To recover from hammertoe surgery, patients may need to use crutches or special shoes, keep their feet elevated at heart level and take care of the stitches, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Stretching and exercising the toes helps keep the toes flexible and increases strength.
Patients may not be able to drive or resume sports and strenuous exercise until two to three months after the surgery, claims New York Bone and Joint Specialists. Driving may not be an option for patients who undergo hammertoe surgery on their right foot, notes AOFAS. Although patients can go home the same day of the surgery, the recovery period may take up to a month or more, depending on the severity of the hammertoe and the type of surgery that was performed. Tendon surgery can be done on hammertoes that are still movable, whereas stiffened hammertoes require cutting or fusing the ligaments and tendons.
Hammertoes can be treated using methods other than surgery, including pain medication, stretches and special orthotic products, but surgery is often required for patients with severe hammertoes, asserts New York Bone and Joint Specialists. Hammertoes are caused by injury to the feet, strokes, spinal cord injuries or nerve damage, age, and wearing ill-fitting shoes.