Hammertoe Surgery and Reducing Infections

Santa Monica Foot Surgeons Reduce Infections with Advanced Techniques for Hammertoe Surgery

“Walking on pins and needles” may cause temporary pain, but walking on hammertoes can cause a much more serious type of foot pain. Untreated hammertoes can lead to deformities, ulcerations and activity limitations. Not only that, but hygiene is made more difficult for older patients suffering from hammertoes. However, there are several forms of treatment, including hammertoe surgery, which can provide relief for painful conditions that continue to haunt patients.

Hammer Toes is a deformity that affects one or more of the lesser toes. The toe buckles at the joint where the toe connects to the rest of the foot. The first bone of the toe, the proximal phalanx, contracts upwards while the rest of the toe points down. The big toe is not affected by hammertoe. There are several forms of conservative treatment, but if those fail, surgical treatment can be appointed for correcting toe alignment.

At the University Foot and Ankle institute, Santa Monica foot surgeons preform hammertoe surgery to straighten the digit’s position and a pin or screw is inserted for stability. Certain cases require removal of small bone pieces from the joint to realign the toe.

Hammertoe Causes and Treatment Options

According to WebMD, when the toe muscles get out of balance, a hammertoe can form. The muscle imbalance puts a lot of pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints. Thus, pressure forces the toe into the shape of a hammerhead. The most common risk factors for developing hammertoes include:

  • Genetics
  • Arthritis
  • Toe injuries
  • Poor-fitting shoes

What can I do to prevent hammertoe?

The first thing people can do is be smart with their feet. You only get two of them, so treat them with care by checking them for irregularities and injuries. Good circulation is vital for healthy feet. Stretch your legs and feet if you have been sitting for a while. Treat them to a massage and a warm foot bath on occasion. Healthful ideas include:

  • Purchase shoes that fit both feet (one foot may be bigger than the other)
  • Measure feet regularly as you get older
  • Shoes must be sturdy and bend where the big toe bends
  • Never buy shoes that feel too tight
  • The higher the heel is the less safe the shoe
  • Check children’s feet and shoes regularly

Hammertoe Treatments:

If the middle of your toe joint is bent or the end of the toe bends down like a claw, you should seek advice for a potential hammertoe. You may be able to straighten the big toe at first, but over time the toe will no longer move and it will be painful. Conservative treatments will not correct hammertoe, but they can temporarily relieve the symptoms of hammertoe such as pain and discomfort. Common treatments include:

  • Wearing shoes with wide toe boxes for comfort
  • Avoid use of high heels
  • Soft insoles relieve pressure on the toe
  • Corn pads or felt pads can protect the joint sticking out

For extreme cases hammertoe surgery will correct the deformity when conservative treatments fail to relieve symptoms. By cutting or removing tendons or ligaments of the toe and fusing the joint together, surgery can definitively correct the deformed toe.

Benefits of Hammertoe Surgery

After surgery, patients will be able to look forward to getting back to the activities they love. Pain and discomfort are corrected and there will no no longer be any pain when walking or hiking, because the toe joints will no longer feel pressure or rub against the inside of shoes. This leads to improvement in health which, in turn, allows the patient to lead an active lifestyle. They will no longer feel self-conscious about taking their shoes off at the beach and feel comfortable walking barefoot.

If you feel discomfort or notice your lesser toes are forming into a claw-like position visit the University Foot and Ankle Institute of Santa Monica. Their team of highly trained foot surgeons come fully prepared to treat the most complex cases of hammertoe. Put an end to the pain and keep those boots strapped. Hammertoe does not have to keep you in pain forever. Discover what treatment you can have today.

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist. He is currently a member of UCLA Medical Group, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica/UCLA medical center and Orthopedic Hospital and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of University Foot and Ankle Institute. He is Editor Emeritus of the international medical journal, Foot and Ankle Specialist.

Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),

Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
Dr. Bob Baravarian

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    Dr. Franson is my doc and I have had four surgeries. He fixed my toe, as my bones were not healing. He put his heart into fixing me up!
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    Dr. Gary was terrific and numbed my toe before he did the procedure. It was absolute pleasure, with minimal pain and anxiety.
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