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Operative repair of fourth and fifth toe corns.

METHODS: We report a retrospective review of 57 consecutive patients (72 feet) over a period of 20 years who had been treated operatively for either a lateral fifth toe corn or an interdigital corn of the fourth interdigital space more than two years previously. Of these, 51 patients (62 feet) returned for a follow-up evaluation at a minimum of two years (average of over seven years) which included a review of the interval history since the surgery, a physical examination, a radiographic evaluation, and assessment of the patient's satisfaction with the alignment and results of surgery. Treatment of 31 lateral fifth toe corns involved either a lateral condylectomy and flexor tenotomy or a complete condylectomy. Treatment of 31 interdigital corns comprised either a single condylectomy, double condylectomy of adjacent corns, or a complete condylectomy (hammertoe repair) of a symptomatic corn. Treatment in each case was dependent upon the severity of the deformity.

RESULTS: There was found to be no significant difference in comparison of the two major groups (interdigital corns and lateral fifth toe corns) with the measurement of the relative length of the fourth and fifth metatarsals, toe malalignment, angulation of the fourth and fifth toes (MTP-4, MTP-5 angles), and the phalangeal-5 angle. Pain was relieved in 58 of 62 feet (93%) and subjective acceptable alignment was achieved in 54 of 62 feet (87%). At final follow-up 53 feet were rated by patients as excellent, seven as good, one as fair, and one as poor. Complications included numbness of the involved digit (six feet). There were two superficial infections. There were two cases of joint instability due to excessive bone resection. Joint stiffness was commonly observed (34/62 feet, 55%), but was not associated with diminished satisfaction at final follow-up. Mild asymptomatic recurrence of a callosity was noted in 10 feet and moderate or severe recurrence was noted in two feet. Dissatisfaction was associated with moderate or severe recurrence.

CONCLUSION: In this retrospective study at an average of more than seven years, we achieved a high level of patient satisfaction treating both lateral fifth toe corns and interdigital corns with a partial and/or complete condylectomy, the choice depending upon the magnitude of the deformity and the callus, and the fixed nature of the lesser toe deformity.

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