Flexor Tenotomy

This operation is for hammer, mallet or curly toes. The deformity may cause pain and callosities (corns) over the joints or at the tip of the toe. It is caused by tightness of the long flexor tendon.

The operation is performed through a small (5mm) incision underneath the toe, in the skin crease. The long flexor tendon is cut, leaving the short flexor intact, with minimal loss of toe function. The small incision is usually left open and dressed.

The operation is a minor procedure and carried out with a local anaesthetic.

Hammer Toe, Claw Toe, Mallet Toe



This is a very small operation with very little chance of infection. If it does occur, a short course of antibiotics should eradicate it.

Nerve damage

The digital nerves are close to the incision, and maybe injured. This is uncommon but will leave a small patch of numbness at the toe.


There is a negligible loss of function due to the division of this tendon. The intact short flexor allows good toe function.

Recovery from surgery

This operation is performed as a day case procedure and regretably (you may think) you should be able to go straight back to work, unless you have a job that involves a lot of walking or other particularly foot related activity. You will be advised accordinly.

Weight-bearing is allowed immediately but the foot must be kept elevated as much as possible for the first three days. Note that as the local anaesthetic wears of there may be some discomfort and driving may not be adviseable for a few days.

After three days, the dressing can be changed for waterproof elastoplasts and normal shoes worn. It is now fine to bathe.