Hammer Toes

Expected Outcome for Hammer Toe Surgery


To eliminate pain and allow footwear to fit with comfort.


The toe or toes are straighten by lengthening soft tissues (capsule, ligaments and tendons). In addition joints within the toe are either remodeled (arthroplasty) or fused (arthrodesis).

Toe arthroplasty – refers to removing a small amount of bone from one or more joints of a toe. Sometimes a pin (K wire) is used to maintain the toe in a straight position for 3 to 6 weeks. Toe arthrodesis – refers to removing only the cartilage within a joint and holding the two bones together with a pin so that they heal and become one bone after 6 weeks.


These procedures may be performed as Day Surgery. This may be in the Podiatrist’s office operating room or in a Hospital or a Day Surgery Centre.


A specialist Anaesthetist is used for the administration of anaesthesia and intravenous antibiotics to prevent infection. Intravenous sedation in combination with local anaesthetic block is used in the vast majority of hammer toe procedures. The advantage of this type of anaesthesia over general anaesthesia is that your recovery is usually more rapid. You will go off for a “light sleep” for most of the procedure. Often patients are partially aware of the last few minutes in the operating room. However as this type of anaesthesia has calming and amnesic effects, very few patients can recall any of this. You will be required to fast for 8 hours before the surgery and a responsible adult must accompany you home and be available for the first 24 hours after surgery.


A post operative shoe is provided and used for 3 weeks. The dressing is changed from 3 to 7 days after surgery. Sterile dressings are then dispensed with after a further 2 weeks. The foot is kept dry for 2 weeks after surgery. At this point in time a compression bandage is used for 4 to 8 weeks to control swelling and the patient is then asked to obtain a lace up sneaker which is a half to a full size larger than normal. The toe is splinted and the modified foot wear is used for 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Usually at 6 to 12 weeks after surgery normal foot wear can be used.