Tenotomy: Hammer Toe Surgery

Hammer toes are a condition that can cause pain and discomfort when walking. They can make footwear uncomfortable and cause other foot problems, like calluses. There are a variety of hammer toe treatments, and one of the most effective is surgery. One of the services we offer at McQuistan Chiropody is hammer toe surgery, also known as tenotomy.

Hammer toe surgery

A hammer toe is a condition that causes your toe to bend or curl downward instead of pointing forward. It can affect any toe on the foot, and can affect many toes at the same time. Sometimes a hammer toe is present at birth, but it is typically caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes. Tight, pointed shoes, high heels, or shoes that are too small are all common causes of hammer toes. They can also develop if a person suffers from arthritis in the foot.

Without proper hammer toe treatment, they can cause pain, discomfort, and an inability to wear certain types of footwear. They can also lead to the development of calluses. Hammer toe surgery is often recommended for patients who have a flexible deformity. Because it is safe and minimally invasive, it’s one of the best methods for hammer toe correction for many patients.

Tenotomy Procedure

With hammer toe surgery, the posture of the affected toes will be improved. The chance for developing hard, thickened skin around the joints is reduced and the patient will have less discomfort when walking or wearing shoes.

Tenotomy is minimally invasive. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area surrounding the hammer toe so the patient doesn’t feel anything during the procedure.  A small incision is made and the affected tendons are cut to allow the toe to point forward. The incision is closed with taping.

The foot is splinted and dressed after the surgery, which you should keep on for a few days to keep the toes in the right position while they are healing. We’ll show you how to split and re-dress your toes for the following weeks as well.

Hammer Toe Surgery Recovery

After the local anesthetic wears off, the surgical area will be tender for 1-2 weeks. Over-the-counter pain medication is typically sufficient to alleviate the pain. You’re able to do every day activities, including returning to work, although we typically recommend that you reduce your strenuous activity for the first week.

Most patients’ hammer toe surgery recovery time is 3-4 weeks, although some patients may take longer depending on their unique conditions. There will always be a follow-up appointment 1 week after surgery to ensure the incision is healing well and it was successful.

While you’re recovering, your footwear needs to be comfortable and not too tight. Avoid high heels or pointed shoes. Shoes or slippers that are wider in the toe may be necessary while you recover.

After hammer toe surgery, there is a small chance that the hammer toes can redevelop. However, if the underlying muscle imbalance and biomechanical instability is addressed, they will not return. This varies from patient to patient, and we’re happy to discuss all your options during your visit.


If you are looking at hammer toe treatment options, hammer toe surgery can often be the most effective. Contact us today to book a consultation and get on the road to hammer toe correction!