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A Hammertoe is a deformity of the foot causing an abnormal bend in the joints of a toe, normally the 2nd, 3rd or 4th toe.  This abnormality is caused by changes to the muscles, tendons & ligaments that are responsible for holding the toe straight.



Changes to these tissues can be caused by:

  • Footwear: People who wear footwear that is too narrow around the toes or wear high heels are at a much higher risk of developing a Hammertoe deformity.
  • Congenital deformities: Persons with a pre-existing deformity or conditions of the foot are more predisposed to developing hammertoe deformities.
  • Diseases & Medical conditions: Certain diseases & medical conditions can cause changes to the tissues & bones in the foot leading to hammertoe e.g. arthritis, stroke etc.
  • Trauma: Injury to the structures of the foot and the soft tissues may cause the deformity to develop. Proper treatment & follow up for foot injuries will help prevent this.



Treatment for Hammertoe includes wearing more comfortable & better fitting flat footwear or certain exercises.  If these conservative management options do not work, surgery may be considered. Surgical treatments for hammertoe will straighten the toe. You may have metal pins temporarily in your toe(s) to keep them straight after this surgery for a period of 6 weeks; these are removed as a day-case procedure.  You will normally be wearing a special surgical shoe for a period of time after the surgery.

The details & specific treatment plan will be discussed with you during your consultation.


After Your Surgery:

If you have surgery, you will have dressings on your foot after the surgery and your consultant will normally leave these in situ until you are reviewed in clinic after you are discharged.  Your consultant will explain this further either in clinic prior to, or on the ward after your surgery.

You should be able to put weight on your foot after your surgery. You will be shown how to use a frame +/- crutches while in hospital after your surgery but it is recommended that you plan for not being as mobile as you were prior to the surgery for the first few weeks during your recovery.

Please speak to your consultant regarding any specific questions or queries you have about this surgery and the rehabilitation afterwards.

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Prof. Robert Flavin

Prof. Robert Flavin


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