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Hammertoe Surgery Recovery: Process, Time And Cost


Jun 26, 2015
Hammertoe Surgery Recovery: Process, Time And Cost

Hammertoe surgery costs will depend upon your health insurance policy. Your health insurance may cover the entire surgery, or only a portion of the cost.

Hammer toe is a deformity of the foot. It usually affects your second toe, but it can also affect the others. In hammer toe, your toe bends sharply at the middle joint, pulling it into a claw-like shape. When it first develops, your hammer toe will have some flexibility, but it will become more rigid without treatment. Over time you will develop corns on the top of your toe and a callous on your sole, which can make walking for any distance painful and difficult.

What Is Hammer Toe?

If one or more of your toes is deformed in such a way that the end of it is bent down, resembling a claw, you are likely suffering from hammer toe. This condition usually affects the second toe on your foot, but any toe can be affected. In very rare cases, every toe on your foot can be affected – but this is the result of a spinal cord or nerve issue.


Surgery is the treatment of last resort for hammer toe. If corrective shoes, splints and exercises have failed to treat the problem, your doctor might suggest surgery. The procedure can usually be performed on an outpatient basis. The type of surgery you receive depends on how many toes are affected and the severity of the deformity. For mild cases, your surgeon can shift one of the tendons in your toes. For more severe cases, your surgeon could need to cut tendons or fuse joints into position.

The Recovery Process

The recovery of the surgery involves a few stages. Post surgery, the person will experience swelling and pain in the operated area. The overall recovery time could span anywhere around a few months to a year.

  • Swelling and Pain

As mentioned earlier, post surgery recovery will involve varying degrees of pain and swelling. Pain killers will be prescribed for the same. To help further, the foot needs to be kept elevated so that the swelling subsides. The foot may need to be kept elevated for a few weeks after the surgery.

  • Crutches and Bandages

Post a hammertoe surgery, special dressings will be applied to the area which will be required to be worn for a couple of months during the recovery time.

  • Splint

In case soft tissues were shifted during the surgery, then a splint will be given in order to limit foot movement. In such a case, the majority of healing will take place within the first few weeks.

  • Footwear

It is important to wear the right kind of footwear, especially after the surgery. Most often, specialized surgical shoes or boots, which are soft-soled and comfortable, will be provided. These will aid in walking. These have to be worn for a few months post surgery. The doctor may also advice against the use of narrow and high-heeled shoes. The doctors may also ask the patient to wear a cast, depending on the condition of the foot.

  • Exercises

The orthopedic surgeon will also prescribe some specialized exercises to increase flexibility and help in faster recovery. He may also advice the patient to keep moving the toe such that it provides a stretch and leads to an increase in the range of motion and flexibility.

Recovery Time

Recovery from hammertoe surgery generally takes about 6-8 weeks. Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you keep your foot elevated above your heart level as much as possible as swelling is very common with any foot surgery. Swelling is usually the limiting factor when returning to closed toe shoes.

You will have to wear a special shoe or boot after surgery to help you walk, and if other procedures are performed at the same time then crutches may be necessary as well. If surgery is for your right foot, you will not be able to drive until your foot has recovered.


While recovering from hammer toe surgery, you can do things to help ensure that the surgery is a success. Wearing shoes that fit properly and have large toe boxes that give your toes room to flex and bend can help. Your doctor can also show you exercises for your toes that will help maintain flexibility. You should wait to perform these exercises until your sutures have been removed and the pain from the surgery has faded. This usually occurs about three weeks into your recovery period.


Hammertoe surgery costs will depend upon your health insurance policy. Your health insurance may cover the entire surgery, or only a portion of the cost. Your insurance carrier and the type of plan you have will determine what is covered. At the Timonium Foot and Ankle Justify, we would be more than happy to check your benefits for you to let you know the entire cost up front.

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