foot, not the big toe. This condition can be painful when shoes are worn due to friction on the tops of the bent toes. It can also cause pain if the bones of the toes to become dislocated.

Surgery is often the recommended treatment for hammertoe. Mild cases may be treated with orthotics, but moderate to severe cases may require surgical intervention. The surgery to correct hammertoes is done under local anesthesia as an outpatient surgical procedure. Typically, the surgery lasts approximately fifteen minutes per toe.

Before surgery, the podiatrist will determine which surgical intervention is best suited for the condition. There are many different surgeries designed to treat hammertoes. The rigidity of the toes that developed hammertoe is one consideration in determining which surgical intervention is appropriate.

If the hammertoe still has some flexibility, tendon release surgery may be performed. Tendon release is a surgery during which the tendon of the toe is repositioned in order to loosen the tension on the toe joint. If the tendon is released and not repositioned, the procedure is called a tenotomy.

Arthroplasty and fusion are surgical methods to treat rigid hammertoes. During an arthroplasty, part of the affected toe joint is removed. The toe is straightened. The joint may be replaced with an implant. Without the implant, the bones of the toe become connected with scar tissue while healing. This allows the treated toe to regain some flexibility.

Fusion is a surgical procedure during which some cartilage and some bone are removed. Once the toe is straightened, it is held in position with a surgical pin. The pin is temporary and will be removed after several weeks.

Each surgery for hammertoe allows the person to bear weight on the foot following the procedure. It is important to follow the surgeon’s aftercare instructions to allow the toes to heal properly.


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