Foot surgery generally is not advised for athletes (anyone
participating in sports or fitness activities) who can still comfortably
continue their sports. You may want to try nonsurgical treatments such as:
Taking pain relievers.
your shoes or wearing shoes that stretch.
Using pads, splints, or arch supports.
Using custom orthotics.
more comfortable shoes.
pain begins to limit your activities, you may want to consider surgery.
You are likely to have some loss of function
after surgery. Stiffness may persist in the affected joint after surgery, which
may be more limiting than the pain of the original joint deformity. You
probably will be able to resume activities, though possibly at a lesser level.
If you are a competitive athlete whose
hammer toes interfere with your sport, surgical
treatment may improve joint function enough to allow you to continue competing.
Some athletes can postpone more significant surgery that would align and
straighten the joint until after their competitive careers are over.
Children and teenagers
Some children begin developing bunions before the age of 10.
Surgery may be appropriate for children and teens who have pain or limited
activity that persists despite nonsurgical treatment. It is as important for
youths as it is for adults that the surgeon has experience doing various types
of bunion surgery on a regular basis and can choose a procedure that will best
treat the child's specific type of bunion or toe deformity.
A pediatric specialist is trained to diagnose and treat the child's
rapidly changing body, which is very different from the developed adult body.
Some podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons specialize in children's foot
deformities and surgery.
People with other health problems
If you have health problems such as
gout, neuromuscular disorders (such as
muscular dystrophy), or circulatory problems that
limit blood flow to your feet, discuss the risks of surgery with your health
professional. These and other conditions increase the chance of complications
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.