Linwood Foot Doctor

New Smart Toe® Technology Available for Correction of Hammertoes.

Correction achieved without external wires or screws.

In cases when the Hammer Toe deformity has become rigid, surgery can be the best alternative for relief of pain and discomfort. Any serious discussion of surgery options should include the Smart Toe®, which offers specific advantages.

  • Compressive feature reduces healing time. The Smart Toe® uses temperature-activated memory to expand its width and shorten its length securing the implant in place during healing.

  • One-piece implant (no "connection" required). Some Hammer Toe implants are two-pieces that must be "coupled" during surgery. These can be awkward to connect and also run the risk of disconnecting or even rotating in place.

  • No post-op (after surgery) implant exposure. Some surgical solutions rely on pins and wires to hold your toe bones in place for up to six weeks during the healing process. The wires extending out of the ends of your toes can very uncomfortable. And the open wound can lead to "pin tract" infection requiring additional treatment and further complicating your recovery period.

  • No healthy joint disruption. In many other surgical solutions, your surgeon insert pins and/or wires through the open end of your toes... so all bones of the toes are affected, even if only the second and third joints require treatment.

  • Shape resists rotation. The Smart Toe®'s flat, lateral design resists rotation that may occur with K-wire and other cylindrical solutions. Unplanned rotation can complicate the healing/fusion of the bone.

Memory Enhances Stability and Healing

The goal of corrective surgery is to straighten and align the toe, ensuring the bones fuse in the right position. The Smart Toe® implant helps achieve proper fusion because of the compressive properties made possible by its temperature-activated material, NiTinol alloy. The implant is cooled prior to surgery, and once implanted, body heat expands its width and shortens its length. Expansion secures the implant in place, while the shortening pulls the bones tightly together to encourage the natural fusion process.

Hammertoes involve a contracture deformity at one or more of the joints in the toe. The most common deformity seen involves a flexion contracture at the proximal interphalangeal joint and an extension contracture at the distal interphalangeal joint. There are also isolated deformities of the distal interphalangeal joint known as mallet toe, and dual flexion contractures at the distal and proximal interphalangeal joints known as claw toes. A deformity may also be present at the metatarsophalangeal joint in any of these hammer digit variations.

For rigid deformities, conservative therapy involves accommodation and palliation. Corns that develop from the prominent joint rubbing against shoes can be shaved down, and corn pads and toe spacers can be used to make the person more comfortable. Wider and deeper shoes will also help for many.

Surgical correction of a rigid hammertoe can involve either an arthroplasty or an arthrodesis. Arthroplasty involves cutting some of the bone out of the joint, which creates a wider, more mobile joint. Arthrodesis is a fusion of the joint, which helps to straighten out the toe. The Smart Toe® implant is a newer piece of hardware that helps in arthrodesis procedures.

The Smart Toe® device is placed in the two bones that create the joint, either at the proximal or distal interphalagenal joints of the digit. This allows for a fusion of the joint. The hardware is composed of metal that expands once placed into the body, and keeps a rigid fusion of the joint. They are kept frozen, and heat allows them to expand. Using a Smart Toe® avoids having a pin coming out of the tip of the toe, which can potentially lead to infection or loss of correction at the joint.

View the Smart Toe® Brochure

»  Back to Top