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Solutions for Severe Hammer Toe and Bunion

By July 29, 2008 - 9:17am
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My mother over the years has had a problem with a Hammer Toe and Bunion. She has worn Orthonics but lately these two areas have gotten so bad it is difficult for her to walk. We are not starting to explore what her options are in helping improve these two conditions which also includes exploring surgical options. We are not sure where to start but if we are exploring surgical solutions should we be contacting an Orthopedic surgeon? Additionally can any one direct us to some sites which may feature what the latest and greatest advances are for these conditions?

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Bunions and hammertoes are very common and are both progressive deformities of the foot. As they progress, they tend to get more severe in both pain and deformity. There are some conservative treatments (such as orthotics), but really, the only way to correct a deformity is surgery. I tell my patients NOT to wait until they are painful for treatment because the longer you wait, the more involved the surgical correction needs to be.

Your mother's medical history, circulation status and healing potential will determine if she is still a candidate for surgery but she should not wait any longer to have her foot evaluated by a podiatric surgeon. Most orthopedic surgeons do not have specific training in the foot (only about 5% do) so I would suggest the best and most qualified person to evaluate her is a podiatric physician. You can find one in your area by contacting the American Podiatric Medical Association on their web site "Find a Podiatric Physician." Please don't wait any longer, it sounds like your mother needs to be seen soon!

July 29, 2008 - 1:07pm

Kelley, Sorry to hear that your mother is having these issues with her feet. It's always easy to take our feet for granted when we're pain free.

If you'd like to find out more about some of the advances over the past decade in terms of podiatric surgery, you may want to visit UCLA's Web site where they discuss a process called arthroscopy as well as another type of surgery. I was also able to find information on surgeries and procedures from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons through their search function. I will also pass along the name of the doctor who performed my own foot surgery and although I had some sensitivity for up to a year following the procedure, I would say overall, I can't tell I had anything done. I have no pain unless I bump up against something. Finally, I have forwarded your question to our resident foot expert, who is very well respected in her field.

July 29, 2008 - 9:55am
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