Hammer toe

A toe that bends can produce a painful hard lump on the top and result in shoe discomfort. Often there is a curved 2nd toe at the same time with a hallux valgus. The toe can then be above or below the big toe.


Relieving cushioned rings and soft protection between the toes can be first attempted before considering surgery. Insoles with a metatarsal pad, an elevation behind the front arch of the foot, can straighten the toe and reduce the bend. If the shoe discomfort is too pronounced, there may be grounds for surgery.

The toe is straightened out through surgery by a part of the bone being removed forming a false joint. Initially the toe becomes “limp” but soon stiffens. Sometimes it is better to perform an arthrodesis in the crooked joint. In order for the arthrodesis to heal, the toe is fixed with a metal pin for about 5 weeks. During this time you can not wear normal shoes. The pin is pulled out on your return visit after 5 weeks. This takes place at the clinic and is not painful. In both cases, full weight on the foot is allowed from the beginning.

The second toe is often out of joint in the case of a severe hammer toe misalignment. The extensor tendon must then be cut and sometimes the flexor tendon must be moved to the upper side of the toe, so that the toe moves into place in the joint and does not bend again.

Sick leave is about 5-6 weeks if a pin is used. You can expect the toe to be slightly shorter after the operation. Swelling may persist for several months, and the toe sometimes does not become fully narrow again.

The final result is usually good with a straight toe which does not cause shoe discomfort. If you have discomfort from a hallux valgus at the same time, both operations can be done at the same time.