Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anonymous asked:
I'm scheduled to have... Hammer toe surgery on both my feet and 4 toes (my second toe, which is longer than my big toe and my pinky toe). I was wondering how long it took for you to be able to wear heels and before your feet looked/felt normal. I'm excited and nervous. I'm sick of digging my toes into the sand, I want to wear sandals and feel confident.

Hi there!
At 5 months I still couldn't wear heels without a lot of pain. I still don't wear heels actually, more for the health of my feet, but I would say 8 months later I wore heels and felt comfortable in them. My doctor told me pinky toe surgery has a different healing process because in a shoe, your pinky is constantly being rubbed against, so maybe if you do a summer surgery you can wear flip flops or a sandal while healing. Since it would take so long to heel I decided not to get the pinky done.

My feet looked "normal" at about maybe 7 months after but it can take up to a year for swelling to go down I hear. My toes very swollen for a while (you'll know they still have swelling because they float haha! They don't touch the ground while swollen), but I kept my toes wrapped in bandages for like 6 months and then I gave up, I couldn't do it anymore! I believe my swelling went down considerably after about 9 months.

I started to feel somewhat back to normal as a person though at about 4 months, whenever I had stopped limping hard. Because the limp, since both feet are done, was really a very hard limp, I didn't expect that. In terms of normal feeling in my feet, my feet have never felt the way they did before, I mean I have sensitivity back but I can't bend my toes in the middle. I should upload a video to show what I mean, maybe I'll do that soon.

I just always say that unlike some cosmetic surgeries, there is work I had to actually do that I didn't expect, time consuming work like properly cleaning the wounds, wrapping the toes for MONTHS before going to work, toe exercises etc. It wasn't what I expected, I thought I would go in, have it done, rest and heal and get back to life. So back to normal is something that came at a very very slow pace for me, slower than I would have liked. I hope this helps, and if you've made up your mind already I would love to hear about your progress along the way! Some of the blogs helped keep me from losing my mind when I felt certain unexpected things while healing!


  1. You're great and so is your blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions in FULL detail. I will definitely keep you posted... Surgery is this Thursday!!

    That darn pinky toe! I really don't want to get it done, but this big corn on it is driving me crazy!! Being that I'm African American and am dark skinned the corn sticks out like a sore thumb. I have until Thursday 22 March 2011 to make my decision... Maybe I can get him to scrape it down... IDK. UGH decisions decisions!

    Oh, and please post the video. I'm aware of not being able to bend my toe. This is going to sound crazy, but all I can think about is "pretty feet". I HATE this long toe, but I'm glad GOD gave me all 10. Ugh and I hope people at work don't ask. LOL I made up a story about a freak accident I got in which is causing me to have surgery... Like you, my toes, my business... I really just don't want to talk about it.

    OK one more question (Sorry :)

    How long was it before you were able to drive?

  2. Wow, Thursday! I remember how I felt before surgery! But it was over so fast & after the initial shock I saw that each day my feet looked better and better (you might feel discouraged when you first see your bandaged toes, they might look like sausages and not short at all, trust me they shrink DRAMATICALLY). My feeling is, if you're going to have it done, may as well go for what you need than just go half way because either way, you have to recover. Sometimes I wish I did one more toe, but hey I'm not going back in! Just not sure how much it might affect balance in the long run. Can you talk to a patient who has had it done? Maybe your doctor can ask a patient to give you a call and discuss it with you. If he's confident in his work, he should say ok. Good idea to have a story made up and if they ask and you can't think of a lie on the fly, then say "I don't really wanna talk about it" haha It makes them stop asking. I don't drive (hides face), I never learned because I always takepublic transportation! I'm assuming if I was a driver, it would have been like 3 months after my surgery.

  3. Yeah, you're right! SO LONG CORN lol. My doctor said I would be able to drive after 10 days, which is great because I'm only off for 10 days. He said it would be OK because you don't need your toes to drive. And please don't be embarrassed about not driving, most of my family is in New York and they don't drive.

