Hammertoe surgery is used to treat a deformity in the second, third, or fourth toe—a bend at the middle joint that gives the toe the appearance of a claw or hammer. When the muscles in the toe are unable to stretch and straighten, surgery is performed to alleviate pain or enhance flexibility.

After more conservative approaches, such as wearing roomier, more comfortable shoes or attempting over-the-counter splints and pads, have failed, your healthcare physician may recommend hammertoe surgery.

This essay will explain what you should expect before, during, and after hammertoe surgery.

Types of Hammertoe Surgery
The surgery is used to straighten the toe joint when it is flexed and producing pain, irritation, or ulcers. Surgery can be used to treat severe cases of hammertoe in both adults and children.

Depending on your unique instance and extent of deformity, your surgeon may employ one or several surgical procedures. Among the possibilities are:
- Fusion: This is the most commonly used surgical treatment for hammertoes. At the fixed joint, both ends of the bone are severed. To maintain the toe straight, a pin, or K-wire, is briefly inserted; once the ends fuse, the pin is removed. A recent procedure involves permanently implanting a rod or screw.
- Tendon transfer: To help the toe straighten, tendons are rerouted from the bottom to the top.
- Joint resection: To keep the toe straight, the end of the bone at the fixed joint is removed and pins are temporarily implanted.

Although the procedure may involve more than one toe, likely, you will only have surgery on one foot at a time.

How to Prepare
You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the operation during your pre-operative visit with the surgeon. This could include the surgical strategy and what to expect during recovery.

You'll probably talk about the type of anesthetic that will be utilized, whether it's general anesthesia or a nerve block to make the foot numb while being operated on.

Before surgery, your surgeon may also recommend that you consult with a physical therapist. In the weeks following surgery, you will need assistive equipment such as crutches or a walker to keep your weight off your foot while it heals. Before surgery, the physical therapist can assist you in learning how to utilize such equipment.

They can also give you exercises to undertake before your procedure to enhance your balance and strength in the opposite leg, which will make it simpler to move around following surgery. After surgery, the physical therapist might also advise you on foot exercises to help you recuperate.

Your procedure is likely to be performed in a hospital or surgical center. Make plans for someone to drive you home from surgery as part of your preparation.

What to Wear
To the hospital or surgery facility, wear loose, comfortable clothing. Before the procedure, you will be requested to change into a hospital gown.

Bring a comfortable, non-slip shoe for your unaffected foot after surgery. You will not be allowed to wear a normal shoe on the operated foot after surgery; instead, you will be given a customized boot.

Food and Drink
If you're undergoing general anesthesia, you should avoid eating and drinking after midnight on the day of your surgery so your stomach is empty. Consult your surgeon for additional advice.

Before the procedure, discuss your existing medications with your healthcare provider or anesthesiologist. They may advise you to discontinue using medications that may cause excessive bleeding, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and supplements like fish oil and St. John's wort.

Inform your healthcare practitioner about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you're taking, including pharmaceuticals, vitamins, supplements, and herbal therapies, to avoid issues.

What to Bring
You should plan to bring any paperwork, your insurance card, a driver's license, and your pre-surgical test results if they were done at a different location than your surgery on the day of surgery.

If your healthcare physician recommends any assistive aids, such as a walker or crutches, bring them with you. If you don't have them already, you'll get them in the hospital when you're ready to go home.

Pre-Op Lifestyle Changes
Talk to your healthcare physician about quitting smoking before your operation to reduce the risk of problems. Nicotine inhibits blood flow, which increases the risk of a blood clot, healing issues, and infections following surgery.

You might also wish to make some changes to your home before the procedure. Moving your bed from the second to the first floor, for example, eliminates the need to traverse stairs as you heal.

You should plan to take some time off work post-surgery. Depending on your employment, whether sedentary or physically demanding, this could last one to six weeks. Discuss with your surgeon how long you should plan to be absent from work.

You should also plan for someone to assist you with housework and child or pet care while you are recovering. Because it can take up to six weeks to fully heal, you'll want to make sure you can stay off your foot as much as possible during that time.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, a journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness, and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.