Toe Or No Toe?
Reasons For Toe Amputation
Amputation is a pretty scary thought. I mean, think about losing part of your body forever; now what if it was your foot?
It is often assumed that amputations are primarily performed in emergency or life-threatening cases, but that is not always true. While amputations are performed to preserve life and limb, there may be more to the story.
It is prevalent for a patient to have non-emergent or an “elective” amputation. I know what you must be thinking: “why on earth would someone choose to have a toe amputated?” It sounds a little outlandish at first, but keep reading to learn about the reasons and benefits of non-emergent amputation.
Many non-emergent amputations are the result of a long-standing biomechanical problem. In our recent YouTube video, Dr. Barko performed a partial amputation of a third digit.
The patient in the video had a recurring, non-healing ulcer caused by a hammertoe. The hammertoe was a result of a bunion that developed because of flat feet. This domino effect caused the patient’s hammertoe to progress to the point that he was walking on the tip of his toe.
This part of the toe cannot handle the excessive pressure because it lacks the fat needed to absorb shock and can lead to an ulcer, which happened to this patient.
Healing an ulcer in this area can be difficult because it is walked on constantly and puts the patient at increased risk for developing an infection, which can lead to a larger amputation.
Even if we can heal the ulcer, it will reoccur because the underlying structural problem was not addressed. After weighing all of the options with Dr. Barko and exhausting all conservative care, this patient decided a partial amputation was the best option for him.
The amputation overall improves the patient’s quality of life, he will still be able to walk normally, and his chances of developing an ulcer or infection in that location decreased significantly. In addition, he will be able to live his life pain and worry-free.
An amputation such as this one can be performed in-office using local anesthesia, meaning there is no need for a hospital visit. It is required to wear a post-op shoe after the procedure, but most patients heal and can resume regular activity in 2-3 weeks.
You do not have to fear partial amputation. If you are still in extreme pain after exhausting all conservative measures. This may be the option for you.