Toes are straightened for a number of problems, including hammer toes, claw toes, or cross over toes. A number of techniques may be used to straighten the toe, including cutting bone, especially on the prominent top of the toe. In order to aid in the straight healing of the toe following the surgery, a small pin (K wire) is commonly inserted into the toe for about three to four weeks. At times, in order to straighten the toe, the metatarsal bone which is lined up with the toe may require shortening. Tendons may be released, lengthened, or transferred to straighten the toe.
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Following surgery to the toes, regardless of what exact type of surgery is performed, the toes are swollen for months. The foot needs to be elevated to help decrease swelling. If the toe surgery is performed without any additional surgery to the big toe, then the recovery is typically faster.
General recovery facts
- You can expect mild to moderate pain for a few days
- You are allowed to walk on the foot the day after surgery, as tolerated
- You may drive by about 4 days if it is your left foot, and 7 days if your right foot
- Much depends on whether additional surgery is performed with the toes
- There are often pins put into the toes, and these are removed at 3 to 4 weeks
- You can start exercising under supervision at about 4 weeks
- You will start to transition to a sneaker type shoe at about 4 weeks
- The toes will remain puffy and swollen for several months
Guidelines Postoperative Course
- Foot wrapped in bulky bandage and surgical shoe
- Ice, elevate, take pain medication
- Expect numbness in foot 12 24 hours, then pain
- Blood drainage through bandage expected. Do not change bandage.
- Start heel walking in Darco wedge shoe only
- A different post-operative shoe will be provided for driving and sleeping
- Moderate pain continue pain medication
- Ice, elevate as much as possible
- Protect pin site from impact and keep it covered
- First follow up in the office: X-rays taken
- Dressing changed
- Dressing/Strapping changed as needed
- Pin removed in office
- Massage and range of motion of the toes important for one month
- Physical therapy may be prescribed