To correct a hammertoe of the 5th toe, your doctor may recommend a procedure called an arthroplasty. To perform this procedure, your podiatric surgeon will remove a small portion of bone at the head of the proximal phalanx. The toe is then straightened and the soft tissue is repaired to help hold the toe in the proper position. This is a simple procedure that can be performed in the office with a local anesthetic.
What to expect with your surgery
The day of the surgery
On the day of the surgery, your podiatric surgeon will visit with you and answer any additional questions you may have. Depending on the number of toes being done, your surgery will generally last under an hour. Your doctor will numb your toe before the surgery. You will be given detailed instructions on how to care for your foot.
Most of the pain and inflammation from the surgery will be during week 1. It is very important to wear your surgical shoe at all times and to elevate and rest your foot as much as possible. You will leave your bandages on your foot and you should not get your foot wet. When you return to the office for your first appointment, your doctor will take x-rays and change the dressing. Sutures are not typically taken out at this point.
There is usually less pain and inflammation during this week. You will continue to wear your surgical shoe and keep your foot dry. Activity may generally be increased slightly depending on how much inflammation is present. At the second week appointment, your doctor will usually take out your sutures and you will likely be able to get your foot wet again.
Depending on the amount of swelling, you may be able to progress back into a lace-up shoe. Some patients still may need to wear the surgical shoe. Activity can usually be increased slightly to tolerance.
Week 8 and longer
Most of the bone healing is usually done at week 8 and the swelling should be minimal. Your body will continue to “remodel” the bone where the arthroplasty was performed over the next few weeks. Most patients are back to all of their regular activities at this point.