    I know you said you didn't wear heels until 8 months later, but is that 8 months after initial surgery? That question may sound confusing, so bear with me as I break it down... My Doc said it would be 2 months for the bones to heal. So does that 8 months include those 2 months of "healing" or is that 8 months after the 2 months which would be 10 months. Sorry, I hope you get it, I feel like I'm confusing myself and making it sound more difficult than it is.

  4. It was 8 months after initial surgery. I remember 4 months after putting on heels and going out. I could barely walk to my friends car. Then when we got to our estination, I had to sit immediately and stay seated the entire time. It was unbearable. Heels for me now are for special occasions. If I wear them just to look cute, which I've done at most twice, they have to be very comfortable and with a platform.

  5. That's probably because you can't bend your toe... Makes sense. All I have are platforms so that's OK with me. Thanks again!!

  6. **UPDATE** So it will be 2 weeks this week Thursday since I've had surgery. The first day was great... The second day I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I went ahead and got 4 toes done... I'm SOOOOOO happy with how everything has turned out thus far. I get my stitches take out Monday and I can't wait until I get into regular shoes.

    I'm finding it quite challenging to balance all of my weight on my heels, and because my doctor wrapped my bandage too tight on my left foot I've developed a bruise on my heel which makes it even harder. Aside from that, I'm looking forward to the healing and the before and after.

    I want to thank you again for your willingness to help and being so positive!! Can't wait to get in my high heels, and this time around I will take much better of my precious toes!!

    Oh yeah, I'm driving with no discomfort!

  7. I am thinking of doing the same thing after what do I have to loose. I was treated for hammer toes back in 1997. I did have the bill and discription what was done. I was told after that I would have to wear a larger size shoe. Had I'd be told that before the surgery for my hammertoes I would have not done it. But oh well. I wear a size 11 and half to a 12 wide. I will look around to have the surgery done and done and give my self 9 months to a year to's worth it to me. When I had the surgery done in tendons in my toes were removed. I can't bend my toes at all. I am glad I found this brought tears to my eyes that someone did something..and I am proud of all who had this surgery and is now happy. Thank you

  8. Hi there,

    Your blog seems to be really helping people its fantastic. I am a student journalist writing an article about people who have plastic surgery for medical reasons, like you. I would love to include a quote from you about why you chose to have the operation and how much it changed your life. My deadline is thursday so if you are happy to talk to me you could email me on, as I am based in London. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes

  9. A great toe stretcher/straightner that provides hammer toe and bunions treatmentis SmartToes. It's unique design with an extended base helps straighten and align your toes and feet, increasing your flexibility and bringing relief to sore and stressed out feet. Other solutions to get your feet feeling better fast include yoga toes stretching and foot exercises. The Achilles Tendon and calf muscle becomes tight from high heels, so it's important to actively perform stretches. Also, the nature of high heels causes the toes to buckle and contract.

  10. Try SmartToes Toe Stretchers, I tried a number of products for hammer toe relief, and this one is by far the most effective. SmartToes is great for hammer toe treatment and bunion treatment.

  11. Hi there

    This is the first time I am writing to you. Just wanted to ask I am 4 weeks post op- toe surgery. However, I am finding that the incision marks were made across three lesser toes on both feet. The marks look like a thin black line. I am massaging with bio oil as per my podiatrists advice. Is this common? Did you have that? I would like these marks to go away. Do you reckon it might be dry blood? Please share your experience if you can. Thanks.

  12. Rabia

    I had the same dark black line, only mine was very thick! It did go away. If I recall correctly, my doctor said the skin that protruded from my stitches would turn black and fall off. So I'm not sure if it's just blood or just skin or both. But it did go away. I didn't massage it with oil, it was too painful to touch.

