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Hammer toe  
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Definition  

Hammer toe occurs when there is a shortening of the tendon that controls toe movement. This causes the middle joint of the toe to be bent upward and the outer joint downwards. The misshapen toe resembles a hammer. A hammer toe correction is done to correct a toe deformity called a hammer toe .

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Reasons for Procedure  

A hammertoe correction is considered when:

  • Other treatments have failed to bring about results.
  • The affected toe has assumed an awkward position and is causing pain.
  • The deformity makes walking difficult.
  • The position of the toe causes breakdown of skin. This can increase the risk of developing a bone infection.
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Possible Complications  

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have the correction, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Excessive swelling, although the toe will normally be swollen for 4-8 weeks following surgery
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Recurrence of hammer toe
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury to the toe

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

Your doctor will likely do the following:

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners

The day of the procedure:

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
  • Arrange for help at home after the procedure.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to remove.

Anesthesia  

Local anesthesia is often used. It will numb the area. Spinal anesthesia may also be used. This anesthesia will make your lower body numb.

Description of the Procedure  

Several surgical options are available for hammer toe correction. Some corrections can be made with changes to soft tissue. Others need to be made to the bone or joint.

Soft Tissue  

This is usually best in patients under 30, with limited toe deformity. A cut is made in the skin and the tendon is released. Sometimes it is reattached to a different area of the bone. The changes in soft tissue will allow the toe to relax and eliminate the deformity.

Bone  

Two common methods of hammer toe correction on the bones themselves are joint arthroplasty and joint fusion. The type of procedure used depends on the deformity. A combination of procedu