Minimally Invasive Hammertoe Surgery In New York
Forefoot deformities are a significant problem in the United States. Almost 60 million Americans suffer from hammertoe ailments. It is crucial to understand what hammertoes are, what causes them, their symptoms, and how to treat them.
A hammertoe is developed when there is an abnormal bending of either joint of any toe other than the big toe. It is a progressive condition. When a hammertoe first develops, its symptoms are mild. The hammertoe is flexible and can be treated without invasive measures.
Over time, the conditions grow worse until routine use of the foot is impeded. What was once flexible becomes rigid. There is then no choice but to use invasive surgery to correct the issue.
Causes of Hammertoes
Although some people can fall victim to hammertoes due to genetics, most of the cases are caused by structural damage to the toe. The primary root of the problem is an imbalance between the top and bottom tendons of the toe. There are various factors that can contribute to this imbalance:
Shoes: Consistently wearing shoes that are too tight can cause hammertoes to develop. They occur because the toes get crowded in the shoe and cannot lie in their natural, flat position. The toes will be in a chronic state of contracture, even when the shoes are not being worn over time. This cause is prevalent in ballerinas, basketball players, and women who wear high-heeled shoes.
Nerve Injury or Disorder: People who have nerve damage in their feet from conditions such as diabetes or stroke are more likely to suffer from hammertoe deformities.
Trauma: Stubbing, jamming, or breaking a toe and leaving the injury untreated can cause the toe to remain flexible. This damage can lead to the development of hammertoe deformity over time.
There are also risk factors related to hammertoes that include age and sex. The risk of a hammertoe deformity increases with age. Women are more likely to suffer from hammertoes than men are. There is also a correlation between developing a hammertoe and toe length. If the second toe is longer than the big toe, the chances increase.
The symptoms of untreated hammertoe deformities are often uncomfortable and painful. Be mindful of the following symptoms:
- Pain when moving the affected toe
- Soft or hard corn and callus development
- Inflammation and redness where the joint bends
- Open sores on the top of the foot
- Pain in the ball of the foot or the base of the affected toe
- Pain restricting the ability to walk properly
It is possible to use home remedies to counteract the effects of flexible hammertoe deformities. Home treatments include wearing a commercial hammertoe pad in the shoe to restrict the friction between the shoe and the foot.
It is imperative that the foot has enough room for its toes to lie flat on the inside sole of the shoe, so refrain from wearing high-heeled shoes over two inches tall.
Sneakers, running shoes, and tennis shoes should have a deep toe box.
Avoid wearing shoes that are pointed or that are too short.
Ice packs and ice can be applied to reduce swelling if it occurs.
Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can also counteract swelling.
In young children, it is crucial to make sure they are consistently and properly fitted for shoes. It is also imperative for new shoes to be purchased whenever they outgrow their current pair.
If the hammertoe is still rigid, painful, or has developed open sores after these home treatments, it may be time to seek a surgical solution.
Surgical Treatment by Dr. Loninger
Part of the prestigious foot care group, Family Foot Care, Dr. Loninger can fix hammertoe deformities through an innovative approach.
The regular surgical treatment of hammertoes involves the podiatrist removing damaged skin from the foot, and then removing a small section of bone to release pressure off the foot. This bone removal allows the toes to fall back into their natural flat position.
Dr. Loninger, instead, uses plastic surgery techniques for a minimally invasive procedure. He makes tiny incisions in discrete areas of the web space of the toes. The major benefits of this treatment, as opposed to the usual treatment, are that recovery times are reduced by a significant amount and there are no visible scars post-operation.
Though hammertoes can be prevented by being mindful of the amount of pressure being placed on the foot, sometimes the deformity is unavoidable. Remember that there is always a solution even in the condition’s most dire cases.