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Tendon Transfer for Hammertoe (FDL tendon transfer)

Do you have an unnatural bend in one of your toes? This painful condition, often referred to as hammertoe, occurs within the middle joint of the toe and pulls it out of alignment. Commonly caused by footwear and foot-related injury, extreme cases of hammertoe may require corrective surgery.

Tendon transfer for hammertoe (FDL tendon transfer) is a surgical procedure used to reroute the tendon from beneath a flexible hammertoe to a new path along the top of your toe. Rather than pulling the toe into a bend, the rerouted tendon functions as a corrective force that assists the toe into proper alignment.

If you have persistent foot pain that affects your natural walking ability, schedule an appointment with us immediately. We can help you take the first step to a full recovery!

Surgical Procedure

Your surgeon will begin by administering anesthesia to ensure you experience no pain over the course of the procedure. You’ll be positioned in place to provide optimal visibility of the surgical site and the foot will be properly sterilized before the incisions are made.

The surgeon will next make two minor incisions to the bottom of the affected toe. These incisions will release the FDL tendon, one of two tendons that run beneath the toe.

Next, the surgeon will make a third and final incision to the top of the toe. The surgeon will reach beneath the bones of the toe and detach the Flexor Digitorum Longus Tendon which will alleviate the constant pulling force drawing the toe into the bend, allowing the toe to rest.

The tendon is divided into two strands and both ends are pulled up along either side of the toe where they’re brought together on top of the bone. The surgeon will then use sutures to reconnect ends of the tendon and anchor the toe in place, allowing the tendon to provide downward force and prevent curling of the toe.

Following Surgery

The incision will be closed and bandaged following surgery. Most patients find they can walk following surgery without the aid of a crutch or walker. Patients will be required to wear a bandage or splint for 2-4 weeks following the procedure, full recovery taking about 8 weeks.