Hammertoe Surgery – Footsteps

Symptoms, Causes, and Corrective Surgery


Clawed toes, crooked toes, contracted toes, and mallet toes are all names for the foot ailment called hammertoes.

A healthy foot has straight flattened toes.

In comparison, a foot with hammertoes has toes that look pinched or crooked like bunions. Unfortunately, hammertoes are unsightly and can cause significant discomfort.

Hammertoe Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Protruding toe knuckles prone to corns
  • Toes that rub in your shoes  
  • A long toe that’s crowded
  • Bent toes that don’t fall flat on the ground 
  • A bunion that’s bending the second toe
  • Extra pain and pressure on the bottom of your toes or toe pads 

You most likely have hammertoes if you have any or all of those symptoms.

patient with hammertoe

Hammertoe Causes

Genetics can play a significant role in whether you develop the ailment, but there are also other causes.

A few causes of hammertoes include:

  • Shoes that are too tight or too short
  • Pointy high heels, flat feet, or high arches (which make your feet less stable)
  • Arthritis or injury to the foot that causes you to walk unnaturally
  • Bunions that push your 2nd toe out of place

Discomfort from hammertoes can start mild but eventually makes walking difficult as it worsens; some cases may require surgery.

What if I Already Have Hammertoes?

We suggest that you consult a podiatrist for a professional diagnosis. Footsteps LLC has state-of-the-art solutions to help relieve discomfort from hammertoes.

Our first recommendation is to wear shoes with a wider toe box. You can accommodate existing hammertoes and prevent others from developing. Secondly, we recommend shoes with adequate cushioning. Thirdly, if you already have hammertoes, use corn pads or cushions. These can help reduce rubbing and irritation on top of the bent toes or the bottom of the toe pads.

We also recommend providing support by adding supportive shoe inserts and orthotics inserts, which help foot muscles work together better and keep toes from bending.

Our last suggestion is to straighten out by keeping toes positioned naturally. Keeping the toe positioned straight will help reduce irritation from your toes rubbing in shoes. Try toe straighteners, toe caps, or toe loops.

Footsteps LLC has a variety of expertly selected shoes and health products to choose from that can help prevent and relieve discomfort from hammertoes. At Footsteps, we are your foot care experts. To learn more about this ailment and get expert solutions, book an appointment today with Dr. Formanek, DPM.

When to get Hammertoe Corrective Surgery?

If you are experiencing pain and difficulty walking due to hammertoe, consult your doctor to see if surgery is the best option.

Several surgical procedures can correct a hammertoe, depending on the severity of the deformity. For example, strategies may involve the removal of bone, rebalancing of tendon, or muscle. The surgeon may also insert pins, screws, or plates to hold the toe correctly. For traditional surgery, recovery time from hammertoe surgery consists of an immobilization (cam or a rigid soled shoe) period typically ranging from four to six weeks.

Not limited to traditional surgery, Dr. Formanek specializes in Minimally Invasive Surgery, a safe and effective procedure that can relieve the symptoms of hammertoe.

Surgery is sometimes necessary to correct the hammertoe.

Talk to your doctor about correcting your hammertoe

If you are looking for treatment in the Ascension or Baton Rouge Area, call us at

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Minimally Invasive Surgery and Traditional Surgery

There are two main types of hammertoe correction surgery: minimally invasive and traditional. Minimally invasive surgery is a newer, less invasive surgery that involves making a small portal in the toe. 

Traditional surgery is more invasive and involves making a larger incision in the toe.

The benefits involving Minimally Invasive Hammertoe Correction vs. Traditional Surgery include:

  • Earlier Return to Activities
  • Reduced Pain & Swelling 
  • No Scarring
  • Faster Return to Walking

Traditional Hammertoe Surgery

 The surgeon straightens the toe, and the incision is closed with stitches.

The recovery time for traditional hammertoe surgery varies depending on the surgery but generally ranges from two to four weeks. Physical therapy may be necessary following surgery to help regain strength and range of motion.

Minimally Invasive Hammertoe Surgery

There have been a lot of talks lately about minimally invasive surgery (MIS), and for a good reason.

As the name implies, MIS is a surgical approach that involves the use of minimal incisions. This surgery can result in several patient benefits, including faster recoveries, less pain, and improved cosmetic outcomes.

Minimally invasive hammertoe correction is a surgical procedure used to correct the position of the affected toe. During the surgery, a small portal is made in the skin to access and free soft tissues.

Furthermore, bone can be accessed for remodeling or cutting with a bur to realign the toe (deformity) as indicated.

The surgeon straightens the toe, and the portal closes in 2-3 days.

Are you a Candidate for MIS?

You and your doctor decide whether MIS is a good decision. A detailed physical examination and patient consideration involve the following factors;

    1. General information such as age, sex, ethnicity, body type, and profession.
    2. Lifestyle or functional status: Is the patient active or non-active? What are the activities of daily living? Does the patient require transportation and assistance?
    3. Work-type–do their essential functions require significant walking, standing, or climbing?
    4. Medical history
      • Diabetes?
      • Peripheral vascular disease?
      • Swelling of the legs?
      • Neuropathy
      • Unsteadiness?
      • Blood thinners
      • Cardiovascular disease?
      • Respiratory disease history of keloid formation?
      • Osteoporosis?
      • Arthritis?
      • History of back pain?
      • Are they slow healers?


With the advancements in medical technology, surgeons can perform procedures with reduced trauma and less invasive techniques. One such surgical procedure is the minimally invasive hammertoe correction. This procedure is a quick, outpatient surgery that results in a shorter recovery time.

If you are interested in MIS Hammertoe surgery or anything podiatry related, call our clinic at (225) 308-7579 today to get an appointment!

Hammertoe Gallery