Orthopaedic Surgeon Questions Orthopaedic Surgeon

Can hammer toes come back after surgery?

I have hammertoes and want to remove them. Can hammer toes come back after surgery?

12 Answers

Surgically correcting a hammertoe typically prevents it from returning.
It depends on what kind of hammertoe correction was done. In most cases, no they do not come back after surgery
It depends on the reason for the occurrence and the surgery performed as well as shoes you wear going foward
But yes it could definitely come back or you could get a poor outcome if not treated properly

Jan David Tepper DPM,FACFAS
CEO Family Foot & Ankle Center
984 West Foothill Boulevard, Suite B
Upland, California 91786
O 909-920-0884
F 909/920-9810
The possibility does exist but we try to select procedures depending on the position of the foot and the foot type to decrease the reoccurrence of the condition. Over my 20 years of practice, i've had one or two cases that had to be revised.
It is hard to give you a clear answer for your particular condition without seeing it. That said there are multiple ways to correct the hammertoe depending on the type of deformity that is present. There are open traditional surgical ways to correct the hammertoe which often times utilizes a screw or other implants to fuse the joints that are involved in a straight position. This is a tried and true method of doing surgery and the success rate is excellent. Another way of doing open surgery is just removing part of the bone and straightening the toe, this also works however it has a higher chance of recurrence with time and its a little less stable. There is a third way of doing surgery that is becoming more more popular now which is minimally invasive surgical techniques which is generally less painful and generally does not involve fusing joints and there is generally no internal hardware. Nobody can guarantee that there will be additional surgery needed, because there is just too many factors outside of the control of the physician, however having to do additional surgery is generally not something we have to do, with the exception of sometimes the hardware if it is a long screw may have to be removed but that is simple something it can be done in the office. Good luck.
Hammertoes can be treated conservatively and surgically. The surgical correction can include tendon, capsule realignment, and sometimes a fusion of the toe bones (phalanx). There is about 10 % of recurrence of hammertoes after surgery. There could be a higher recurrence rate if the underlying cause of the hammertoe is not addressed.

Some times and depends. So what it means is that it depends on the technique and severity of the hammertoe being addressed. If it is severe, the condition sometimes can return. Hardware is used most of the time as well. I would ask that you address your concern with the surgeon of your choice. In my office, we implement minimal invasive approach: surgery is done in the office, under only local anesthesia, no hardware, patient walk on the same day, and postop pain only needs tylenol or ibuprofen to addess.
Hammertoes form due to a muscle imbalance. If the muscle imbalance is not addressed, they can re occur. I recommend you schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon (podiatrist) for evaluation
Yes, and they frequently do. Hammer toe surgery is actually more difficult than it seems and outcomes are variable, even with surgeons with a great deal of experience
So long as the proper procedure is selected for the type of hammertoe you have, it is unlikely that the hammertoe will return after surgery. There are hammertoes which are flexible, semi-flexible, and rigid, and there are various causes for the hammertoes. For example, in a patient without a neurological problem or a serious lower extremity deformity causing the hammertoe, often a fusion of the joint is recommended. If a non-fusion type surgery is performed, this may lead to a return in the hammertoe, though it is often much smaller and less painful than the initial deformity.