Hammer Toe Surgery

Before Hammertoe Surgery

What are Hammer Toes and why do they develop?

A toe is described as ‘Hammered’ when it becomes permanently bent at the first joint. This is due to a muscle imbalance; the toe is normally straight due to the equal forces of the surrounding muscles and tendons, but when the muscles become weak the tendons can pull the toe out of shape.

What does a Hammer Toe look like?

A Hammer Toe is quite distinctive when compared to a toe with natural alignment. Though they can be more or less severely bent:

Treatment for Hammer Toe

Hammer Toes can cause a range of problems, including problems fitting into footwear and corns / callus that result from rubbing against footwear, which can cause painful symptoms. The pain and footwear issues can often be treated without surgery , though surgery can be used to correct the underlying issue.

When is Hammer Toe surgery recommended?

If the Hammer Toe symptoms do not resolve with more conservative measures then your specialist may recommend surgery to permanently resolve the issue.

What are the alternatives to Hammer Toe surgery?

Non-surgical treatment of Hammer Toes typically aims to address the symptoms rather than correct the bent toe. These might include:

  • Orthotics
  • NSAIDS – to manage painful episodes
  • Appropriate Footwear – which does not put undue pressure on the toe joints and has sufficient room in the toe box
  • Splints or cushioning

Can you straighten Hammer Toes without surgery?

It is possible to reverse the progression of Hammer Toes with conservative measures, such as splints, cushioning and exercises. However, if the toe becomes rigid or fixed in the hammered position, surgery is used to correct the alignment.

Types of Toe Surgery

An incision is made over the top of your toe. A small piece of bone will be removed and then sutured at the joint capsule between the bone ends. You should rest at home for two weeks following the procedure. You can return to work after two weeks postoperative. At six weeks postoperative you can continue with high impact activities, such as the gym or running. You should rest at home for two weeks following the procedure. You can return to work after two weeks postoperative. At six weeks postoperative you can continue with high impact activities, such as the gym or running.
An arthrodesis procedure is where the affected joint of the toe is removed and then the bones fused together into a corrected position. This fused joint will no longer move. An incision is made over the top of your toe. The affected joint is removed and then fused with the use of K-wires. The wires will protrude out the tip of your toe until they are removed at 4-6 weeks post operatively. We also use newer implants that allow an early return to shoes and do not require wires sticking out of the end of the toes in most cases. You should rest at home for the first three – four weeks following your procedure. You can return to work between three – four weeks postoperatively but need to use a postoperative shoe until the K-wires are removed. At five-six weeks the K-wires will be removed and you will be able to start wearing trainers. At six weeks following your procedure you can return to high impact activities, such as the gym and running.
The main benefit of carrying out toe correction fusion (Arthrodesis) with the use of a Nextradesis or Smart toe implant is the initial recovery. Typically when wires are used you will need to rest at home for a minimum of 4 weeks, with the use of implants you can instead return to work and closed shoes at two weeks following your procedure. An incision will be made at the top of the toe. The damaged joint is removed and the implant is inserted in its place. Following the procedure you should rest at home for two weeks. You can then return to work at two weeks postoperative. At six weeks postoperative you can return to high impact activities, such as the gym or running.

The Average cost of Hammer Toe surgery in the UK

We offer a simple fee generator to help illustrate the costs of Hammertoe correction. Please click the below button to launch the quote generator.

The price for Toe Surgery can vary, depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The number of toes that need correcting
  • Whether the procedure is for both feet or just one foot
  • Whether toe implants are used
  • If you are self funding or using private insurance; insurance providers often set the fees.
Our team will be able to provide a detailed breakdown of fees following your assessment.

Preparing for Hammer Toe surgery

Your foot specialist will advise on a specific toe procedure for your case. You will receive detailed information on the operation prior to the surgery.

There are several things to prepare beforehand. Some important considerations are:

  • Let your family and friends know what is happening. This way you will benefit from support such as, checking in on you, helping perform certain tasks that might be hard and keeping you engaged and entertained.
  • Prepare your house so that things you will need often are close at hand. This will reduce any need to move frequently. It is often a sensible decision to move your bed to the ground floor.
  • Stock up on supplies, such as food and other necessities. This will decrease how often you will need to leave the house.

Hammer Toe surgery before and after

Follow the below link to our gallery to see images of Before and After Hammer Toe Surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect after Hammer Toe surgery

You will normally return home on the same day, following the procedure. You will be given instructions on looking after the surgery site and what to expect while recovering. You will be reviewed at important points in time in the subsequent weeks to make sure everything is as expected.

Hammer Toe surgery recovery tips

One of the most important tips for a fast and problem-free recovery is to follow the PRIE regime:

  • Protect – you will be advised on how to protect the area while recovering from surgery
  • Rest – you will require considerable rest following surgery to allow the area to heal. There will be a very gradual return to activity
  • Ice – Icing the area can help with pain and swelling
  • Elevate – this will also help with swelling and pain and promote recovery

Recovery time after Hammer Toe surgery

A good rule of thumb is that you will return to normal activity over a period of approximately 8 weeks, though it may take longer for the swelling to fully subside. Your surgeon will provide more detailed information on what to expect from you recovery.

What causes a hammertoe deformity?

Hammertoe deformities can occur when the body tissues that hold a toe in place become unbalanced. The type of shoes you wear, injury, predisposition and certain diseases can contribute or cause hammertoes.

What’s the difference between claw toes and hammertoes?

Both the hammer and claw toes can cause pain and irritation. Claw toes are more likely to affect several toes and all of the joints of the toes are affected causing the toe to contract like a claw. A podiatrist can help you diagnose the precise deformity that you are experiencing.

What’s the difference between mallet toes and hammertoes?

Mallet toes and Hammertoes can often cause similar symptoms, including irritation, discomfort and pain. But they are distinct deformities, a hammertoe affects the middle toe joint whereas a mallet toe affects the upper toe joint nearest to the toenail

How long does it take to recover from hammertoe surgery?

A typical recovery following hammertoe surgery will take place over approximately 8 weeks, with noticeable improvement and return to activity during that time. Initial healing of skin and soft tissue is during the first 10-14 days.

Can you walk after hammertoe surgery?

You can partially mobilize using a postoperative shoe and possibly need crutches but it is important for your recovery to get plenty of rest and keep your foot elevated.

Can you straighten a hammertoe without surgery?

The short answer is unfortunately No. It is possible to slow the progression of the deformity and alleviate symptoms with conservative measures, but surgery is the only way to return the toe to its natural alignment.

Is hammer toe surgery painful?

Hammertoe surgery is carried out under anesthetic, and depending on your particular case this might be local or general anesthetic or sedation. You would not feel pain during the surgery and pain relief can be used during the recovery period.

Do hammer toes get worse with age?

It is certainly possible for a Hammertoe to get worse over time, particularly if you suffer some kind of trauma or wear shoes that aggravate the condition.

How do you treat a mild hammer toe?

There are several treatments available to you, and if the hammer toe is mild it is unlikely that surgery would be recommended. Conservative treatments might include padding, avoiding the use of high heels, pain-relief or steroid injections, among others.

Can you reverse the hammer toe?

Surgery can return a hammered toe to it’s naturally alignment.

How much does hammer toe surgery cost in the UK?

Pricing for Hammertoe surgery will vary depending on factors such as the type of surgery, where it is carried out and how many toes are affected. There is a quote builder available on this page for more detailed information on pricing.