  13. Hi Tootie,
    Great blog. I would like to ask you if you can explain what does it mean to bandage the toes to put them in right position, as you write that you used to bandage your toes. The problem is that after my surgery(bunion and hammertoes) my toes do not touch the floor( now it has been 7 weeks)and I was advised to put a splint or to bandage the toes. I do not know what splint is appropriate and I do not know how to bandages the toes to pull them down.

    Thank you,


  14. Hi Anonymous! To bandage my toes, I had to use self adhesive bandage, I'll post a link below so you could see what I mean. Your toes are still really swollen and I'm told the swelling could take a year, believe it, it's true. I had to wrap my toes with the bandage but not with a splint so not sure about splints. I don't know exactly how to bandage them to "pull them down" but if it were me, I am guessing I would wrap the toes together (tight, but not too tight) making sure the wrapping is constantly going under the toes as I wrap, and not over, so that I could secure the bandage to the big toe. I assume that would put tension on the toes pulling them down, since you're wrapping in the "under" direction and not "over" (because "over" seems to me like it would pull the toes "up").

    How long are you suppose to wrap your toes? I feel like if it's going to make a difference, you would have to wrap it for a long time. I wrapped mine for months, every single day. And I really wish I would have wrapped them longer than I did (one of my toes is starting to lean to the side. I call it the hitchhiker toe. Only time I regretted not getting pins).

    (,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=5d9c1fb0ec34abea&biw=1268&bih=601 ).

  15. Thank you,Tootie,
    This is the response I got online:

    IF the swelling is causing the toes to slightly contract, is your doctor doing anything to control the swelling? Is he doing anything to help reduce the contractures? If the toes begin to heal in the contracted position, there is a great chance they will remain that way. Therefore, in my opinion and experience it is extremely important that your doctor either bandages the toes in the correct position to prevent the contracture, or utilize a pre made splint (there are many available) to help maintain the toes in the correct position. You can't just 'watch' the toes remain contracted until the swelling resolves. You must be pro-active and try to reduce the swelling AND reduce the contractures. Similarly, if the large toe is beginning to lean toward the second toe, there are splints to wear at night to help the area 'scar' or heal in the correct position. These are all things that should be attempted prior to a second surgery IF the xray findings really do show that everything looks 'okay'.

    So that's why I ask.( My doctor is no longer available) I would like to talk to you, if it is possible, could you please email me at

  16. Hi, I have been reading your blog and have found comfort in it since I got my hammertoe and bunion surgery on both feet the first week of August. I am now 5 weeks on my left foot and 4 weeks on my right foot post op. It seems as if my second two curves to the side on both feet. Will that go away or is that how my toe will heal? I'm glad to know that at some point my toes will touch the floor, but they also seem spaced out. Did you have this experience? Will they come together in time? Also, my feet are discolored and the doctor said my skin will shed several different times. Did this happen to you? Will the skin on my foot be the same color?

  17. Hello tootie! Thank you so much for your blog! I've been reading it for quite a long time and i decided to actually have this operation done this year. Thank you so much for the encouragement! How long is it now since your surgery? Can you walk or run properly? Also I would so much appreciate it if you could or anyone out there could recommend a good doctor preferably in the uk... Thank you so much once more!I'm looking forward to your response!Take care!


  18. Hi! i will have my toes done in few weeks and my doctor said the most it will take to heal is 2 months. Why does yours take so long? and I am a huge sprinter/runner so I have to be able to run very soon like 2 months after the surgery. Please tell me if that will happen. Btw my toes are extremely long and i hate it. please answer!

  19. I had 3 toes on one foot and 2 on another. I had the bone/bump removed and my toes shortened so that it wouldn't reoccur. I'm not sure how much you are having done, but my surgery was extensive. In my experience, I have to tack on some time anytime a doctor gives me a healing period. They tend to give me a shorter amount of time than I've actually experienced. What are you having done?

