One of the most common genetic toe problems is the long toe. The long second toe is the most common, and inspires the most patient complaints surrounding toenail pain and top of the toe pain. The top of the long toe can hit the inside of the front and top of the shoe, and cause painful friction.
Patients with long toe issues may also suffer from hammertoe condition, where the middle toes are bent upward, and can form uncomfortable corns or calluses.
Depending on the patient’s lifestyle, age, and severity of the issue, conservative treatment or surgical treatment may be recommended to help alleviate the pain involved with a long toe.
Surgical toe shortening can ease pain and discomfort, enhance symmetry and balance, while also improving the fit of shoes and overall cosmetic appearance of the foot.
If the pain and discomfort isn’t too severe, lifestyle changes may be the best option for treating a long toe condition. Here’s some possible conservative treatments:
To alleviate pain around the long toe, we recommend wearing larger, more comfortable shoes. Shoes should have extra space in the front area (known as the toe box) and be made with softer, less abrasive materials to minimize friction on the affected toe.
Find temporary relief from corns and calluses through professional sharp debridement (shaving) or consistent at home filing. Over-the-counter corn removal products are available but should be used with extreme caution. These medicated pads can be placed directly over the impacted area to relieve the pressure and cause the corn or callus to eventually fall off on its own.
Long toe surgery takes place in an outpatient surgery center or a clinic, with the patients under sedation and local anesthesia. The procedure, as with toe shortening and hammertoe correction, may or may not require an internal pin, and the incision is minimal (½ centimeter to 1 ½ centimeter).. Occasionally, an additional procedure may be necessary, but the time in the operating room is typically 20 minutes per toe.
If indicated, the skin lesion or corn can also be removed during the procedure. If not, it will naturally fall off three to four weeks after the surgery.
Sutures are placed under the skin and steri-strips (surgical tape) are removed after two weeks. Patients can bear weight in a post-operative shoe or open-toe sandal after 48 to 72 hours of rest and elevation.
Sports, exercise, and wearing different types of shoes can be worn as soon as three weeks after the surgery, depending on patient preference, swelling, and incision sensitivity.
A low $500 deductible with coverage for the procedures may be the only deductible cost for toe shortening surgery. A high deductible with partial coverage after can become quite expensive. Cash pricing includes hospital costs ($1500 to $10,000), anesthesia costs ($500 to $1500), equipment costs ($500 to $15,000), and surgeon costs ($750 to $1500).
Recovery from toe shortening surgery is approximately 2 to 3 weeks — the time it takes for the incision to fully heal. Multiple toe surgeries add to the recovery time, but activity and shoe restrictions can extend the total healing time as well.
The “Cinderella” foot surgery definition involves slimming the foot width and/or length. Toe shortening surgery does not involve the width of the foot and usually only shortens 1 or 2 toes.
Toe surgery is very rarely painful. Since the incision and surgery performed inside of the toe are both minimal, the pain is minimal as well — usually controlled with anti-inflammatory medication.
Putting patients to sleep for toe surgery depends on the patient, surgical venue, and if certain equipment is necessary.
“I had previously visited 4 other podiatrists, none were able to help like Dr. Moore did. He’s patient and listens to your problems and concerns. The office staff is wonderful too. They go above and beyond to make sure you’re taken care of.”
Our wonderful patient shares her story as well as a look at her toes at 4 weeks after surgery. Both third toes were lengthened and the fourth toe on the left foot was shortened to match her right foot.
Cosmetic foot surgery is becoming more popular as the surgical procedures, techniques and equipment are more sophisticated and easier to perform with more reliable outcomes.
If you’re suffering from painful friction and discomfort caused by a long toe, Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists can provide you with the appropriate solution. Contact us today to book your consultation!
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