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Dr. Rick, MD
Dr. Rick, MD, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 11313
Experience:  20+ years as a doctor. Internal Medicine Internship in NYC
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My second toe (next to big toe)on my left foot is a

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My second toe (next to big toe)on my left foot is a hammertoe. The other toes are somewhat crooked and starting to turn under especially my little toe. The little toe gets a callous and is bothersome at times. I wear a 10.5 narrow, have had shoes with higher toe box stretched. Wider shoes give less arch support & heel slippage. I removed orthotics as this seemed to turn my foot more to the outside affecting the little toe. Dr. Bohay MD, FACS in Grand Rapids Mi. recommends surgery on all four toes. I am 83, seemingly in good health, but have neuropathy in my feet. I had a lamenectomy & total right hip replacement in 1999. My back can be troublesome at times but I do not take pain medications. I now wear sandals & New Balance sport shoes. Is surgery advisable? Other alternatives? Custom made shoes? Will wearing a surgical boot etc. after surgery cause more back & hip problems? Is this type of surgery very successful? Lengthy recovery? Risks-anesthetic-infections? Does a condition like mine slowly deteriorate or have a faster progression? I do walk and ride a stationary bike. I am 5 foot 3inches and weigh 169. Would a personal visit to your clinic be more helpful? We live in Holland MI.
I am still so THANKFUL for your advice (many years ago) concerning fusion on my back!
Hi. My name is***** and I am online and available to help you today. Thank you for your patience.
How long have you been dealing with the hammer toe?
Do you currently have back and hip problems?
Have you discussed the risks of surgery and anesthesia with Dr. Bohay?
Do you have any medical problems or take any medications?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Dr. Rick-

It has been a few years that I have been using moleskin etc..

My back & hip are doing quite well-my back aches when I overdue, stand too long or use an improper chair. When walking I rest a few minutes and continue to walk for a half hour. Hip can ache -maybe arthritis?

Dr. Bohay did say there were risks (45 minute surgery) with anesthesia and infection and a long recovery especially since I am 83! He said I would have a boot( as I can not do crutches) and i am wondering what that might do to my back & hip.

Sometimes I do get leg cramps at night along with the neuropathy so that is a concern.

I do take 10mg of Lovastain, a half of Diovan (320), Calcium +D, Fish oil, Multi-vitamin, Baby aspirin, Glucosamine. Premarin,

Does a condition like mine take awhile to really impair one or is it a slow progression? Is there anything other than surgery? Toe separators etc?

Sorry that i did not get back to you sooner. (The Dr. who trims my nails just says it is an individual decision! ) I am eager to hear another opinion. Would there be any advantage to a personal visit to Mayo.? We live in Holland MI. Thanks for any help you can give.

dr. Rick Sorry

Thank you for that extra information. Let me go over your questions in order:
1. There are, of course, alternatives to surgery. But, if you have tried special shoes, and your toes are having problems then surgery is a very good option.
2. Wearing the boot after surgery should not cause more hip problems.
3. This is a very successful surgery and while, as with any surgery, there is a period of recovery, it is not especially long with this procedure.
4. Anesthesia has risks, but it is as safe as it can be. I'd not worry about this.
5. My crystal ball broke yesterday so I can't say how fast or slow your condition will progress....but it will progress, that is sure.
6. We can not personally see patients we meet on this website per our contract. Sorry.
7. Sounds like you are in good hands with Dr. Bohay. I would trust him to do your surgery.
8. I'd not worry about your history of leg cramps.
9. I think you are beyond the point where toe separators are going to be of any value.....
Whew! That was a lot of questions for one post. My fingers are all wore out :)
Does this make sense to you?
I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.
Thanks in advance,
Dr. Rick MD FACS
Dr. Rick, MD and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much for your help. (I did give you a tip!) I wonder about recovery time-I am sure at my age it will take months judging by a time it takes for healing a small scratch etc. Am thinking it would be about a year before swelling leaves and shoes would fit. Wondering about how long a boot has to be worn. Getting a second opinion is so helpful in making decisions! Any other advise you have would be greatly appreciated. Going out of town for a few days. Thanks in advance!

I do not think it will take a year to heal....more on the order of two months or so.....
In my opinion, from what you have posted, I'd go ahead with the surgery as Dr. Bohay has recommended.
Have a good trip, best of luck with your surgery and drop me a note and let me know how things turn out.
Dr. Rick MD FACS