Lee’s Summit Podiatrist Dr. Joel Foster Explains Why a Bunion Can Put You at Risk of Developing Hammer Toe

bunion causes hammer toeA bunion can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and swelling in the affected toe, as well as difficulty walking. If you wait too long to seek treatment, your bunion could also put you at risk of developing a hammer toe. Lee’s Summit podiatrist Dr. Joel Foster provides effective treatment for both bunions and hammer toes—letting you get back to leading an active, pain-free lifestyle.  

How a Bunion Can Lead to Hammer Toe

A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe where it meets the foot. When you have a bunion, this changes the alignment of your big toe joint—pushing it towards the second toe. This shift in alignment can affect the balance of your foot and cause increased pressure on the adjacent toes.

As your big toe pushes towards the second toe, it can crowd your other toes. This crowding can lead to the development of a hammer toe—a condition where the second toe bends abnormally at the middle joint.

Over time, untreated bunions can cause changes in the muscles and tendons surrounding the big toe joint. These imbalances can impact the function of the toes, which also contributes to the development of hammer toe.

If your bunion was caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or shoes with a narrow toe box, continuing to choose improper footwear can exacerbate the conditions and increase the likelihood that you’ll eventually develop a hammer toe. 

Minimally Invasive Surgery Provides Lasting Pain Relief

Although orthotics, supportive footwear, and other conservative treatment measures can temporarily alleviate some of the pain from a bunion or hammer toe, both of these conditions will progressively worsen over time. Surgical treatment is the only way to fix the deformity that is the root cause of your pain.

Dr. Foster performs minimally invasive surgery to treat both bunions and hammer toes. Compared to traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery offers the following benefits:

  • Same-day treatment. Minimally invasive surgery for bunions and hammer toe correction can be performed on an outpatient basis, eliminating the need for an overnight hospital stay. 
  • Less noticeable scars. Utilizing tiny incisions in minimally invasive techniques results in significantly less scarring compared to traditional open surgeries.
  • Reduced post-op pain. Minimally invasive surgery’s reduced impact on tissues leads to diminished post-operative pain and discomfort. 
  • Lower infection risk. Smaller incisions minimize exposure to external contaminants, reducing the likelihood of post-operative infections and enhancing the overall safety of the surgical process. 
  • Faster recovery. You’ll still need to initially limit weight bearing on the affected foot, but opting for minimally invasive surgery typically will let you resume walking more quickly. 

Minimally invasive surgery can also be financially beneficial. For procedures that can be performed in our office surgical suite, it is far less expensive than traditional open surgery. To help you understand what the cost of your treatment will be, Dr. Foster’s office uses a direct-pay model that allows you to know your costs before your procedure rather than having a procedure done and then getting a bill in the mail. 

The Benefits of HyProCure for Treating Bunions and Hammer Toes

Since both bunions and hammer toes can be caused by misaligned feet, Dr. Foster often recommends HyProCure. This is a type of minimally invasive surgery that involves placing a small titanium stent into the sinus tarsi—the naturally occurring space between your heel bones and your ankle—to correct talotarsal displacement. A contributing factor to a wide range of foot problems as well as pain in your knees, hips, and back, talotarsal displacement is a misalignment in the bones of the back half of the foot that leads to a gait abnormality referred to as hyperpronation.

On our blog, we share how HyProCure helped Carrie, one of our patients from our Lee’s Summit office, put a stop to her foot pain and get back to leading an active lifestyle. “Dr. Foster is so gracious and kind, and handles feet with the utmost care,” Carrie said.

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