How Much Does Hammertoe Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Hammertoe is defined as a deformity in a joint of the second, third, or fourth toe, usually caused by poorly fitting shoes that force the toe into a bent position.

Best Shoes for Hammertoes by gm.esthermax, on Flickr
Best Shoes for Hammertoes” (CC BY 2.0) by gm.esthermax

How much does hammertoe surgery cost?

The cost of surgery will depend on the method being used.  Using custom-made shoes or a simple splint can cost $150 to $500 without insurance, while surgery can cost $1,700 to $5,000 or more per toe, depending on the hospital and surgeon.

On, for example, various orthopedic clinics in the United States can charge anywhere from $1,750 for a correction with fusion to as much as $4,000+

Healthcare Bluebook states the average hammertoe correction procedure in the United States cost $3,397.

Simple toe pads, strechers and spacers can cost $8 to $20 on and other popular retailers.

Most insurance companies won’t cover cosmetic based surgeries, but just to make sure, you may want to contact your insurance company to discuss your deductible and co-pay to see what is covered and what isn’t.  If the surgery is deemed medically necessary, there could be a good chance that the surgery is covered.  What many have found out is that the insurance companies will want you to try non-surgical methods for at least six months before your claim is covered.  Again, each insurance company will be different so it’s best to talk with them to see what their policies are.

Hammertoe surgery overview

Before surgery is even considered, a doctor may explore other medical options.  This could include using anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the swelling or cortisone injections to help ease the pain.  A custom-made orthotic insert could also be recommended to prevent the situation from getting worse or a splint could be used to help hold the toe in its natural position.  If none of these options work for your pain or help restore function, then the doctor will more than likely recommend the surgery.

As for the surgical options, it will depend on the extent of your deformity and if there are any other problems with your foot.  Common methods include K-wires, surgical pins and implants.  If the problem is mild, most doctors will recommend an implant, a procedure which will take the tendons of the toe joint and move it from the bottom of the toe to the top.  This procedure can often pull the toe straight.  A moderate deformity may require surgically fixing the toe joint, allowing the bones to heal back together, allowing your joints to be back in its natural state.  Lastly, a severe deformity may require reconstructing the joint by inserting pins, implants or K-wires to keep the toe steady while recovering.

The average recovery time for hammertoe surgery can take six to eight weeks, but doctors claim you should be able to resume normal activities within two weeks.  After the procedure, you won’t be to bend your toe as it will be permanently straightened.

The surgeon fees are usually the only thing included in the price estimate.  Some hospitals may also include the anesthesia.  It is best to discuss your options with the hospital before surgery is conducted to see what’s included in the bill since you will receive other medical bills.

What are the extra costs?

Anesthesia will cost an additional $400 to $1,200, depending on the hospital charges.

If you have other problems, such as bunions or corns, the doctor may want to resolve these issues while correcting your hammertoe.

Crutches after the surgery may be needed and cost $50 to $200.

Some patients have to go to physical therapy for a few sessions, which can cost $100 to $300 per session without insurance.

You may be required to stay in the hospital after the surgery as you will need to be monitored by the attending physician.  Hospitalization stays can cost upwards of $2,000 per day, depending on the hospital and geographical location.

Tips to know

Your insurance company will more than likely pay if you can prove you have difficulty walking because of the pain or an ulcer or corn has formed at the top of the deformed joint.  As stated above, you will also have to prove that you attempted at least one other non-surgical option to see if it helped resolve the issue.

How can I save money?

Most hospitals will offer a cash discount up to 50 percent if you pay in full.  This discount is an idea for those that can’t have insurance cover it.

There are alternatives that can help with hammertoe problems such as using a corrective toe brace or toe pads which are designed to protect your toe from rubbing against the shoe.  Consider talking with your doctor to see if there are alternatives that may work for your situation.

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Average Reported Cost: $5000

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How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Patricia (Alpena,  Michigan) paid $5000 and said:

    My insurance picked up some of the tab, but since I had a high deductible, I was responsible for $5,000. All in all, the hospital billed the insurance about $7,800.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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