Do your toes bend in unexpected ways or don’t move well at all? If so, you might have hammertoes, a condition that causes pain and overly flexible toes that can eventually become locked.
If you have late-stage hammertoes, podiatrist Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle Mission Viejo, California, often recommends minimally invasive hammertoe surgery to restore movement in your toes. These are some of the types of minimally invasive surgeries available to treat hammertoes.
Hammertoes are a condition that causes your toes to be overly flexible and bend unusually at the middle joint. You can develop a hammertoe in any toe, but it occurs most commonly in the middle three.
When you have a hammertoe, it’s so flexible it bends involuntarily, and you can also make your toes move when you move them with your fingers. In the later stages of hammertoes, they become rigid and unable to move.
At any stage, hammertoes can be painful, swell up, and make movement and mobility more difficult.
Is hammertoe surgery right for you?
Once your hammertoes become rigid, meaning they’re unable to move, surgery is often the best option to treat the problem. Once hammertoes reach this severe stage, they won’t move normally again without surgery and can cause pain and limit your activities.
If your hammertoes are still at a more flexible stage, Dr. Rambacher is more likely to recommend using conservative treatments that reduce your pain and discomfort. You’re far less likely to develop rigid hammertoes that need surgery if you get conservative treatment while your hammertoes are still flexible.
Conservative treatments for flexible hammertoes include:
- Choosing shoes with plenty of spaces in the toes
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening exercises
- Medical-grade custom orthotics
- Splinting and padding toes
You might also benefit from getting hammertoe surgery if your hammertoes have caused you to develop open sores on your skin.
Minimally invasive hammertoe surgery options
If Dr. Rambacher recommends surgery as the best option for your hammertoes, he ensures your surgery is as minimally invasive as possible. Hammertoe surgeries are usually outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home the same day you have the surgery without an overnight hospital stay.
Typically, you can get a hammertoes procedure under light sedative or local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia.
These are surgical options you have for hammertoes that are minimally invasive:
During this procedure, Dr. Rambacher makes a small incision on the top part of your hammertoe. He then adjusts the tendons and ligaments to help straighten your toe.
Once he’s adjusted ligaments and tendons, Dr. Rambacher takes off the end of one side of the toe bone. This makes it so that, after healing is complete, you can extend your toe normally.
This procedure is similar to joint resection in that it also involves readjusting ligaments and tendons. After, Dr. Rambacher takes off the end of both of the bones.
This straightens the toe, and Dr. Rambacher fuses this into place with pins and screws.
As an expert in minimally invasive podiatry surgery, Dr. Rambacher is here to help you find the least invasive treatment possible to heal your hammertoes and fully restore your quality of life. To learn more about your options for treating hammertoes, contact us to make an appointment.