A hammer toe is not an altogether uncommon issue with feet. Your hammer toe situation can largely be treated by wearing roomy footwear and wearing cushioned support such as small splints and padded bandages, but sometimes surgery is the only option you can consider for your condition.
Hammer toe surgery is performed by a licensed podiatrist who also specializes in sports and ankle medicine, with specialties in the feet as well. A general podiatrist can also perform these surgeries if they are trained in them, although they may refer you to a specialist as needed as well.
Is hammer toe surgery needed for your situation? Here are some signs it's your best option.
Your conditioning is worsening
A hammer toe condition may not entirely improve on its own, but it should be able to be manageable so you can still walk normally without discomfort or pain. If your toes are getting stiffer or if your hammer toes are worsening on one or both feet, then surgery may be your best option.
When you have hammer toe surgery done, often a single foot is treated at a time and given time to heal before moving on to the other foot. This is so the patient can still have some mobility and so they can be more comfortable while they are recovering.
Your condition involves several toes
Having a single hammer toe is one thing, having several hammer toes is another. You may need to have hammer toe surgery if you have multiple affected toes and you also have issues with finding proper footwear or find yourself having to go through a lot of effort to go through basic tasks every day like walking or putting on shoes.
Your condition is not treatable
Podiatrists will always try to treat your hammer toe situation with other means before going to hammer toe surgery since surgery is often the last resort. If foot therapy and other measures of care have not helped your feet or improved your hammer toe problem, then your podiatrist might recommend hammer toe surgery.
To have the best success with a hammer toe surgery, get plenty of rest after the procedure and follow all your podiatrist's orders for care. This way, you can have the best results and be able to enjoy your new feet sooner. Once healed, your hammer toes should be far less severe or even resolved completely, depending on the level of severity in the first place.