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Hammer toe repair - discharge

You had surgery to repair your hammer toe.

  • Your surgeon made an incision (cut) in your skin to expose your toe joint and bones.
  • Your surgeon then repaired your toe.
  • You may have a wire or pin holding your toe joint together.
  • You may have swelling in your foot after surgery.

Self-care at Home

Keep your leg propped up on 1 or 2 pillows for the first 2 - 3 days to decrease swelling. Get up only to use the bathroom. 

If it does not cause pain, you will be allowed to put weight on your foot 2 or 3 days after surgery. You can use crutches until the pain lessens. Make sure you put weight on your heel but not on your toes. 

Most patients wear a shoe with a wooden sole for about 4 weeks. After that, your doctor may advise you to wear a wide, deep, soft shoe for up to 4 - 6 weeks. Follow your doctor’s instructions. 

You will have a bandage on your foot that will be changed about 2 weeks after surgery, when your stitches are removed.

  • You will have a new bandage for another 2 - 4 weeks.
  • Make sure to keep the bandage clean and dry.Take sponge baths or cover your foot with a plastic bag when you take showers. Make sure water cannot leak into the bag. 

If you have a wire (Kirschner or K-wire) or pin, it:

  • Will stay in place for 2 - 3 weeks
  • Is usually not painful
  • Will be easily removed in your surgeon’s office 

To care for the wire:

  • Keep it clean and protected by wearing a sock and your orthopedic boot.
  • Once you can shower and get your foot wet, dry the wire well afterward. 

For pain, you can you can buy these pain medicines without a prescription:

  • Ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin)
  • Naproxen (such as Aleve or Naprosyn)
  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) 

If you use pain medicine:

  • Talk with your health care provider before using these medicines if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, or have had stomach ulcers or bleeding.
  • Do not take more than the amount recommended on the bottle.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your health care provider or surgeon if you:

  • Have bleeding from your wound
  • Increased swelling around the wound, wire, or pin
  • Pain that does not go away after you take pain medicine
  • Notice a bad smell or pus coming from the wound, wire, or pin
  • Have a fever 

Call 9-1-1 if you:

  • Have trouble breathing
  • Have an allergic reaction

Alternate Names

Osteotomy - hammer toe


Ishikawa SN, Murphy GA. Lesser toe abnormalities In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds.Campbell'sOperative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2007:chap 80.

Update Date 7/14/2012

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