Normally, the bones that make up the toes are straight. The hammertoe is a toe that is bent at the first joint. The disease can affect any of the toes, although it is rare on the big toe. The bent toe can cause pain due to pressure on the top of the shoe. This pressure can lead to bruising and/or pain in the toe. In addition, deformity of the toes puts pressure on the metatarsal bones at their base and often causes pain in the sole. As time goes on, the toes can become permanently contracted and stiff.
There are many effective conservative treatments for these deformities. While some accessories can usually relieve you of finger pain, no conservative treatment has been shown in studies to be effective in permanently straightening your hammertoe. The only way to correct the deformity of the toe permanently once it has been installed is by surgery.
How Much Does Hammertoe Surgery Cost?
The amount of money you are going to pay for the hammertoe treatment depends on the method that is used. If you choose the surgery, you will have to pay $1,750 to more than $5,100 per toe, depending on the surgeon and hospital. On the other hand, if don’t have health insurance and choose to use custom-made shoes or a simple splint, you will spend anywhere between $160 and $550.
For example, if you search on Google, you can find different orthopedic clinics in the United States that charge anywhere between $1,800 and more than $4,100 for a correction with fusion.
According to the Bluebook, the average cost of hammertoe correction surgery in the United States is around $3,500.
Expect to pay anywhere between $12 and $25 for simple toe pads, stretchers, and spacers which are sold online by popular retailers like Amazon.
In most cases, the cost of cosmetic-based surgeries is not covered by insurance companies. If you have health insurance and want to know what is covered and how much would you have to co-pay, contact your insurance company.
There could be a good chance that the surgery is covered if it is deemed medically necessary. As we researched, we found out that insurance companies will ask you to try the non-surgical method for a minimum of six months before your demand is covered. However, each insurance company has its own policies and it’s recommended that you talk with them about it.
Hammertoe surgery details
There are various surgeries to treat the fingers in the hammer. The most common surgeries are tendon plastics, osteotomies, and digital arthrodesis. In more severe cases, the tendon in the distal part of the toe, along with the sole of the foot, must be released to allow the toe to stretch. In other cases, when there is severe stiffness and especially severe deformity (joint dislocation), part of the distal bone (phalanx) may need to be removed (phalangectomy) or the metatarsal shortened (Weil osteotomy).
Anesthesia can be loco-regional or local (rarely), depending on the extent of the operating procedure. General or spinal anesthesia is possible in the case of interventions without post-operative pain.
All toe surgeries cause pain and swelling of the operated area (edema), usually, especially two to three days after surgery. Current techniques of anesthesia and sedatives allow this pain to be controlled. In general, pain levels vary considerably from patient to patient, with some cases not experiencing any significant pain after surgery.
What are the extra costs?
Depending on the hospital charges, expect to pay anywhere between $420 and $1,250 for the anesthesia.
In case you have some other problems like corns or bunions, the doctor will want to resolve these conditions when correcting your hammertoe.
After the surgery, you may need crutches which cost anywhere between $55 and $220.
Also, after the surgery, you may be required to stay in the hospital because you will need to be supervised by the attending physician. Depending on the geographical location and the hospital, you will have to pay around $2,100 per day for the hospitalization stays.
There are patients who have to go to a few physical therapy sessions. In case you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay anywhere between $110 and $310 per session.
Important things to consider
Each surgery has potential risks and complications. The surgeon will discuss the risks with you in detail before setting up the surgery. It is important to understand that all patients may still experience some pain and stiffness after such surgery. It is also important to know that the deformity may recur in the future. If you have a hammertoe, but no pain or any limitation in daily activity, we advise you to postpone surgery. Hammertoe surgeries will never be performed for purely cosmetic reasons.
Most of the time, you will be able to walk on crutches three or four days after surgery, but you will be somewhat limited for about 2-3 weeks.
Arthrodesis procedures may take longer to heal and shoes may not be worn until any metal pins used for fixation (osteosynthesis) have been removed. Generally, this takes about three to six weeks. There are also osteosynthesis systems designed to stay permanently in the bone. The swelling usually begins to subside around six to eight weeks and the leg will begin to feel close to normal at about three months. The healing process, however, continues for about a year.
How can I save money?
You may be able to save up to 50% if you choose to pay in full at most hospitals. This paying method is ideal for those who don’t have health insurance.
There are some other options that may help you with your hammertoe issues like using toe pads or a corrective toe brace, that are specially made to protect your toe from rubbing against the shoe. Make sure you talk with your doctor about other alternatives that may help with your problem.