Hammer Toe Correction
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Hammer Toe Correction Overview

Written by FoundHealth.


A hammer toe correction is done to correct a foot deformity called a hammer toe .

Hammer toe
Hammer toe
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will likely do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • X-rays of joint

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

The day of the procedure:

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
  • Arrange for help at home after the procedure.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to remove.


Local anesthesia is often used. It will numb the area. Spinal anesthesia may also be used. This anesthesia will make your lower body numb.

Description of the Procedure

Several surgical options are available for hammer toe correction. Some corrections can be made with changes to soft tissue (eg, tendons); others need to be made to the bone.

Soft Tissue

This is usually best in patients under 30, with limited toe deformity. A cut is made in the skin and the tendon is released. Sometimes it is reattached to a different area of the bone. The changes in soft tissue will allow the toe to relax and eliminate the deformity.


Two common methods of hammer toe correction on the bones themselves are joint arthroplasty and joint fusion. The type of procedure used depends on how bad the deformity is. A combination of procedures may be needed. In both cases, a cut in the skin is made over the toe joint.

During an arthroplasty, part of the bones on both sides of the middle toe joint may be removed. This will allow the toe to uncurl.

During a fusion, the ends of the toe bones are removed. The bones are then repositioned. The repositioning is usually held together with a pin placed within the bone. The pin may be removed after 3-4 weeks. Other changes to the anatomy of the foot due to the hammer toe may also be corrected at this time.

In any method, the doctor may close the incision with stitches. Dressings will be applied to hold the toe(s) in proper position.

How Long Will It Take?

This depends on the procedure and the number of toes corrected.

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the surgery. Your doctor will give you medicine to manage pain after the surgery.

Post-procedure Care

  • During the first couple of days, keep your foot elevated most of the time.
  • Limit standing and walking, and stay off your foot as much as possible.
  • Use crutches or wear a special open-toed, wooden-soled shoe, as directed by your doctor .

The corrected toe may be slightly longer or shorter than before surgery. The toe will not move as much as a normal toe. Expect some swelling and redness, which may persist for several months. Your dressing may need to be adjusted as swelling decreases. If it appears that the deformity may recur, your doctor may choose to continue with dressings for another 2-4 weeks.

Select shoes with plenty of space for your toes. Poorly fitting shoes contribute to hammer toe development.



American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine


Calgary Foot Clinic

Nurses Entrepreneurial Foot Care Association of Canada

Podiatrists in Canada


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org .

Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 9th ed. Mosby-Year Book; 1998.

Murphy GA. Canale: Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 10th ed. Philadelphia; Mosby, Inc; 2003.



No one has made any comments yet. Be the first!

Your Comment