Complication Rates and Short-Term Outcomes After Operative Hammertoe Correction in Older Patients

Foot Ankle Int. 2018 Jun;39(6):681-688. doi: 10.1177/1071100718755472. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


Background: Hammertoe deformities are the most common lesser toe deformity. To date, no studies have looked at outcomes of operative management in the geriatric population, which may be at greater risk for complications or functional compromise because of comorbidities.

Methods: Data on 58 patients undergoing operative correction of hammertoe deformities were prospectively collected. Clinical outcomes were assessed using preoperative and postoperative visual analogue scale (VAS) and Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) scores with a minimum of 6-month follow-up. Patients were divided into 2 groups on the basis of age at the time of surgery: younger than 65 and 65 and older. Complication rates and mean VAS and SF-36 improvement were compared. Forty-seven patients met inclusion criteria (7 men, 40 women), with 26 patients (37 toes) in the younger cohort and 21 patients (39 toes) in the older cohort.

Results: Overall, patients demonstrated significant improvement from baseline to 6 and 12 months postoperatively in VAS ( P < .001 and P < .001) and SF-36 ( P < .001 and P < .001) scores. Mean improvement in VAS and SF-36 scores was not significantly different between the groups at 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Complications occurred in 13.5% and 10.3% of patients in the younger and older cohorts, respectively.

Conclusions: Outcomes of operative correction of hammertoe deformities in older patients were similar to outcomes in younger patients after greater than 6 months of follow-up. Overall improvement in VAS and SF-36 was statistically significant for both cohorts. There was no associated increase in complications for older patients.

Level of evidence: Level, III comparative series.

Keywords: forefoot disorders; geriatrics; hammertoe deformity; older patients; outcome studies.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Hammer Toe Syndrome / complications*
  • Hammer Toe Syndrome / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Toes / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome