Small Toe Surgery

There are several operations that are performed to correct small toe deformities. The choice of operation will depend on several factors but will the one most suitable to treat your particular problem. This procedure is generally performed as a day case operation. You will be coming to the day case reception lounge on the day of operation. You will be checked into preoperative lounge and will be met by the surgeon and the anaesthetist who will go through all the benefits and risks of the surgery again. Surgery is performed under general anesthetic, usually as a day case. The procedure takes 20- 30 minutes.


All surgery carries potential risks. The risks are minimized by having the surgery meticulously performed by an expert in foot and ankle surgery. Risks include

  • Infection - approximately 2% risk in our unit
  • Blood clots (thrombosis) – Not required normally due to low risk as you are mobile after surgery. You will be put on Low molecular weight Heparin prophylaxis to reduce the risk of blood clots in calf, thigh or rarely in lungs if you are high risk for infection.
  • Numbness – can occur over the outer border of the foot, and usually improves over time
  • Pain and swelling - This can occur after any foot and ankle surgery. You have to keep the limb elevated for 48 hours to avoid swelling and you will be given pain killers.
  • Stiffness – this improves over time and helped by physiotherapy
  • Scar sensitivity - can be improved with scar massage

Discharge advice following small toe surgery


Your foot has been dressed in a wool and crepe bandage. This dressing should not be changed until you are seen at your first follow- up appointment after 2 weeks. The dressing must be kept clean and dry.


It is very important that you rest as much as possible and keep your foot elevated for the first 48 hours after surgery. Try to avoid letting it hang down when sitting as this will lead to swelling and pain. This is most apparent within the first 2 weeks but swelling may occur for up to 6 months after surgery, especially after sitting or standing for long periods. In bed, put the foot on a pillow.


You will receive a prescription for pain medication on discharge. Pain is often due to swelling, and this is eased by rest and elevation of the foot.


A special shoe has been supplied for you to wear over your dressings which should A special shoe has been supplied for you wear over your dressings which should be worn during the day. A physiotherapist will show you how to use crutches and apply the shoe. It is necessary for you to initially walk by taking the weight on your heel so that you don’t put pressure on the toes. It is not necessary to wear this shoe in bed.


You will be seen after approximately 2 weeks when the dressings and stitches will be removed. The foot is often slightly swollen at this stage and so a comfortable pair of loose-fitting shoes or trainers will need to be worn and should be brought to the clinic.

Driving and work

This depends on the particular operation that you have had, and your surgeon will advise you about this.

It may be possible for you to return after 2 weeks however it is more advisable to return after 6 weeks again this depends on the particular operation that you have had, and your surgeon will advise you about this.


It often takes 6 months for all swelling to resolve and so minor swelling late in the day is not unusual and should not be a cause for concern.