    1. I'm having my 3 toes next to my big toe shortened on both feet at the same time. Also the doctor will put pins in and take it out after about 3 weeks. Did you have pins? and exactly after how long were you able to run? Thanks!

  20. My toes did curve in odd directions when I first got my surgery but they straightened out because I wrapped them for months. One of my toes does lean now a bit, my friends say they can't see it but I can. It's not so bad and definitely not as bad as when I first had surgery. . My toes settled considerably, before they barely touched the floor at all. And yes, my feet were discolored. They are normal looking now with the exception of my right foot which always looks red at the end of the day and is always a bit swollen. When I first had surgery my toes looked purple! Mine did get back to a semi normal state :)

  21. I personally couldn't think of running even 4 months later. Even wearing heels 4 months later was extremely painful to the point that I couldn't do it. I feel like you should ask your doctor and times whatever they say by 2 lol

  22. I now, after two surgery experiences (and I'd had half a dozen before this where I healed way ahead of time, just to give you perspective and know that I'm not just a slow healer all around) - Anyway, after two surgeries in the past three years, I say add a LOT of extra time onto what the doctor tells you it will take, and then if you heal sooner, celebrate! If not, at least you're prepared.

    I figured I'd take a couple/few days to put my feet up, ice them, rest, etc., then I'd be on my way. It wasn't until *after* that I was told I shouldn't drive for a month because wearing the boot made me an "impaired" driver and legally in any accident I could be blamed. Pshaw! So I didn't drive for a full month.

    I only had ONE hammertoe done, btw. So what you guys are all talking about is WAY more complex & challenging.

    I'm just writing so you have perspective from yet another surgery patient's experience. It took WAY longer to heal (I'm still healing - I'm 2 months post op today). I was told it would be simple, easy, no big deal; that I'd be back to good in no time. I was never told the extent of this healing. It's unbelievable, probably mostly becuase of gravity, pressure on your feet, and also the fact that toes are very little, so any swelling causes a bit of pain; the smallest amount of pressure from a shoe or anything causes pain.

    So anyway, I'm two months out. I just found out today that my second joint will never move again. It was fused, unbeknownst to me! Seriously, I *just* found out. And I go to the best doctor around that everyone raves about. I'm sure he did a good job, but come on, people! I had no idea this would happen, no idea I wouldn't drive for a month, no idea how long it would take to heal.

    I asked lots and lots of questions today, because obviously I have one of those doctors that tells you very little of the whole story; just paints a rosy picture. That's another reason this blog is so great. It tells you the good, the bad and the ugly. That's what we all need - reality!

    So I can expect (with one little hammertoe done, no shortening) to have a swollen toe for another 6-10 months, which causes some pain. It's not bad, but the farther into the day I get, the more pain. The more pain, the more I baby the toe and start walking on the side of my foot or my heel again, which I did completely for the first month or more. The more I walk differently, the more it makes my already bad back (2 discs removed 3 years ago, fused bones, and the surgery was an epic failure, unfortunately - that's the other surgery I had, just btw) - so the walking funny makes my back hurt more. I'm sure if you had bad knees or hips or ankles or whatever, the walking to favor one foot (or Heaven forbid, both of them like Tootie and some other posters!), causes other pain in your body.

    ~ To be continued ~

  23. My whole post wouldn't fit, so here's the rest:

    I can attest to the fact that my right foot has now been painful on the underside for two whole months. It feels bruised, and the joint where the toe joins the rest of the foot feels like I'm walking on a marble. Not a good feeling.

    However, that being said, two months out, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is getting far less painful to walk on. The marble feeling is diminishing. The bruised feeling on the bottom of my foot, especially the heel and ball of foot, is getting less and less. It's amazing how much you learn to appreciate some of these basics! :-) I'm walking faster. I still can't wear a variety of shoes (just the same two pairs of tennis shoes with large toe boxes - a total necessity post op, btw, in case any of you can shop ahead of time).

