Hammer Toe Surgery & Recovery | MedStar Health

MedStar Health is proud to offer hammer toe surgery. Our experienced foot and ankle surgeons offer you the comprehensive care you need for an effective procedure and a successful recovery. Our surgeons are fellowship-trained in foot and ankle surgeries and specialize exclusively in caring for lower extremity conditions.

What is hammer toe surgery?

Hammer toe is a common foot deformity that causes the three middle toes of the foot to appear bent and misshapen. People suffering from the condition may experience discomfort and even severe pain when wearing shoes. When the condition is caught early it is known as flexible hammer toe, and can often be treated using conservative options. However, when the condition is more severe, a procedure called hammer toe surgery is used to correct the deformity and relieve toe and foot pain caused by the condition.

What does surgery involve?

It is a simple, outpatient procedure that involves making a small incision in the top part of the toe, through which the ligaments and tendons of the toe can be reached. Some of the bone is removed to help fully extend the toes, and then small pins or rods may be used to help straighten the toe during healing. In some cases, tendons or ligaments in the toe joint must also be cut in order to straighten the toe fully and allow for proper healing.

What does surgery recovery involve?

Most patients are able to leave immediately after hammer toe correction surgery unless otherwise noted by your surgeon. In some cases, a secondary visit is needed about a month after surgery to remove any pins or other hardware used to help your toe stay aligned during the healing process. Our specialists will work with you to develop your personalized recovery plan for the weeks following your procedure, which may involve:

  • Rest
  • Keeping weight off the affected toe
  • Special shoes or a cast
  • Crutches
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy

What are the benefits?

Our goal is for you to experience the following benefits after having this surgery:

  • Foot and toe pain relief
  • Permanent correction of the deformity
  • Ability to wear normal footwear

Why is surgery performed?

When hammer toe does not improve with conservative options and is causing significant pain, your physician may recommend the surgical procedure. Most commonly, hammer toe is caused by:

  • Wearing excessively tight shoes
  • Genetic structure abnormalities
  • Foot arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Poor circulation
  • Toe injuries