What's up doc - toe problem

‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.

Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to try to help.

This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on 5 September 2012, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.


“Dear Spire, my GP suspects that I have a hammertoe, it seems quite severe. I am a keen runner, so when I do run or walk I get painful blisters and I don’t really feel confident showing my feet. Please help, I need to know what can be done about this? Would I need surgery? If I were to have surgery then how long would it take me to recover? Would the surgery be under general anaesthetic? Thanks”.  Steven, Crawley.


Mr Stephen Bendall, consulant orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, says, “Dear Steven, it depends whether the deformed toe is the only problem or if you have maybe a bunion affecting the big toe. Some people have a naturally long second toe (so called Greek foot) which causes problems. If there are other foot deformities like a bunion then these contribute to the lesser toe problem.

So you should probably see a foot and ankle surgeon for advice, most people consider surgery if they have pain, difficulty with footwear that restricts activity. It sounds if you fit those criteria.

The advice you will get will be about non-surgical and surgical treatment so you can make a balanced choice. In general terms surgery can be done under local anaesthetic, general or indeed both. It is best to rest letting the surgical cuts heal for 2 weeks after surgery, usually you can get around walking normally and recovery is around 6-8 weeks in most people”.

Do you need an appointment?

Mr Bendall, offers appointments at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital on Fridays.  To book an appointment call 01293 778 906 or email info@spiregatwick.com.

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Mr Stephen Bendall

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