Make a cut over the top of the
abnormal joint and remove part of the toe joint.
Straighten the toe
so the bones will fuse together.
Possibly put a wire or other
device through the joint to keep the toe straight. The wire will stick out of
your toe, so that it can be removed without another surgery.
the cut with stitches.
In about 10 to 14 days, your surgeon will take out the
stitches, and in 4 to 6 weeks, he or she will take out the wire. During this
time, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions for caring for your
The procedure may vary depending on which toe is abnormal and
how severe the abnormality is. Always talk to your doctor and surgeon about
what will happen during your procedure.
What to expect
You will be able to move around by
walking on your heel. Avoid putting weight on your toe, as the bones need time
to fuse together. Your toe will strengthen over the next few months. Talk to
your doctor about how active you can be during this period of time and when you
will be able to return to work or school.
You may have to wear a
special type of shoe or a walking cast during your recovery.
the surgery, you will not be able to bend the toe joint, and your toe may not
touch the ground. Most people think this is better than the pain and disability
caused by the toe joint problem. But it may cause slight instability or
imbalance when you walk.
How well it works
The success of surgery for hammer,
claw, or mallet toes has not been widely studied. The specific results and
risks vary depending on the type of surgery, your surgeon's experience, and how
severe your deformity is.
If you want surgery to improve the way your foot looks,
not necessarily to relieve pain, you may be less satisfied with the outcome.
Your bones may
not fuse together. If this happens, you may need another operation.
The wound or wire site may become infected. If this happens, you will
probably need antibiotics, and your surgeon may remove the wire earlier than
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.