Hammertoe Surgery - my experience and some helpful tips

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I had Hammertoe surgery 4 weeks ago on both feet, 6 toes in total and I thought I would share my experience as I had so many questions and needed more information and "googled" obsessively to find out more - so here is my experience.

Surgery Day

I arrived at the hospital and was quickly shown to my bed then found out to my complete surprise that the operation was to be undertaken using an Epidural - I had been under the impression it would general anesthetic but no.... 

So the Epidural was uncomfortable but not painful and I was given something which completely chilled me out - I mean in a big way!

I had the surgery was awake the whole time, could hear what was going on but I was that relaxed it didn't matter.

Once the hospital were happy I had normal feeling they said I could go home - another suprise given I had been under the impression that I would be in over night....... it took about 8 hours for the feeling to return.

Now the walking on the feet hurt, seriously not good but the physio was sure that I wouldn't need any walking aids - however I would strongly suggest you get a walking stick or better still crutches for use when you get home.

Days 2-5 - I literally lied in bed all the time only moved to go to the toilet and never came downstairs.

Day 6 - I felt comfortable enough to spend some time in the lounge with the family

Day 7 Onwards - I was pottering around however please be mindful that if you over do it your feet will hurt and elevation is the only cure along with a few paracetmols and Ibruprofen.

Then I improved - we loaned a wheelchair from British Red Cross for a small donation (I gave them £20 for the month)..... I could at least go for a spin around the estate and managed to go out to the pub for lunch occasionally.

I have a seat in my shower so that I can independantly take a shower - I just cover my feet in carrier bags and make sure they are sticking out away from the water.

Cover up your toes if it is winter - something like the ends from a pair of welly socks keeps them warm and also stops people looking at your pins :-) My friend made me some little toe hats which look like babies hats for the ends of my feet and my velcro shoes held them in place.

Week 2 - stiches removed, now this did not hurt but for two days following my toes were sore.... extra laying down required.

After 3 weeks - with the aid of my crutches I managed to take my little girl to school.

Week 4 - Pins removal..... Absolutely does not hurt - it is a wierd kinda sliding feeling all in all less than 10 minutes to undress my feet then remove the pins and clean my toes.... I was nervous but it was really a doddle.... Today is the day after the pins came out and I am a little tender and my feet are freezing so they are now wrapped in some big fluffy socks.

Epsom Salts ordered ready for Thursday so I can have a long soak in the bath (48 hours post pin removal)

Friday I aim to try driving shoes permitting and also going for a little swim!

My feet are too swolen for normal shoes at the moment so I have tried walking bare foot and I can although it feels odd after walking on my heels for 4 weeks.

I have invested in a pair of new balance trainers which are half a size too big ready for some serious walking.

Top tips;

Manage your pain - don't let it get on top of you in the early days

Cover your toes with little "hats" they will get cold if the weather is cold

Have some walking aids at home - they will help in the early days

Consider hiring a wheelchair if you want to go out - 4 weeks in the house is a long time.......

Wear the shoes the hospital gives you - they will aid recovery and ensure you don't damage any healing...

Prepare for a long drawn out wait..... consider working from home if you can (I had one day off for this entire process)

Feet up as much as  you can

Comfy clothing is a must!

In conclusion - it was sooooo worth it my feet look fabulous albiet swollen at the moment and I am looking forward to walking in shoes pain free! :-)


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295 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Marie,

    How nice to hear your story, i was shocked to hear that you were not given crutches initially although having said that i  have only  used them if i go out  and only done that once so far. i am  day 9 post op today and not doing too bad really.

    We live in a bungalow so that is a bonus not having stairs to climb. i had a GA and was home same day but i only had 1 foot operated on (metatarsal osteotomy and pip fusion which i gather is hammer toe  surgery. ) the first few days were  painful  but i  did rest with foot elevated  most of the time.  i am still waiting for an appointment for suture removal and  to have pin out .

    I was relieved to hear that it does not hurt as i am really dreading it, so thank you for that.  I have no idea what my foot likes at the moment as its still bandaged and not even had wound check. did you get a wound check before suture removal.

    My main concern at the moment is will i be able to walk without pain when  i stop using this heel wedge shoe? i feel that my big toe and 2nd toe  have been put in plaster as it feels hard under the bandaging and very stiff.  if by mistake i accidently put my foot down too quick i get an awful pain across the front of my foot  .  I have not managed a shower as yet  just stripped down wash, as my shower is over the bath and i cant climb in the bath  using 1 foot alone.

