You had hammer toe surgery to straighten a curled toe. After your surgery, your toe may be stiff, red, and swollen. Depending on the type of surgery you had for your hammer toe, these symptoms can last for a few days to a week. They will slowly get better with time. After surgery, you will need to wear a special type of shoe to protect your toe and to keep it in the right position for 2 weeks. Your doctor will remove your stitches or sutures about 2 weeks after the surgery. If your doctor put a pin in place to keep your toe straight while it heals, it will be removed 3 weeks after surgery.


What to Expect After Hammertoe Surgery

Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover. Try to walk each day if you are able. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation. You may shower, unless your doctor tells you not to. Keep the bandage dry. You will probably need to take at least 1 to 4 weeks off work, depending on your job. It will be 3 to 6 weeks or longer before you can stand or walk for long periods.

Take pain medicines exactly as directed. If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

You will leave the hospital/surgery center with bandages holding your toe in the correct position. Your doctor will probably remove the bandages after several days. Do not touch the surgery area. Keep it dry. Do not soak your foot until your doctor says it is okay.

Follow RICE

For pain and swelling, put ice or a cold pack on your foot for 10 to 20 minutes each hour. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. Prop up your foot and leg on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down during the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments.

Brad Schaeffer, D.P.M.
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Dr. Brad Schaeffer is an expert in foot and ankle pain, treatment and surgery. Learn more about our doctor.