Jenn F. on
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
If your second, third, and/or fourth toes bend at the middle joint while you are at rest, rather than laying flat, you may have a condition called “hammer toes.” You may find relief with a change in footwear, straightening cushions, and stretching; but the only way to truly correct the deformity is to undergo hammertoe surgery to correct the joint and soft tissues that are misaligned. Depending on the type of hammer toe you have, and the foot surgeon’s preferred technique, your surgery may involve a joint resection, ligament and tendon snipping, bone removal, tendon transfer, implantation, or fixation with pins or wires. In this article, the White Plains foot surgeons from The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine discuss what to expect during hammer toe surgery recovery.
We see so many people suffering from chronic, crippling pain that we always love hearing patient success stories. And we love it even more when we can be the ones to help achieve amazing results for people with seemingly impossible foot, ankle, and toe problems. One of our patients at The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine – who we’ll call “C.H.” – has agreed to let us share her “floppy toe” story.
More than 200,000 people are professionally treated for hammer toe pain each year. Like bunions, hammer toes are a progressive foot problem that worsens over time without treatment. Usually the deformity is obvious because the toes appear visibly bent, but other symptoms include pain at the top of the toes, corns forming on the middle toe joints, redness, swelling, and pain on top and in the ball of the foot at the base of the toe. Some hammer toes are flexible and others are semi-rigid or rigid. Patients may experience no pain unless they are walking.
Here are some of the best ways to treat hammer toe pain at home, in addition to having your condition professionally addressed by our NYC podiatrists.
It is estimated that 10 to 20% of Americans suffer from an embarrassing foot condition known as hammertoe. “Rather than the toes sticking straight out and lying flat, they are locked in a perpetual curl. The toe then rubs against the top of the shoe — causing pain and irritation that makes shoe shopping a challenge,” explains Dr. Josef J. Geldwert from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City.
“In many ways, the hammertoe is like the little sister of the bunion, another common foot deformity with hereditary links,” he adds. “This time of year, we do many elective surgeries to correct these problems when quality of life diminishes for our patients.” The good news is that a new procedure can correct hammertoes more efficiently than before.
“Iron Cowboy” James Lawrence of Salt Lake City, Utah, earned his nickname when he landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most ironman races completed in 2012. The 36-year-old, famous for wearing a colorful cowboy hat while running, averaged just under 12 hours for all 30 events, which took place in 11 countries. Though he recalls his first marathon at age 28 as being an “awful” experience, his perseverance is an inspiration for many aspiring triathletes.1http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/an-interview-with-the-iron-cowboy-james-lawrence As our NYC-based podiatrists know, though, triathlon training is not without its fair share of foot perils.
What Happened to the Iron Cowboy?
The Iron Cowboy embarked upon one heck of a mission. Can the human body withstand a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a full 26.2-mile marathon every single day for over a month? Apparently, the answer is “yes,” as Lawrence just finished 50 ironman races in 50 states in 50 days as of July 25th.2http://www.wkow.com/story/29561023/2015/07/16/50-ironmans-in-50-states-in-50-days-the-iron-cowboy-takes-on-wisconsin His achievement not only secured him a position in the Guinness Book of World Records, but raised money for a childhood obesity charity as well.
Most commonly, people elect to have hammer toe surgery when the pain becomes unbearable or when their feet have trouble fitting into shoes. Early intervention may include wearing supportive shoes with improved arch support and wider toe boxes. Anti-inflammatory medicines and physical therapy may be used to reduce inflammation. Cortisone shots can decrease pain and swelling as well. Toe splints or pads can lessen the pain or stall hammer toe progression. If these conservative treatments do not work, then hammer toe surgery may be recommended.
“I am so grateful for having had Dr. Geldwert perform bunion surgery on both of my feet. I have complete confidence in him and continue to see him for other sports related injuries. I was cautious about having surgery for the first time, but his knowledge, patience, and skill made me completely comfortable in trusting him. And I couldn’t be any happier with the results!! When anything else feels wrong with my feet, I love that I now know to go immediately to him. He is my top choice for anyone searching for the best foot fixer/surgeon/sports doctor in NYC! Thank you, Dr. Geldwert!!!”
– J. M., Manhattan, NY
Manhattan Office 111 East 88th Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Westchester Office 10 Mitchell Place Suite 105 White Plains, NY 10601 (914) 328-3400 See map here
Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine 57 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 996-1900 See map here
Dr. Josef J. Geldwert DPM, Dr. Katherine Lai DPM, Dr. Ryan Minara, DPM, and Dr. Mariola Rivera DPM serving Westchester County, White Plains, Ardsley, Bronxville, Harrison NY, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Scarsdale, Rye Brook, Chappaqua, and the surrounding area.
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