Hammer toe surgery can be highly effective in people for whom the primary or only issue is hammer toe.
But when an underlying condition such as rheumatoid arthritis causes a hammer toe, doctors may recommend treating that condition first.
Surgical options for hammer toe include:
A tendon transfer pulls the toe into the correct position and often works well for a flexible hammer toe. Tendons attach muscle to bone. During a tendon transfer, the surgeon pulls a tendon near the hammer toe across the top of the joint. This pulls the toe into a straighter position, compensating for muscle weaknesses and improving the toe’s appearance. It should also reduce pain.
Joint resection can help with a fixed hammer toe. For this surgery, a doctor cuts ligaments and tendons to help straighten the toe and may also remove a portion of the bone. To keep the toe in place, the surgeon may insert temporary pins. These pins can be removed a few weeks after the surgery.
A fusion procedure can reduce the severity of a fixed hammer toe. In this procedure, the surgeon removes portions of the joint to allow bones to grow together. This straightens the toe and can help reduce pain.
A surgeon will cut tendons and ligaments, as well as the ends of the bones. Then, the surgeon will use pins to help keep the joint in place. The pins remain in place to allow the bones to grow together and are removed after the joint has fused.