Visitor Question

Botched hammertoe and 2 toes operated on that were not discussed?

Submitted By: Linda (Philadelphia, PA)

A foot surgeon was recommended to me by a podiatrist in my area. It was a simple hammertoe on the left foot, second toe; I was not in a lot of pain, but I knew it would get worse with time.

I had good insurance and decided to have the surgery. The toe was straight but just a a slight bump. There was also a corn between the 4th and 5th toes on the left foot. I asked him to remove the corn.

We also discussed the little toe on the right foot which was oddly shaped. He was supposed to operate on the hammertoe (left foot second toe), the right foot (5th toe) and take off the corn.

I never read his notes. I was concerned about the swelling and read that sometimes it takes up to a year to go down. The swelling in the hammertoe surgery was not going down. I went back to the doctor and he gave me more Ibuprofen for the swelling.

The operation was at the end of May; I was off my feet entirely for at least 2 weeks, they were elevated and iced; I wore flip flops for the entire summer when he told me I could wear sandals.

In October I went back and told him the foot was not only swollen but there was a large bump on the side of the toe that wasn’t there before I had the surgery.

The hammertoe surgery looks terrible. In the x-ray it looks like an old woman’s gnarled toe; the toe was straight before and now the implant or pin he put in caused the toe to be entirely crooked and the scar is horrible.

The other 2 toes he operated on (which we did not discuss before he cut them) now hurt along with the hammertoe. He told me he could have it down. When I saw the x-ray, I knew that wasn’t possible.

I went to another doctor. He says the toe will never be the same and I have 3 options:

  1. Wear gel sleeves on both toes so they have some relief
  2. He could try to shave it down but doubts that that would work
  3. Have the toe broken, reset and I would have to have my feet up with a pin sticking out of the toe for at least 2 weeks, and they at least another 4 weeks doing very little.

I have a business and work for a living; there is no one else to do my job but me. What can I do here? Is this malpractice? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Linda,

The primary implication of your question alludes to the type of medical treatment you may require to treat the serious problem you have been experiencing with your toe(s).

We certainly aren’t qualified to render a medical opinion. For that you must seek the continued advice of the doctor you are now seeing, or another more qualified doctor. More important than legal questions, settlements, malpractice etc. is your health.

The implication in your secondary question is whether or not there exists medical malpractice. You will be able to find that answer within the medical narratives and opinions of your doctor(s).

To have the basis of a medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove the doctor in question deviated from the medical treatment appropriate for your type of injury. If that can be proved, you may have a viable personal injury claim.

If, after speaking with your present doctor, and several others (if possible), you believe medical malpractice occurred, then seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation.

Moreover, if you find an attorney to accept your case, you won’t have to pay any legal fees in advance. Instead you will only be required to pay to the attorney about one third of your settlement or court award. If your attorney fails to settle your case, or win it at court, you will owe the attorney nothing.

Learn more here: Lawsuits for Surgical Malpractice

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


6 thoughts on “Botched hammertoe and 2 toes operated on that were not discussed?

  1. BKC says:

    My surgery was scheduled for early morning before 9:00 am. I didn’t return home until after 7:00 pm that evening…Had hammertoe surgery a year ago… before the surgery my toes were straight. The only problem I had was the hammertoe on my second left toe. I currently can only wear sneakers or flip flops. My toes went from straight to looking like they are deformed…. my second and third toes on my left foot are curved to the left swollen and now they have caused my fourth toe to buckle. I’ve seen the doctor. He says if they aren’t hurting me and I don’t mind them looking as they do… then leave it alone…I can’t understand how these quacks get away with mangling up people and destroying lives… I am seeking legal advice… but it’s been a struggle finding a lawyer

  2. Angela says:

    I had hammer toe surgery three years ago. The swelling has never gone completely down.

    My toe looks like a sausage, which looks worse than before the surgery. It doesn’t hurt but does burn at times.

    I have not been back to the doctor because I don’t know if there is anything he can do to fix it.

  3. BARBARA says:

    I had my toes “pinned” on my right foot in Aug. 2019. Pins came out within 2 weeks. Second toe tip is completely under the 3rd toe. Wear toeless sandals. Contemplating law suit. Had 2 opinions already, Next stop UPMC. Barbara

  4. Brenda says:

    I also had a bunion removed and hammertoe fixed. Only 5 months later my big toe still leans way over under the 2nd toe, which now won’t touch the floor. And the joints of the last 3 toes are making bumps on the bottom of my foot. It’s very painful. The doctor said to wear a spacer between the big toe and 2nd toe, pull the 2nd toe down with tape, and wear insoles to reduce pain on the last 3. I am in way more pain now, but yes the bunion and hammertoe are gone. SMH

  5. Linda says:

    After my bunion surgery, the doctor was to straighten a hammertoe, but it is still crooked causing my other toes to point outward. I also have a sore bump on the bottom of the foot under the hammertoe. I don’t know what to do. I can hardly wear shoes.

  6. Patricia says:

    I have to say I’ve had the exact same experience. Surgeon totally wrecked my hammer toes, such that they were worse after three surgeries than when I began.

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