After a hammertoe surgery, patients may receive special footwear to help them walk, and they must elevate the foot above the heart for the first several weeks of recovery, as stated by the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. The area may be swollen for up to one year.
Patients may need to use crutches or a walker following surgery, and they may be unable to drive a car for several weeks if the procedure was done on the right foot, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. They might also need to perform at-home exercises to stretch the toe for increased flexibility. Stitches and pins are normally removed two to three weeks after surgery, and patients cannot submerse the foot in water until this time.
The toe may feel unstable after surgery due to the cutting of the ligaments and tendons, and there is a small risk of bones failing to heal properly, notes the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Depending on the type of surgery, patients may be unable to bend the toe following the operation. Other complications relate to surgery in general and may include blood clots, nerve damage, infection and bleeding. It is possible for a hammertoe to come back after surgery, leading to pain in the toe and requiring an additional surgery.