Hammer Toe Correction
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hammer toe correction is surgery to straighten a hammer toe. This is when the middle joint of a toe is bent up and the outer joint is bent down.
Reasons for Procedure
This surgery is done on people who are not helped by other methods. It is also done when the toe is causing pain and problems walking.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
Description of the Procedure
A cut is made over the top of the toe. One of these common methods may be used:
The incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over it.
How Long Will It Take?
It depends on the method used and the number of toes corrected.
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first month. Some swelling may last a year. Medicine and home care can help.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It will take a few weeks for the toe to heal. Physical activity will be limited during recovery. You may need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work for a few weeks.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Podiatric Medical Association
DiPreta JA. Metatarsalgia, lesser toe deformities, and associated disorders of the forefoot. Med Clin North Am. 2014 Mar;98(2):233-251.
Hammer toe. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hammer-toe. Updated March 30, 2015. Accessed July 15, 2020.
Hammer toe. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated September 2012. Accessed July 15, 2020.
What is hammertoe surgery? AOFAS—American Academy of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.footcaremd.org/conditions-treatments/toes/hammertoe-surgery. Accessed July 15, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM