After struggling for months to run without having pain, I realized that there might be something wrong with my feet. It just seemed like whenever I did any type of physical activity, I was burdened with stifling pain. It was annoying, but I knew that a podiatrist might be able to help. Sure enough, after meeting with a doctor, I learned more about what was causing the trouble. It turned out that I had pulled a tendon in my foot, which was causing all kinds of problems. This blog is all about getting your foot problems fixed once and for all.
If you have a mild or moderate hammer toe case, then it may be corrected with splints or medical tape; but more serious cases may require surgery. A common surgery for hammer toes is a proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint fusion. During this procedure, a podiatrist would remove deformed portions of bone, fuse the remaining bone together, and then pin the toes in a straightened position while they heal. While pins can be used for PIP joint fusion, some patients may want to opt for implants instead.
Why are Pins Used During Hammer Toe Surgery?
Kirschner wires—also known as K-wires and pins—are thin, sterilized stainless steel rods that are used for many different surgeries. These pins are inserted into bones to provide stability, they also help to immobilize bones during the recovery phase. During a PIP joint fusion, pins are used to keep the toes straight until the bones fully heal.
Why Would a Patient Wish to Avoid Pins?
Pins are often left in the toes for at least a month during the recovery phase. The major feature of pins is that they stick out of the skin so that they can easily be removed once healing is complete. As you can imagine, this can make activity awkward for many patients, as they cannot wear certain footwear as they heal. And if a patient gets the go-ahead to walk, they must be careful so that the pins don't hit the ground or get caught on things. Since the pins protrude out of the toes, some people may experience tissue irritation or an increased risk of infection. Patients must keep the area dry and stay on top of changing the wound dressing.
How Could Implants Benefit Patients?
Implants, or intramedullary devices, are similar to pins in that they stabilize the toe bones. the main difference is that they aren't removed later; the implant is permanent and bone tissue heals around it. One study found that bio-absorbable implants could reduce the risk of infection since pins weren't exposed. Patients that undergo hammer toe implants are able to return to normal footwear sooner than those with pins.
Some demographics—like diabetics—may prefer implants so that they could avoid the risk of foot ulcers, tunneling wounds, and other issues that could form around the K-wires.
Podiatry Today says that intramedullary implants can provide better resistance to rotational forces. They reported a study that showed improved alignment on x-rays compared to traditional pins.
These are just a few advantages of implants over pins. Reach out to a podiatrist today to learn more about hammer toe surgery.Share
7 September 2022