What is hammertoe?
Hammer toe is a deformity of the foot that can cause your toe or toes to bend and curl downwards instead of lying flat and pointing forwards. Hammertoe can affect any toe on the foot although it is most common on the second or third toes. Usually hammertoe forms over time but it can also be present from birth.
Hammertoe can cause discomfort when walking, pain when you try to flex or wiggle your toes, corns and calluses and can make finding shoes that are comfortable to wear a challenge.
What causes hammer toe?
Hammer toe can be caused by:
- Pressure from a bunion
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes
- High foot arch
- Toe injury
- Tight ligaments or tendons in the foot
How is hammertoe treated?
Here at The Private Clinic, we offer a minimally invasive way to effectively treat the signs and symptoms of hammertoe with our Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon, Dr Bianchi who treats bunions with a similar method.
Hammertoe surgery uses a mini-invasive percutaneous keyhole technique that is performed under local anaesthetic. The treatment does not require the use of any fixation devices such as pins, screws or metal wires and patients are able to walk immediately with no crutches and get back to their everyday activities with no downtime and a lot quicker than traditional hammertoe surgery.
Minimally invasive hammertoe surgery is exclusively available at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, London under the strict supervision of Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon MD, Andrea Bianchi founder of PBS, the team who developed the percutaneous bunion surgery in 1996 and has supervised over 50,000 surgeries since.
How does Hammertoe surgery work?
The Hammertoe surgery procedure that we offer was developed by Mr Andrea Bianchi and his team who will be performing the treatment at our hospital in central London.
The minimally invasive keyhole procedure is performed under precision using continuous X-ray imaging known as a fluoroscopy. The surgeon will then use surgical dental burrs to modify the bones of the foot and correct the deformity which are inserted via very small 2-3mm incisions.
Once the bones have been realigned, the fractures are then left free without any fixative devices such as screws or pins. The foot is then allowed to heal in a more natural position which results in better comfort and functionality post procedure as the foot is healing according to the patient’s load-bearing needs and not to a pre-set standard that may not be right for the patient.
Following the procedure, the foot will be bandaged and taped using a specialised bandaging technique which allows the physiological healing process to spontaneously restructure the foot and avoid any additional stress caused by arbitrary immobilisation. You will also be provided with a specialised orthopaedic shoe to wear and you will be encouraged to walk on the foot before leaving the hospital.
What is the downtime following hammertoe surgery?
The downtime following hammertoe surgery is minimal. Patients will be able to walk without the use of crutches almost immediately post-surgery. It is advised that you take care do rest the foot when possible, but the majority of patients are able to return work and their everyday activities after 1-2 days. Patients are required to wear the orthopaedic boot until you return for your follow-up appointment 15-20 days post treatment.
What is the recovery like after Hammertoe surgery?
Patients will need to return to clinic 15-20 days following hammertoe surgery where the bandaging on the foot will be changed and reduced. In most cases patients are also able to start wearing comfortable shoes again if given the go ahead from the surgeon. A follow up x-ray will be arranged 45 days post-procedure to assess the results.
Choosing to have surgery or not is a personal decision that only you can make.
If your hammertoe is causing you pain and discomfort, then this is a good reason to consider surgery.
To find out more about hammertoe surgery and to get the opinion from our resident Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon then we recommend booking a no-obligation consultation where you will be able to discuss your concerns to help you make a more informed decision.
Hammertoe is a progressive condition and will unlikely go away on its own. Some cases of hammertoe progress and worsen quicker than others so it will vary from person to person.
Yes, patients will be able to walk without the need for crutches almost immediately after hammertoe surgery.
Hammertoe surgery is performed under local anaesthetic so you should not feel any pain during the procedure. Some pain or discomfort may be felt once the local anaesthetic has worn off, but this can be managed with painkillers and should only last for the initial days following surgery.
Surgery is the best way to permanently fix a hammertoe and will also provide the best results.