How Much Does Toe Shortening Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff

Longer toes can usually be shortened via toe shortening surgery, and depending on the length and severity of the issue, there are a few methods available that can correct the issue.

People who are constantly bothered by aching feet due to the extended length of their toes may want to consider the toe shortening procedure to avoid further medical conditions in the future.

Toe shortening surgery aims to align the longer toe(s) – usually the second or third toe from the big toe – with the rest of the toes for comfort and more natural appearance.

toes by Jo Andre Johansen, on Flickr
toes” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jo Andre Johansen

How much does toe shortening surgery cost?

Depending on the hospital, surgeon, the surgery being performed and the geographical location, most toe shortening surgeries will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 per toe without any insurance.

Most health insurance companies will not cover this procedure unless it is deemed medically necessary.

According to the Plastic Surgery Portal, the average cost of toe shortening surgery is between $2,000 and $2,500 per toe.

Meanwhile, based on the data gathered at, the cost of toe shortening procedure ranges from $500 to $3,000, depending on the state, surgeon and the clinic where the surgery is performed.

Toe shortening surgery overview

Toe shortening is an optional procedure used to straighten and shorten toes, and although the procedure usually involves the second and/or third toes, the other toes can also be straightened or shortened.

Under a general or local anesthetic, the surgery is performed at the joints in the toe bone, removing it with a particular cutting instrument.  During the surgery, a portion of the patient’s skin is removed and then reconstructed to create new toe length.  Once the bone is removed, pins are fastened in its place in order for the toe to heal accordingly.

The toe shortening procedure takes only about 30 to 60 minutes to perform.

Depending on the patient’s preference, the toe surgery may be performed as an in-patient or out-patient procedure.

For the first two weeks after the surgery, the patient is advised to stay off their feet and to keep the operated foot iced and elevated to minimize swelling.

The recovery period from the surgery varies, depending on the health condition and activity level of the patient.  Under normal conditions, complete recovery from the toe shortening procedure takes about three months; however, the patient should be able to walk bearing his/her full body weight after a month from surgery.

What are the extra costs?

After the surgery, crutches will be required for a few weeks while the toes heal.  Also, the patient is usually provided with a special orthotic shoe after the operation to help him get around.

Physical therapy, depending on the condition, may be required for months after the surgery to help strengthen and stretch the muscles.  A physical therapy session, without any insurance, can cost up to $200.

Depending on the billing practices, anesthesia may be billed separately.

Tips to know:

If you are considering toe shortening surgery for the sole purpose of a cosmetic enhancement, carefully and discuss the matter with your doctor so that you may be prepared for the repercussions.  Many doctors believe that the risks involved in the toe shortening procedure are not worth the cosmetic enhancement you will gain.

Some of the known side effects of toe shortening include permanent nerve damage, infection, loss of flexibility, corns, scarring, and/or potentially chronic pain when walking.  Bunions and a walking imbalance may also result from the surgery because of the disturbance it creates on the natural structures of the bones, joints, and tendons in the foot.

How can I save money?

If you can’t afford the procedure up front, many doctors and hospitals offer payment plans and financing options.  Talk with the finance department or office for more details.

Non-surgical methods are available to help decrease some symptoms.  This can include wearing supportive shoes, using an arch support, modifying your daily routine and/or receiving periodic care.

Many doctors are more than happy to offer a free consultation, so be sure to take advantage of this and talk to as many providers as you can.

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