    I am hoping that i will  be able to very soon thou.  i am managing to potter around the house and prepare  meals ready for hubby to cook and not found it a problem.

    I would be interested to hear of your progress  and hope it is successful .

    Thank you for sharing your information

    Kind regards


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  • Posted

    All sounds like it is going really well. I had hammertoe correction in October at the same time as bunions removed. Bunions done on both feet and 2 nd toe on one foot had hammertoe correction. Have a permanent pin in it. Was given special shoes and crutches. Had no issue with hammertoe for the first few weeks but now it is 'floating' and will not settle down. I am sure that it is more raised than it was a few weeks ago as it now seems to be catching on shoes which I have been wearing since came out of special shoes. How are your toes? Have they settled? What about any one else? Has anyone had to have revision surgery? 
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    • Posted

      Hi Karen, I also had hammertoe op on 2 toes and had wires removed but 1 toe is apparentle a "failed union" and is giving me alot of pain but also floating upwards as you mention and rubbing on my footwear. What options have they given you for this as I am due to go back nect month to see the consultant.

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  • Posted

    Janet - the wounds were not checked so to speak, but the banages were removed when the stitches were removed so I am guessing the nurse checked them then - they were immedaitely rebandaged so I never really saw them - it is weird seeing my toes again!

    With regards to walking without the shoes - yes it feels odd I can feel every imperfection in the floor even though we have carpets throughout.... very senstive! Fingers crossed all goes well for you and please don't worry about the pin removal there really was nothing to it :-) 

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  • Posted


    Not had time enough to see if they have settled they just look fat at the moment :-) but I am working on the swelling!

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  • Posted

    Hi, wow, how brave are you to have them both done at the same time! The advice to rest is so relevant and from experience, I wish I had done that more.

    I had a bunion which was pushing my toe across at a 45 degree angle removed and three pins inserted in my foot on 12th December, I had a local anaesthetic and no sedatives.........I was given crutches but the following day we drove three hours to parents for a week, back from there for a dressing change and staff festivities, packed our house for furniture collection, all whilst on crutches, had that collected on the 19th and then back to parents for Xmas then flew to Spain on the 27th and had furniture delivered to us here on the 29th. So, no wonder I am now suffering from sciatica! There is still a level of swelling although I am, for the most part in normal boots and shoes although unable to wear the orthotics comfortably for any length of time. My question.......has anyone else suffered with sciatica or back pain following this type of surgery, my Podiactric Surgeon said people often suffer with a bad back following bunion surgery because of course, you walk differently.  I was due to have the second bunion removed at the end of March but have deferred it to September when I have less commitments and I will have a sedative also. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Marie. I also need 6 toes done 3 on each foot, and I'm deathly afraid to get this surgery done. You make it sound bare able. I have 2 small children whom I have to attend to and take to school and while my husbands at work I am in charge of doing everything else. Grocery shopping, walking the girls to school, running errands, etc. You know housewife duties. I don't think I can go through with this surgery even though it is badly needed. Besides the pain I always wanted to walk barefoot on a beach, wear sandles and open toe high heels but was way to embarrassed to show my feet. My husband didn't even see my feet until maybe 4 years of marriage because I would ALWAYS wear socks in shame. Your story not only makes me feel better about doing this surgery but also helps me to know that I am not alone! You my dear are one tough cookie! To get both feet done at the same time and also to speak so openly about something i consider to be highly embarrassing is beyond amazing. I commend you for writing about your experience. Thank you ever so much Marie! My feet make me feel ugly and I no longer want to feel this way! I will be going to a pediatrist for a consultation. Thank you again for helping me to get the strength to finally after 20 years to get this surgery done.
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  • Posted

    I know this post is a year old but I've just had a pin put through my toe and I can't feel my toe is that normal?

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    • Posted

      hi, when was it in and what do you do to protect it?  I have a wire in my toe, hammertoe, my bandage will be off soon, but not sure what can I do to keep it safe, it must stay in for two more weeks. ty
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    • Posted

      My pin just came out last Wednesday. I am still on a knee roller. My incision also was made on the bottom of my foot about 3 inches long. How long will it take to heal. It hurts still to lay my foot on the floor. Blisters and swelling. End of week 7 on the knee roller. ???
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  • Posted

    Hi marrie, I have a wire sticking from my toe.  Any suggestions as to what I can do to keep if safe would be welcome.
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