Surgeons perform toe fusion surgeries for hammer, claw or mallet toes, explains WebMD. The procedure also relieves pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The surgery immobilizes the toe by removing part of the joint and using metal plates and screws for stability, according to American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Considered a salvage operation, doctors typically recommend toe fusion surgery to improve stability for severe deformity caused by a bunion, according to Podiatry Today. For active patients, doctors may not consider age in their recommendations to waive toe fusion surgery. Some patients may experience reactions to the hardware, including swelling, numbness and mild infections.