Hammertoe Surgery

Of the many foot and ankle conditions we treat at JAWSpodiatry, hammertoe can be one of the most painful and cause the most problems. Fortunately, hammertoe is almost always treatable. Sometimes it can be treated by changing footwear, using protective padding, and reducing calluses. Often, however, truly resolving the problem requires surgery.


We understand that no one wants to have surgery, and we’ll explore less-invasive treatment options first. But if hammertoe surgery is the best or only option, it is important for patients to understand what to expect from the procedure.

What is Hammertoes?

Hammertoes and their related deformities are unsightly contractures of the joints of the lesser toes (all toes except the big toe). The second toe is the most frequently affected. It is usually caused by muscle and ligament imbalance and typically worsens over time, as it puts ever-increasing pressure on the tendons and joints. Excessive hammertoe contractures also cause severe pressure on the plantar aspect of the ball of the foot, causing additional complications and pain.

There are two types of hammertoe:

  • Flexible hammertoes are in the developmental stage and the affected toes can still be moved at the joint.
  • Rigid hammertoes are a more serious condition, as the tendons have tightened to an extreme degree and the joints become misaligned and immobile.

When is Surgery Required?

As noted, conservative and non-invasive hammertoe treatments are sometimes an option. But if your foot is severely deformed, or when alternative options don’t work and your daily life is hindered by pain, discomfort, and the inability to engage in routine activities, surgery may be the best way to proceed.

The Procedure

Most hammertoe surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, so patients can go home and recover the same day. Local anesthesia is most often used, though general anesthesia can be used as well. Either way, you should not feel pain during the procedure, though you may feel some pulling or pressure if you are administered a local anesthetic. Because of the use of anesthesia, and so your foot can begin the healing process, we advise arranging for a ride home after your procedure.

The surgery itself may involve the doctor removing part of the bone in the toe and aligning the toe joint. Other techniques include releasing a tendon that is too short, transferring a tendon to another location, or inserting a steel pin into the impacted area.


After the surgery, you will need to avoid putting pressure or weight on the foot for several weeks, so you may need to use a cane or crutches. Staying off the affected foot may also mean you won’t be able to drive for a bit. If the surgery involved any pins or stitches, you will head back to the doctor a few weeks after the operation to have them removed.

Of course, it is also extremely important that you follow any specific post-surgery instructions your doctor provides.

Call the Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists at JAWS podiatry Today

Hammertoe surgery is just one of the many podiatric surgical and non-surgical procedures we perform at JAWSpodiatry. Our foot and ankle specialists will explore all possible alternatives to see if a non-surgical solution can address your problem. But if we do recommend surgery, our experienced podiatrist will perform your procedure with the utmost care and precision, using the most advanced technology and methods.  Please call us today at (954) 922-7333 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.