Hammer toe correction using an absorbable intramedullary pin

Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Aug;28(8):916-20. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2007.0916.


Background: Fixed flexion deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint with or without hyperextension of the metatarsophalangeal joint is one of the most common foot deformities. Many operative options have been recommended. Complaints after operative procedures include a too straight toe, floating toe, painful toe recurvatum, mallet toe, pin track infection, broken hardware, and the necessity of removing hardware. A proximal interphalangeal joint arthrodesis for hammertoe deformity using a 2-mm absorbable pin for internal fixation is described.

Methods: The results of 48 toe arthrodeses in 35 patients were reviewed. Followup ranged from 16 to 58 (average 38.5) months.

Results: The procedure is simple and safe for the correction of painful rigid hammertoe deformities. Patient satisfaction was high, complications were minimal, and followup required no pin management or removal.

Conclusions: This procedure can be used for hammer toe deformities requiring surgery when the metatarsophalangeal joint is stable, the skin is not compromised, and the intramedullary canal of the proximal phalanx is 2.0 mm or less. It also has been useful in stabilizing hammertoe correction when there are severe pre-existing metal allergies.

MeSH terms

  • Absorbable Implants*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthrodesis / instrumentation*
  • Arthrodesis / methods
  • Bone Nails*
  • Hammer Toe Syndrome / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction