I'm new to this message board but have been overviewing everyone's posts for weeks. I wanted to start a thread completely dedicted to hammertoes for everyone interested in information on surgery.
I'm 20 years old, and had a pretty bad case of rigid (fixed) hammertoes on my left foot, and flexible ones on my right. All my toes were affected except the big toes. To be 100% correct I think the Doctor classified them as claw toes. Although I really didn't suffer from any pain unless I was sqeezing into small tipped shoes, a very large callus had formed on the ball's of my feet which made it hard to wear shoes and walk smoothly. Also, I was always self-conscious about the way my feet looked, I never wore sandals.
Anyways, I had corrective surgery a week and a half ago on all my toes on BOTH feet about 12 days ago. The doctor cut the bones in my toes and fused them as far as I know, and also there are 2 insisions that run up my foot as well. I'm not sure why he cut up my foot, maybe to release tendons? He put pins in all of my toes to keep them straight. I had the stitches out a week after surgery even though I was still bleeding a bit. I'm having the pins removed in what will be 3 weeks post-surgery. Anyways, I'm beginning to think this was all a huge mistake. My feet look horrible, the toes look straighter on one foot than the other. I cant walk at all, it's incredibly painful. I have to get back to work a few days after pins are removed but I'm worried I won't even be able to put weight on my feet yet, they hurt like hell right now. I've been stuck in bed this whole time, and I'm dieing of boredom. I feel like I wont be able to walk the same ever again, when I was in no pain at all walking or running before surgery. Anyone else who is going through this surgery, or has went though it in the past, please post some of your own expieriences/ information. Thanks a lot!
Last edited by TeddyJohn86; 06-24-2007 at 10:52 PM.
Hi I have exactly same as you only it affects my big toe as well.
I have had three surgeries so far the first was to cut just the tendons and release part of the first joint. This was unsuccesful on both feet. On 2 May 2007 I had my left foot corrected with a big toe fusion (internal plate and screws) and the remaining four toes fixed with wires that hung out the ends and were then removed after six weeks. I must say I was a bit wary at first about having this extreme surgey as my foot only used to be sore when wearing certain types of shoes and after walking for a long distance; but also like you had the terrible hard skin that builds up; but my Surgeon was keen to do it to help stop the problem of arthritis when I am older.
After I had the surgery and went to get the stiches removed I too was very shocked at my foot it looked terrible after the pins were removed it was still incrediably swollen and still gets swollen now but this can take anything up to a year to subside apparently I am now nearly two months post op and get my foot into a soft leather loafer style shoe and my foot looks better every day and I am so pleased with the results.
It is going to take time, I still cannot bend the toes properly yet so still walk with a slight limp but you will get back to normal. It must be hard for you having both done at the same time. I did mine one at time so I could get about easier on crutches and have less time off work. But to be honest I never really had a choice thats just how the Dr said he would do things (thats the NHS for you )
Good luck with everything but you will find it easier once the pins are out and you should be able to weightbear on the feet with no problem but it will still be quite sore !!
I am from Rochester, not too far from you! I had a bunionectomy on my right foot in April along with two hammertoe corrections (toes 2 and 5). At first my feet looked awful and i hardly ever took my cast or sock off because I didn't want to look at it. Now that it's been a couple months the swelling has gone down and my feet look MUCH better.
I have to admit, since I started Physical Therapy about 4 weeks ago the hammertoes have been the hardest part of my recovery. My toes are still very stiff because of some swelling and scar tissue. My PT says it will get better over time but I am still worried because I can barely bend my 2nd toe. I think it just takes a lot longer to recover than anyone realizes.
Maybe you should try working from home to give yourself more time to rest but if you can't do that try putting something under your desk at work to lift your feet to avoid more swelling. Also, ice your feet as often as possible.
I wouldn't think about whether or not it was a good idea to have surgery because there is nothing you can do about it now! Just take it easy and make sure you do everything you can to ease the swelling and scar tissue formation (ie, massage your feet).
i had 1 hammertoe correction and my toe will not lay flat. my dr did not prescribe pt which i think is a mistake. i am going to try to fix it again and i know pt will be as soon as i can. does everyone have pins when they have hammertoe surgery? i never did.
So I think my right foot is looking better, the toes lie flat and it seems everything will eventually heal up fine. BUT, my left foot was the worse one, and I think the doctor screwed things up even worse. The toes do not lie flat on the floor, they stick up into the air when I put weight on my foot. What makes matters worse is the large callus/ fat pad on the ball of my foot which pushes the toes upward even more. I feel as though the doctor straighted the toe ffrom the pip joint down to the dip joint, but left the mtp joint (connects foot to toe) dorsiflexed ( bent upward). There is no way I'm going to let it stay like that, I hope to God that when the pins come out, somehow the toes lay flat. This doctor has been horrible answering my questions. I havnt even seen him once since surgery and his assistant has been making all the decisions regarding pin removal and answering all my questions. He is now on vacation for 2 weeks which makes me even more angry. I might start looking into medical malpractice suits to see if I have a case.
I had a pin for my 2nd hammertoe correction but not for the 5th toe. I think it depends how much correction is needed? It is driving me crazy that my 2nd toe still does not lie flat, I've been using soft surgical tape to try and keep it flat. My doctor mentioned that my big toe still curves in a little because the tendons have to be trained not to do that so maybe it's the same for hammertoes? I'm hoping once the scar tissue starts to go away it'll be easier for the toe to lie flat (although my toes are pretty close together which causes the toe to rise up ughhh)
Teddy - I think it's really strange that your Doctor is having his assistant answer questions. Is there another Dr you can go see in the mean time?
I did not have this surgery but my husband had surgery on little toe - cut the metatarsal bone on little toe to allign it properly and installed plate - he had a mini bunionectomy on the outside of the foot. He also had a hammertoe surgery on toe next to small one which had caused a heavy painful callus on ball of the foot. He had his surgery on March 28th and a very painful recovery with lots of swelling. At his last appointment earlier this month the doctor did an x-ray to see if anything was wrong - all was fine according to the xray except my husband still had excurciating pain whether walking or sitting. The doctor would not give my husband any pain meds. He told him to be massaging the foot and manipulating the toes to loosen the muscle and tendons and increase movement which still is painful to move and flex. He returns to the doctor in August for his next visit. The swelling and pain has decreased quite a bit since the last doctor visit and the natural color has almost returned to the foot making it look normal again. The scars have diminished and are only noticable lines on the outside of the foot and top of the toe next to the small toe and one positive thing the calus caused by the hammer toe is now gone. The doctor suggested wearing good hiking type boots with soft insoles to cushion the foot but because of the swelling my husband needed to purchase wider boots. The doctor suggested also to buy some gel type inner soles to help with the cushioning which helped to eliminate the tenderness where the surgery was performed on the metatarsal bone. After wearing the new boots since that last doctors visit he has noticed very little pain while walking for lengthy periods. One other thing that happened to my husband during recovery was extreme pain in the knees especially the knee on the same leg that the foot was operated on.
Well the doctor that did the operation is on vacation until July 10th. I go in on July 3rd to have the pins removed by the dr. filling in for him while he's gone. I'm going to ask him about why my toes do not lie flat. I have been researching hammertoe surgery and one of the complications can be "flail toe" where the toe does not lie flat on the ground because the MTP joint (where the toe meets the foot, or the ball of the foot) is defected. Under my left foot (the one in question), the ball of my foot is double the size of my other one, so the toes kind of sit on top of this swolleness instead of having room to lay flat. I looked at my xrays and it seems my metatarsal bones in the that foot kind of bend downward at the MTP, and are thicker than the other foot. This would make it harder for the lesser toe bone to stay straight if its connected to a bone, and weight, that is shifted downward. I just hope I dont have to end up getting another procedure done on the mtp joint or metatarsals to get my foot dynamics back. If anyone has any input I'd love to hear. Thanks!
I haven't had the hammertoe surgery, but after my bunion surgery (2 years ago) it was almost a year before my big toe came down to lie flat. It was the scar tissue that was keeping it up, but after physical therapy at home and just time to heal, it straightened and came down and now I can fully bend it and move it around. So just keep hope that it's still healing. Sometimes things like that are stubborn and don't go with the timeline we would like them to!
Well, The pins came out earlier today. A lot of people on here said it was painless, which was not the case for me. It took a lot of pulling and tugging and excrutiating pain and then yank, they slide right out, with some bleeding. I had 8 total rmoved, and only 2 of them slid out easily.
Anyways, I feel extremely relieved since my toes already look A LOT better. The stiff toes that I felt would stay stuck in the air seem to be a lot more flexible now and look like they'll lay flat, so I guess it was a lot of worrying for nothing. The doctor filling in for my doctor that did the surgery was actually extremely informational. He told me the surgery I had was: fusing of the PIP joint (middle of toe) to keep the toes straight, and also a release of the tendons right behind the toes on the foot. (Thats what the cuts were running up the foot that I questioned)
I think I've made it through the worst part of this whole ordeal. Now, it's just about keeping off my feet as much as possible to keep swelling down, and letting the scars heal up. I'll post one more time letting everyone know how long it took to reach almost normal activity after surgery.
I had both bunions fixed at the same time, but did not have hammertoes corrected (I probably should have, but I didn't, they're not that bad). One foot swelled but not the other, and I was 8 weeks in those lovely surgical shoes and on crutches, minimal weight-bearing and NO driving. I had to adjust from being on the go all the time to being on my back most of the time at first, that was hard. There were many times I was in tears just from the frustration of not being able to readily do what I had been doing easily.
Try to be patient. My doc overcorrected the big toe angle on purpose--there's a fibrous sac around the joint that is important to holding the toe straight, and he said that it stretches some as the foot heals and that it would assume its permanent angle in a couple of months--and he was right. Because he kept bandages on it for a long time, the scabs didn't come off for a long time, and at the one-month check I was almost in tears because my feet looked like "Frankenfeet". However--the scabs come off, the swelling comes down, and they will look better. Maybe he overcorrected the left foot toes figuring they would "give"a little and over time assume the correct configuration.
I am 2 years out from surgery and at about 98%. There is a little less flexibility in my big toe, and some secondary lymphedema in one foot, sometimes that comes with surgical procedures. But I went to Europe 3 months after my surgery, and did fine. Just watch it and try not to overdo. My toes are still straight, shoes fit, and I have no pain. I'll never have beautiful feet, but hey, they work very well!
I had bunion & hammertoe surgery on both feet just a little over a year ago; I can wear all my old shoes, including flip flops, just fine-- And I can wear a lot of shoes I never used to be able to wear. It was great to be able to wear cute strappy sandals with heels to my son's wedding last weekend! Best wishes.