Toe surgical shortening is an optional way of dealing with the symptoms of a long toe and it is considered to be a cosmetic procedure, that usually is not covered by the insurance. Depending on the severity, there are different procedures available to correct this deformity.
A long toe can progress onto a hammertoe when the tip of the shoe is being pushed directly on the toe, causing it to contract.
If your toes have become irritated, red, warm, and/or swollen, you’re probably experiencing a dull and mild or severe and sharp pain. In this case, you may consider toe surgery as an option.
How much does the surgery cost?
Depending on multiple factors like the hospital, the surgeon, the geographical location, the type of procedure, most of the surgeries will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 per toe if you are not covered by insurance.
For instance, according to the Healthcare Bluebook, the cost is about $4.265 without any insurance.
On the other hand, the Plastic Surgery Portal, states that the shortening surgery is between $2,000 and $2,500 for one toe.
We can also mention Estheticon.com, where the price of the procedure ranges from $500 to $3,000, depending of course on the state, surgeon, and the clinic, like we already stated above.
Surgery and recovery overview
The surgery can be performed under a general or local anesthetic. Receiving general anesthesia will make you sleep for the entire procedure, but it is recommended to talk with your doctor, which will usually argue that it is better to receive numbing medication for local anesthesia.
The patient also has the option to choose between an in-patient or out-patient procedure. The most common choice is to be an out-patient and this means you are able to go home on the same day.
Regarding the procedure itself, the surgeon may be able to do a tendon transfer if the toe is still flexible. This means that tendons from the bottom of the toe will be redirected to the top, where your toe it’s bent. The finger can straighten with the help of these rerouted tendons.
Further on, the surgeon has the options of fusion or joint resection, depending on if your toe has become stiff or fixed.
The join resection
An incision will be made to reach the ligaments from the top part of the toe and underneath the tendons. To straighten the toe, both ligaments and tendons may need to be cut. For the finger to be fully extended, the end of the bone will be taken off. To keep the toe straight, small pins or rods are used during the healing. After a month or so from the surgery, the pins are removed.
When „fusion” is a must, tendons and ligaments are cut for the toe to be straightened. This time, the affected joint is healed by cutting the ends of the two bones that form it, making your toe straight. To help the ends of the bone fuse together and heal, pins or screws are being used.
The procedure will last from 30 to 60 minutes.
Full recovery may take several weeks, but it usually depends on the type of surgery you had.
Crutches, walkers, and special shoes are often used after the surgery to help you maintain your balance.
However, in the first couple of weeks, your foot should stay elevated most of the time. The pressure will considerably be reduced by keeping the foot elevated and you will allow the toe to heal faster.
Swelling around the toe is to be expected and though it could last up to a year, the pain should decrease soon after the procedure.
It is very important to ask your doctor about any restrictions, as you shouldn’t be allowed to place your foot underwater before removing the pins or screws. It is also not recommended to drive for a few weeks if the operation took place on your right foot.
What are the extra costs?
In order to have a succesfull recovery, crutches or orthotic shoes are required after the surgery.
To strengthen and stretch the muscles, you can also have some physical therapy sessions.
Regardless of the method you choose to recover, $200-$300 will be needed.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes the anesthesia is billed separately.
Can I save any money?
Finacing options along with payment plans are offered by many doctors and hospitals, so make sure you ask the finance department for more details.
A free consultation, which may conclude with non-surgical methods, is given by most doctors. Make sure to take advantage of one, if possible.
Some non-surgical methods aimed at decreasing symptoms that will save you money are:
- Stretch shoes
- Callus care medicines
- Supportive shoes
- Arc support
- Shoes with a wide toe box
Tips you may consider
Many specialists believe that the toe shortening procedure involves risks you may not want to take just for a cosmetic enhacement.
Corns, infection, chronic pain, flexibility loss, bunions, imbalanced walking, and even permanent nerve damage are some of the side effects that may occur after the surgery.