Recovery From Toe Surgery


Many people every year under go toe surgery for reasons varying from hammer toe to removing pesky deep warts. Depending on what type of surgery you've had, the time for recovery will vary. Although the steps for recovering from surgery are similar no matter what surgery you've had, you should speak with your doctor before undergoing the surgery so that you're clear about what procedure to follow.

Bandages and Special Shoes

  • After toe surgery, your toes will likely be placed in bandages, and you'll be asked to wear a special shoe to protect your wound. Depending on the type of toe surgery you had, you may be asked to wear a shoe that immobilizes the toes. Make sure to keep your bandages dry and change them on schedule (your doctor should tell you about how often they should be changed). To make sure you keep your foot completely dry, you may want to consider wrapping your foot in a trash bag or cast cover during a shower. You can also take baths instead of showers, hanging your foot over the edge. If your doctor has asked to you to wear special shoes, make sure you wear them until he has told you that you have healed properly.


  • Swelling is often a reality post surgery and can last up to six months post-op, depending on the severity of your surgery. Although it can be painful and uncomfortable, follow what your doctor prescribes to keep the swelling down. Some suggestions may include placing ice or ice packs on your toes and taking prescription strength anti-inflammatories, as prescribed by your doctor.


  • In many cases, your doctor will advise that you use crutches or a walker instead of putting weight on your foot right away. Although crutches can be a nuisance, they are a necessity to make sure your foot heals properly. Do not stop using your crutches until your doctor tells you to, even if your toes feels better. Usually, after the initial heeling process, you can transition to a special boot that allows you to walk without bending your toes.

Physical Therapy

  • Depending on the type of surgery, you may be asked to go to physical therapy to strengthen your toes. Some types of exercises you may be told to do are simple stretches of your toes, picking up marbles and other objects with your toes and rising up and down on the balls of your feet. It is important to do these exercises so that you will gain 100 percent of the strength in your toes and have a full recovery.

What Shoes to Wear Post-Op

  • If you've had big surgery on your toes, especially surgery to remove a bunion or correct hammer toes with pins, you may be advised not to wear anything but tennis shoes for the first six months post-op. You will likely have to wear bandages during this time, so it is advisable to stick to soft and supportive shoes until your doctor removes your bandages. More minor surgeries, like the removal of warts or release of tendons in the hammer toe, have a much shorter period of recovery time. Talk to your doctor about when you can begin to wear "fashion shoes" again.

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