A hammer toe is a toe that stays in a curled or flexed position.
This can occur in more than one toe.
This condition is caused by:
Several kinds of surgery can repair hammer toe. Your bone or foot doctor will recommend the kind that will work best for you. Some of the surgeries include:
After surgery, surgical pins or a wire (Kirschner, or K-wire) are used to hold the toe bones in place while your toe heals. You will be asked to use a different shoe to walk to allow your toes to heal. The pins will be removed in a few weeks.
When hammer toe starts to develop, you may still be able to straighten your toe. Over time, your toe may get stuck in a bent position and you can no longer straighten it. When this happens, painful, hard corns (thick, callused skin) can build up on the top and bottom of your toe and rub against your shoe.
Hammer toe surgery is not done just to make your toe look better. Consider surgery if your hammer toe is stuck in a flexed position and is causing:
Surgery may not be advised if:
Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:
Risks of hammer toe surgery are:
Always tell your health care provider what medicines you are taking, even medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, or other medical conditions, your surgeon will ask you to see the provider who treats you for these conditions.
Most people go home the same day they have hammer toe surgery. Your provider will tell you how to take care of yourself at home after surgery.
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.