    So read a lot of these posts, ask a lot of questions, pin your doctor down on what exactly they're doing (pins or no? no driving after for how long? fusion? movement in *all* joints after surgery or no?), and then seriously add a bunch of time onto their estimate. Even if they're correct in their estimate and give you exactly the norm for what they're doing, something could go wrong, and you could be the 10%, 5%, even 1% that needs an extra few *months* to heal.

    Okay, long comment, I know. I just feel like it's so important that everyone know what they're getting into. I'm loving reading all the experiences everyone else has had/is having, and here and there something I read here is totally beneficial to me personally.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing.


  24. Val

    Thank you for your comments, what an awesome post! I agree, we should add a ton more to the time doctors suggest. And I should edit my post to include that the shoes you have to wear for months after are down right grotesque! Because they have to be extra extra wide. I see a common pattern with doctors not mentioning that toes won't move again and that makes me wonder if it's for marketing reasons...

  25. After healing from hammertoe surgery, can you walk normally since the toe no longer bends.

    Thank you.

  26. Help! Just like anonymous, my doctor did not tell me what method he was going to use beforehand! Today is 2 wks post-op and I have always worn heels. Today I find out that he used the smart toe implant and Im scared that I wont be able to wear heels again!

  27. I just found this site after many months of searching for realistic comments about hammertoe shortening and straightening surgery. It is now 5 months post my eight toes being operated and pins in each (which were removed after 7 weeks). It is a slow healing process. The first 2 months healing was really terrific, but since has slowed and am still finding swelling and numbness irritating. Some days better than others but I am so happy I had the surgery, as like you all had horrible toes which I hid for 40 years and then found the way I was standing and walking was the reason my back kept going on me. since the Op mid last year my back is better and I am now starting to wear normal shoes again. I can finally get into my original size shoes, well most of them except the very, very high heels. If anyone is deliberating to have the surgery done just make sure you do your homework and source a really reputable surgeon who knows what they are doing. I know its going to be another 12 months of recovery and patience before I will feel closer to unswollen normal feet but Idon't regret it for the world.

  28. I had bunion surgery and hammertoe surgery on my second and third toe of my right foot in January 2012. A year later the neither toe fused correctly--doctor calls it a non-union. The third toe looks ok but my second toe bends to the right and is always swollen (sausage toe). Doctor says it is because of the non union. Does anyone know if this is a permanent condition? I have really bony toes so this bothers me a lot. Have been to two other doctors--one says another surgery would help but will shorten the toe significantly. Other doctor says I will just have a short fat toe instead of a long fat toe so no surgery. I am really depressed--I like to wear sandals and flip flops but am really self conscious.

  29. I had a bad experience immedately prior to spinal surgery at age 16 - ending with 10 hammer toes and weak ankles. I had the two big toes and a few others straightened and stiffened 20 years ago.
    I am currently 2 weeks post surgery for the 4 smaller toes on my left foot. I have 4 wires, a thick bandage to the foot, a velcro shoe and crutches. I experienced very mild pain for only a day or two.
    My dressing will be reduced in 10 days time and the wires removed 6 weeks post op (which does not hurt at all). I plan to wear Flyflot toe loop (not post) sandals with a strap over the top of my foot so that nothing touches my toes whilst I make my initial recovery on holiday in Portugal in 5 weeks time. (Can't wait!)
    I have never been able to wear high heels due to weak ankles but hope to be able to wear full shoes before the winter arrives.
    Walking with stiff toes is not a big problem - you adapt. Just try not to stub them as hurts more than normal.
    I would not have had this done again if I did not feel it was worthwhile.
    Keep it real people!

  30. I am now 7 weeks post op and had my wires removed from 2 hammer toes yesterday and was disappointed to leave the hospital with crutches and the hideous shoe!! Any idea how long until I will be able to work unaided please? I can't even out weight on it at the moment :(