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Hammertoe Correction


A hammertoe is abnormal bending of your toe. The part of your toe attached to your foot bends up, and the tip bends down. Hammertoe correction is surgery to straighten your toe.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may need blood tests before your surgery. You may also need x-rays, a bone scan, or an MRI of the foot. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • Antibiotics may be given through your IV to prevent infection.


What will happen:

  • One or more incisions will be made in your toe where it attaches to your foot. The kind of surgery you have depends on how much your toe bends. Your surgeon may loosen tendons or ligaments that are causing the abnormal bending. Tendons are bands of tough tissue that connect muscle to bone. Ligaments are bands of tough tissue that connect bones. Your surgeon may move part of one tendon and connect it to a different one.
  • Some of the joint or bone tissue may be removed to straighten your toe. Your surgeon may place a wire, screws, or pins through your toe bones to keep your toe straight. He may remove the toe. The incision will be closed with stitches.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room or allowed to go home.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your hammertoe symptoms get worse.


  • You may have long-term pain, stiffness, swelling, or numbness in your toe. Your toe may be weak or not sit flat on the ground. A wire or screw placed during surgery may break or come out. You may develop an infection. Damaged blood vessels can lead to gangrene or loss of your toe.
  • The bend in your toe may get worse if you do not have surgery. Sores or calluses may form on your foot or toes over the bent areas. You may have pain and permanent problems walking.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.