Women who wear shoes with high heels and a narrow toe box are more susceptible to hammertoe. This is a toe deformity that affects the proximal interphalangeal joint of the second, third, or fourth toe. This write-up provides information on the cost of the surgery that is performed to correct this deformity.
The term ‘hammertoe’ refers to a toe deformity. Besides being a cause of cosmetic concern, this foot condition could also make one susceptible to corns or bunions. In mild cases, non-surgical treatment options can help provide relief from the symptoms to some extent, however, surgery is recommended in severe cases.
This toe deformity is named so, as it lends a clawed or hammer-like appearance to the affected toe. It occurs when the flexor digitorum brevis muscle that connects to the middle phalanx, contracts first and puts pressure on the bone located at the middle. As a result of this muscle imbalance, the middle bone bends downward and the joint located between the phalanges is raised upwards. The bending of the joint in the second, third, or fourth toe gives a clawed appearance to the toes.
Such a muscle imbalance in the foot could also be caused due to biomechanical inadequacies such as flat fleet. Wearing high-heeled shoes or footwear with a narrow toe box may also put undue pressure on the toes, thereby causing them to get cramped in a small space. Those who wear such ill-fitting shoes on a regular basis, are most likely to get deformed toes. Since toes are flexible, they adapt as per the shape or contours of the footwear. The pressure causes the tendons to tighten and shorten, which in turn, causes the middle phalangeal joint to bend and the tip of the toe to bend downwards.
The surgical correction of this deformity is recommended only when the deformity is causing a lot of pain and is affecting one’s mobility. In order to ascertain the most suitable surgical procedure, an X-ray of the affected foot is seen to determine the extent of damage. The surgical procedures that are usually recommended for the treatment include tendon release procedure, digital arthroplasty, or digital arthrodesis.
◘ Tendon release is recommended when the deformity is mild. It involves cutting the tendons that attach to the joint, followed by straightening of the joint.
◘ Digital arthrodesis is a procedure where the damaged joint surfaces need to be removed. This is followed by the insertion of screws, plates, and wires to hold the joint together till it heals completely.
◘ Digital resection arthroplasty involves the removal of the damaged portion of the joint, followed by straightening of the affected toe.
◘ For mild and flexible hammertoe, tendon release surgery is conducted to correct the bent toe. The tendons that hold the joints are cut and rearranged and the affected joint is straightened out. A pin or a K-wire is inserted for keeping the bone in the correct position. The incision is closed and a dressing is applied. The pin is generally removed after a month.
Cost of the Surgery
The cost would depend on the extent of damage, and the procedures that are performed during the procedure. For instance, skin wedging, transfer of surrounding joints, lengthening, repositioning, and balancing of tendon or muscle might be performed during the surgery. The total cost will include the fees of the physician, anesthesia charges and hospitalization charges. Anesthesia charges and physician fee put together could cost anywhere between USD 1,500 to USD 2,000 and one may have to pay around USD 2,000 per day as hospitalization charges. So, the cost would depend on the duration of time one stays hospitalized. The charges may also vary, depending on the location of the clinic or hospital. The time one would take to recover from this surgery will depend on the overall physical health of the person, but one can speed up the recovery by following instructions regarding aftercare.
As is the case with every surgery, certain risks are involved. Poor fusion of joint, infection, swelling, scarring, and the chances of the recurrence of this toe deformity cannot be ruled out. The toe that has been surgically operated upon, may become stiff. Floating toe is one such complication wherein the toe which was operated upon, doesn’t touch the ground. Thus, make sure that you are aware of the risks involved, so that you can take a well-informed decision.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.