Corns and hammertoes are both common and bothersome conditions that can cause problems for your feet. Here at Resnikoff Podiatry and Foot Surgery Centers, we are proud to offer both conservative and surgical treatment options for these conditions. We understand that surgery can seem a little daunting, so we want to give you a little more information about these conditions and the surgical treatment options we offer.
What is a Corn?
For anyone who has a pair of shoes that may look amazing but are a little too snug, you’ve probably experienced a corn or two before. Repeated pressure and friction on your skin will cause a little bump of hardened inflamed skin to develop, this is the body’s attempt to protect itself.
Though corns are not contagious, these bumps can become painful and for those who suffer from poor blood flow, corns can become more serious if untreated.
When you seek care for a corn, we will examine your feet and rule out other possible causes for thickened skin such as cysts, calluses, or warts. X-rays may also be used to determine possible alignment issues and the best treatment for your condition.
Treatment Options For Corns
While smaller corns can often be treated at home, large corns are most effectively reduced with surgical blades to shave away the thickened dead skin.
This is often done in an office visit and is a painless procedure as the skin is already dead. In rare instances, surgery may be required if you are unresponsive to other forms of treatment or if severe misalignment of your bones is the cause.
However, surgical treatment should not be taken lightly as it will most likely require bone cutting to realign the bones as well as a long period of recovery. As such, we will often attempt all forms of other treatment before recommending surgery.
What is a Hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a foot deformity typically found in the lower digits of the foot. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, making it look like a hammer.
Hammertoes can also lead to other foot conditions such as bunions, corns, or calluses. There are two types of hammertoes: flexible and fixed. Flexible hammertoes are those in the first stage where the joint and toe are still moveable. It is less serious and can be treated easily if caught early on. However, fixed hammertoes are more developed and are often the result of a flexible hammertoe being left untreated. The tendons are tight causing the joint to become immobile, and are often harder to treat.
Symptoms of the hammertoe condition may include:
- Pain in your feet, especially while wearing shoes
- Calluses or corns that are caused by toes rubbing against your shoes
- Swelling or redness
- Bent toes
- Open sores from where the joint contracts
- Restricted or painful motion of the joint
Hammertoes are often the result of a muscle imbalance or due to constant improper footwear, but they can also be caused by a combination of factors. Other factors may include genetics, trauma to the toe, and conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.
Surgical Treatment Options For Hammertoes
Mild cases of hammertoes can be treated with conservative treatment, but if the hammertoe is further developed more extensive care and treatment may be required.
Mild to moderate cases are typically manageable with lifestyle changes such as changing shoes, using inserts, or padding. If these methods do not relieve your pain or symptoms or your hammertoe is more severe, we may then recommend a surgical treatment option.
Hammertoe surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home following surgery. If you have multiple foot conditions that are commonly associated with hammertoes such as bunions, heel spurs, or corns, your doctor may recommend treating them in a single operation.
Patients can choose to have general or local anesthesia during the procedure to avoid any discomfort or pain. The type of surgery you have will depend on the severity of your condition and whether you have a flexible or fixed hammertoe.
- Tendon Transfer Surgery – If your toe is flexible and can be easily straightened during your examination, your doctor may elect to perform a tendon transfer. During this procedure, tendons are rerouted from the bottom of your toe to straighten the joint. Occasionally, the base of the toe will also need to be released to allow your toe to lay completely straight.
- Joint Resection Surgery – If your toe is fixed, your doctor may remove the rigid joint to treat the hammertoe. In this procedure an incision is made to allow for easy access to the tendons and ligaments, they are then cut to allow for straightening. The end of the bone at the fixed joint is removed as well to allow for complete straightening. Pins are often used to help the toe heal properly during the first month of recovery.
- Fusion Surgery – Fusion surgery is another option for hammertoes that are fixed and unable to be straightened during an examination. During this procedure ligaments and tendons are also cut to straighten the toe, however, the ends of the several bones within your toe may be cut to allow the toe to straighten. Small metal pins, screws, and other implants may be used while the bones heal together.
While no one wants to go through surgery, we are here for you if your condition requires surgical intervention. We will do everything possible to help you feel at ease with your course of treatment and comfortable during your procedure. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Adam F. Resnikoff, DPM today.