Correction of hallux

When is surgery the best option?

The doctors like to say that a surgery is required when there are no other alternatives available. When the foot toe is misshapen or has a deformation, surgery is almost inevitable. However, you do not need to be afraid.

Orthopaedic surgeon – Aleksas Makulavicius

Splay feet thumb is a very common orthopaedic problem. About 20-30% of all women has a greater or lesser degree of this deformation. Men have this problem less often. It was found that a congenital weakness of the ligaments has the greatest influence, which unfortunately could be inherited. In some cases a feet deformation or lame muscle structure could also be inherited.

The thumb could be deformed if a person is constantly wearing high-heels or narrow-nose shoes. Therefore, women whose mothers or grandmothers suffered from this problem are advised to wear heels only for special occasions. It is important to choose comfortable shoes, which would not change the foot shape. If you decide to wear heels the height should be 2-3 cm and the shoe front should be wide enough. Unfortunately, this is probably the only advice the doctors could give. Generally, if the foot has deformity it will progress.

A surgery is usually the only way to help

If a thumb only has a small deformation it might not be noticeable and most people would not contact their doctor in this case. However once the thumb deformation progresses other fingers are deformed too. Once the deformation increases there are painful calluses even when a person wears comfortable shoes. Shoes begin rubbing and a painful inflammatory calluses get formed. When this is a case it’s hard for patients to find proper footwear. From the moment when the foot starts hurting, the problem is medical and not only aesthetic.

The thumb deformation is a mechanical problem. Due to this the solution is also mechanical. In theory, a thumb could be detained with an external holder, however in reality this would be very uncomfortable as holder would not fit into the shoe and would deform other fingers. This is usually what happens when splitting slippers are used. Therefore a surgical treatment for the foot thumb is the most logical choice which leads to a long-term solution and positive results.

There is nothing to worry about

A high-quality anaesthesia is used during reconstructive foot surgery. Usually the patient is sleeping just a few minutes after the drugs injection. Once the patient is sleeping the painkillers are injected into the foot. The operation takes about an hour and the anaesthesia lasts up to 6 hours. Due to this the patient doesn’t feel any pain for quite some time after the surgery.

The main goal of the surgical treatment is to adjust the metatarsal deformity. Usually the foot is incised with special instruments and in this way the foot’s position is adjusted and the foot is narrowed to normal. After this is done the metatarsal is fixed with special small metal constructions.

Post-surgery period

Usually the patient can stand on the floor after a day if the foot deformation was not neglected. Painkillers are usually no longer necessary after a few days and the bone heals in 4-5 weeks. Due to this the patient could put his finger on the floor after a month. It is very important to actively exercise the thumb from the very first day to keep it agile.

Sometimes, in difficult cases, when the deformation is serious and irreversible and other toes are already deformed, a more serious surgery is required. If this is the case, an advanced foot reconstruction is done with a special expensive plate. After this type of surgery the bone healing takes up to 2 months. Of course it is much better not to wait until the development reaches the last stage and in this way avoiding long lasting pain.

Can hallux deformation revive?

If surgery is done correctly 90-95% of all patients are happy with the results. However for 5 to 10% of patients the deformation revives. It usually happens due to neglected deformations, when the joints of the toes are damaged and patients have a so called arthrosis process.

Due to this it is recommended for patients to not delay and go to see the specialists as soon as possible, when they notice the first signs of hallux deformation and not waiting until the deformation is persistent. The smaller the deformation, the easier surgery is needed and better results are achieved, and vice versa. The surgical reconstruction of the toe, which is not persistent, is safe, effective and minimally painful.