Surgery for problems of the small toes aims to correct the deformity and prevent it from interfering with your daily activities if simple measures haven’t been successful.
The lesser toes can develop a number of abnormal appearances and positions including: hammer toe, mallet toe, claw toe and curly toe. Deformed small toes tend to rub on your shoes and may cause: small toe pain, metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of your foot), the skin of your toes to rub together and become raw and, difficulty finding well-fitting shoes.
Small toe problems usually happen when the pressures on the toe are stronger than their joints can resist. This can be because:
• the joints are weak - injury or arthritis may cause the muscles that control the small toes to become unbalanced so that one set pulls harder than the others, causing the toe to bend.
• strong pressure – most often from shoes that press on the tip of your small toes as the shoe is tight or it has a high heel that tends to force your toes into the tip of your shoe. Pressure may also result from the toe (usually the second toe) being naturally longer than the others.
Problems with the small toes are often seen in people with a bunion and they may additionally suffer from bunion pain.
There are a number of different foot operations. The type of foot surgery will depend on the lesser toe problem. You will be given a local or general anaesthetic based on the surgical procedure being performed. Often surgery can be carried out using minor procedures.
Your foot surgeon may:
• release or lengthen your tendons
• return joints back to their original position
• remove a small piece of bone or tip of the toe
• realign your toe bone
• change the shape of a bone.
Your toes may be fixed in place using removable wires or tiny screws.
Fusion may be required for more severe deformities when your surgeon will remove cartilage from the end of the toe bones in the middle joint. This is then held with a pin so that the bones can fuse together.
Foot surgery for problems of small toes aims to resolve the deformity and, reduce pain in your small toe joint and in the ball of your foot.
Straighter toes should also fit more comfortably in a normal shoe.
Most operations for the lesser toes are successful but as with any surgery complications can occur. There is a risk of infection, damage to the nerve or blood vessels to the toe, bone healing problems, severe pain, loss of movement in your toes and, recurrence of the deformity.
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
A surgery for problems of the small toes may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
You should follow the advice of your healthcare team. You may need to wear special stockings postoperatively. You should keep your leg raised most of the time during the first week to reduce swelling. Thereafter you may become more active. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible.
After a few weeks, if you have pins or wires in your toes, your foot surgeon will usually remove them in the clinic.
It can take six weeks or longer before the swelling has gone down enough for you to wear a normal soft shoe. Make sure it is comfortable and has enough room for your toes.
The swelling often takes up to six months to go down completely.
Ramsay Health Care hospitals offer high quality surgical care for problems of the small toes. Our foot surgeons and supporting care teams regularly see patients with these foot complications and understand the pain and discomfort they can bring.
We aim to offer the best treatment option for your foot problem. If surgery is required you can rest assured you’re in safe and experienced hands with excellent aftercare.
In addition to this issue we can treat other foot conditions including bunions and flat feet.
Miss Sabeen Akhtar
Miss Sabeen Akhtar is a full time NHS Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Northern Care Alliance ( Pennine Acute NHS Trust).Read more
Mr Gary Hannant
Mr Gary Hannant is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in West Yorkshire, Bingley who specialises Foot and Ankle SurgeryRead more
Mr Christopher Mann
Mr Christopher Mann is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in Foot and Ankle surgeryRead more
Mr Kandasamy Sampathkumar
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