Exercises After Hammertoe Surgery

Toe Exercises After Hammertoe Surgery

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Many people decide to undergo hammertoe surgery to increase comfort, reduce pain, and improve the look of their feet. However, the correction process shouldn’t end up there. Toe exercises after hammertoe surgery are necessary for proper recovery and preventing hammer toe recurrence. If you’re thinking about going through this procedure, make sure you find out which toe exercises are the most effective. 

Why Should You Do Toe Exercises After Hammertoe Surgery?

Hammertoe surgery recovery can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the type of surgery a patient’s condition requires. Although most hammer toe surgeries end up successful, patients need time to heal and regain motion and strength in the operated toe -and some toe exercises can help with it. Appropriate toe exercises will reduce stiffness and scar tissue development and improve circulation after the surgery, which will have an overall positive impact on the recovery process.

Moreover, there is a great chance that you’ve unconsciously adopted some habits that helped you use the feet and other body parts to avoid pain. After the surgery, you may need to go through some re-learning and adapting – and that’s where these rehabilitative exercises can help as well.

On the other hand, recurrence of hammertoe deformity is a possibility – it is estimated that up to 10% of all hammer toe surgeries need revision. Many factors can determine if this recurrence will happen, such as the level of deformity prior to operation or genetics. Nevertheless, toe exercise can be beneficial in this case as well and help you prevent hammertoe reappearance. 

Feet with splints between toes after hammertoe surgery

What Exercises After Hammertoe Surgery Can You Do at Home?

In the beginning stages, a hammertoe condition can be improved with different non-invasive treatments, while surgery is needed in more advanced ones. Still, the care of your feet shouldn’t stop when surgery ends. In order to achieve the best results after the correction, make sure you practice the following hammer toe exercises.

Toe Crunch

When you get the green light to start with the exercises, toe crunches will be one of the most important ones. For it, you need to place a towel under the operated foot and make yourself comfortable on a chair. Try scrunching up the towel with your toes and pulling it underneath your foot, but make sure your heel stays connected to the ground. Repeat until you get to the end of the towel, then start over. Do it between ten and twelve times. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, add some resistance on the top end of the towel.

Manual Hammer Toe Stretching

Although this exercise is used mostly with an unoperated hammertoe, it can be helpful after the surgery, as well. Stretch your legs in front of you and wrap the towel around your toes. Pull the toes towards your body with the help of the towel and keep that position for up to thirty seconds. If you’re flexible enough, you won’t need the towel at all – just pull your toes with your hands. 

Toe Taps

For this type of exercise, you won’t need any kind of additional equipment. While sitting, point your big toe towards the ground while pointing the rest of your toes up. Hold them like that for a moment, then tap them down to the ground. Repeat it between ten and twelve times and then start the exercise again, but this time pull the big toe up while the rest of your toes should be pointing to the floor. 

Hammer Toe Finger Splint 

Put the foot on the opposite tight, place your finger between the toes, and squeeze them together. Repeat twelve times. You can do this with one toe at a time or perform the exercise with all the toes simultaneously.


This exercise begins with standings on a flat surface. Leave the heel planted on the floor while lifting the toes. Once you do, start returning toes to the ground, one by one, starting from the small toe. Repeat the process ten times, and then start with the exercise again, but this time move in the other direction. 

Close up of woman's foot performing a toe exercise

For More Information, Contact Your Surgeon in Miami

Keep in mind that you should not start exercising without previous medical consultation. A medical expert should determine the ideal time, to begin with the exercises and provide you with valuable advice on how to do them properly. If you start too early and don’t do these exercises correctly, you can intensify the pain after hammertoe surgery and interfere with the natural healing process, which will prolong the recovery. 

If you’re considering hammertoe correction, we at Lux Foot Surgery are happy to provide you with whatever answers you search for. Whether you want to know more about preventive hammertoe treatments, minimally invasive hammertoe surgery, or post-operative care, all you need to do is contact us. You can do it through the website, or you can give us a call Monday through Friday and schedule a free consultation. We would be happy to help you in any way you need us to, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Do You Need Physical Therapy After Hammertoe Surgery?

Physical therapy after hammertoe surgery is crucial if you want to achieve faster healing and increase mobility and flexibility. These toe exercises can be done in the comfort of your home, or you can get the help of a professional physical therapist to ensure you’re doing them correctly. Neglecting them, on the other hand, can lead to a much slower recovery process or even hammertoe recurrence. 

How Long Does It Take to Completely Recover From Hammertoe Surgery?

Usually, you’ll be able to experience full recovery after six months, but general recovery is possible even after six weeks. The exact time differs from one case to another. However, with the proper care, rest, and toe exercises, healing will occur much faster. 

Can I Bend My Toe After Hammer Toe Surgery?

The answer to this question depends on the intervention performed on your foot. If the surgery involves bone fusion or the implementation of permanent screws, you will not be able to bend the joint of the operated toe. 

What Is the Best Exercise for Hammer Toe?

There are many different exercises that can positively impact the imbalance in muscles, ligaments, and tendons, eventually correcting hammertoe without surgery. However, in more advanced stages, surgery may be necessary. Toe exercises such as toe crunches and taps, however, should be performed even after the surgery after consulting with a medical expert.


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