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Hammertoe Surgery:

Toe Straightening and Corn Removal

A hammertoe is an arched or flexed toe at the first joint (closest knuckle to the foot), the result of an abnormal contraction or bending that leaves the toe in a claw-like position. Once stiffened into position, a hammertoe can rub against shoes and cause painful corns and calluses. A hammer toe as well as other toe deformities like a crossover toe or floating toe are usually caused by muscle imbalances and aggravated by poorly fitted shoes.


Pain ranges from dull to sharp depending upon the level of irritation and compression of the nerves in the toes.


Surgical techniques have advanced to avoid metal pins and long healing periods.  Patients leave the surgery center the same day, have the sutures removed at 2 weeks and back in loose shoes shortly thereafter.

Hammertoe-Crooked toe

4 weeks after surgery


A hammer toe, claw toe, or mallet toe, are all genetically passed down, but the structures involved in the foot and biomechanics influences are many.


Once the closest bone closest to the foot (proximal phalanx) is pulled upward by the tendons on top of the foot and then remaining part of the toe (intermediate and distal phalanx) pulled downward by the tendons on the bottom of the foot, the mechanical advantage keeps the toe in that position. In that position, the top of the joint can rub on shoes to create the callus or quintessential "corn".


Custom molded orthotics can help the toe gripping portion of the hammer toe during standing and walking, but surgery is ultimately required to fix this problem.



TREATMENT   - Conservative Care



Arch Support:

A larger, softer shoe can relieve the direct or indirect pressure. Make sure that the shoe has enough room at the end about the width of your thumb and that the toe box (front of the shoe) is high enough to allow your toes to move freely.


There are an array of over the counter pads that can be placed between the toes or behind the painful nail edge to relieve pain


Temporary arch supports or custom molded orthotics can give support and minimize the gripping or clawing effect of toes from a flattening archway. These devices are good solution for long term treatment with or without surgical intervention.


In an out patient surgery center or the clinic under sedation and local anesthesia, the procedure (Toe straightening, toe shortening, toe lengthening, floating toe correction, claw toe correction, etc.) may or may not require an internal pin. Occasionally an additional procedure may be necessary (eg. spur removal), but the time in the operating room is usually 20 minutes per toe. If indicated, the skin lesion or corn is removed during the procedure or it will naturally fall off 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery.


The incision is minimal (0.5cm to 1.5cm) and sutures are removed at 2 weeks. Weight bearing in a post operative shoe or open toe sandal is allowed after 48 to 72 hours of rest and elevation. Sports, exercise, and different types of shoes (dress, work, running, etc.) can be worn as soon as 3 weeks depending upon patient preference, swelling, incision sensitivity.



CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT  This material contains graphic content, minors please obtain parental consent before viewing.


The video below details a hammer toe correction surgery performed by Dr. Moore using the TenFUSE™ PIP allograft implant system for orthopedics and podiatrists from Solana Surgical, LLC to fixate a digit and maintain a cosmetic position.


The TenFUSE PIP allograft is derived from 100% solid human cortical bone (not crushed). It is also partially demineralized for osteoconductivity and osteoinductivity (to maintain inductive and conductive properties).


Fusion surgery is the preferred procedure to relieve pain and correct foot and ankle, alignment issues in patients with arthritis, as well as small joint fractures and bunions. The TenFUSE PIP System is available in numerous sizes for specific surgical needs. This pre-sterilized, single use system is one of many existing and future products developed by Solana that do not require hospital sterilization.




Hammer toe surgery repair using the PHALINX® system by Wright Medical, how it works and toe straightening surgery


Wright Medical Technology Logo imageThe Wright Medical PHALINX® Hammertoe surgery repair system provides a simple and effective method for hammertoe correction. The implants are manufactured out of implant grade titanium and available in four sizes. The PHALINX® Hammertoe System is designed for small bone fusion and fractures, inter-digital fusion of the toes.



Talk to an expert

Our doctors have extended specialist medical training focused on the foot, ankle and lower leg.


We are board certified surgeons and experts in delivering care for complex foot and ankle disorders as well as cosmetic or reconstructive procedures and problems related to sports injuries and other medical conditions.

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