Toe Shortening Main Description

This surgical technique was pioneered in our centre by our consultant who has over 26-years’ experience in toe surgery, having performed over 20,000 foot operations. Relieving the embarrassment of overlong middle toes (Morton’s toe) or big toes (Hitcher’s toe), so you can be confident to show your feet and enjoy your holidays and wearing sandals, is our aim. The surgery can be performed under a local or general anaesthetic.

The procedures involve safely removing bone from the toe/s to effect the desired shortening. Normally an internal clip (e.g. Nextra clip or ToeGrip) is inserted permanently inside the toe. We aim to achieve the classic “staircase” stepdown to the toes; making shoe-fitting much easier. Our consultant has over 26-years surgical experience in foot surgery having corrected thousands of toe deformities. The consultation will cover the condition, how the correction is undertaken, rehabilitation, post-surgical recovery requirements and the risks of the surgery. Further x-rays or scans maybe required.

Toe Shortening Quotes



"I have wanted my big toes shortened for many years but was put off at the thought off the pain I would have to entail however I decided to go ahead after the reassurance Mr H gave me at my first consultation. Mr H answered all my questions & explained fully what the whole procedure would involve as well as the post op care. The operation itself was so relaxed & over so quick & for having both feet operated on at once was certainly the best decision as was advised. Now 3 months on I cannot express how happy I...



This is one of the most commonly undertaken procedure in our practice and was pioneered by us.

This is one of the most commonly undertaken procedure in our practice and was pioneered by us.

These patients usually suffer with toes which are over long and complain they cause rubbing in shoes and have real difficulty finding shoes to fit comfortably as well as the aesthetic appearance. Commonly it is the 2nd and 3rd toes which are longer than the big toe and this affects men as well as women.

As well as causing some people embarrassment because they dislike the way their feet look, longer toes also commonly cause discomfort. As a consequence of not being able to find shoes which fit properly the toes compensate by clawing to keep the shoes in place. This can then cause painful corns and lumps underneath the skin called bursitis, which form over the small knuckles of the toes.

Toe Shortening Patients

Toe Shortening Patients

  • 2nd toe shortening and 3rd and 4th toes corn removal.
  • Corn removal with 2nd and 3rd toe shortening, 4-months after surgery.
  • Toe tucks combined with big toe shortening.
  • Corn removal surgery - which was combined with toe-shortening.
  • To show 3-months after big-toe shortening surgery. The left 3rd and 4th - "mallet toe" - deformities were also corrected.
  • Patient 3-month after shortening of 2nd and 3rd toes, some swelling is still present and will resolve over the next 3-months.
  • This lady is 4-months on from a 2nd and 3rd toe shortening procedure, she is very happy with the results of her surgery.
  • 5-months post surgery for this left 2nd and 3rd toe cosmetic shortening surgery.
  • 5-months after the left 2nd toe was shortened with the Smart toe clip, this patient returned for her right 2nd toe procedure.
  • Before and after of toe shortening surgery to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes (5-months post-surgery)
  • 2nd toe shortening with bunion correction, only 6-weeks after surgery.
  • "I can't thank Mr Hargrave enough for the transformation he has done to my toes. I have just returned from a holiday abroad and it's the first time I have been able to wear pretty open toe sansals and not be embarrassed by my feet. It has made me so happy and I am so glad I went ahead after many years of hiding my feet."

Your Toe Shortening Procedure

Your Toe Shortening Procedure

Pros and Cons of external pins versus the Nextra internal toe clip:

All toe fusion procedures carry a risk of failure to unite (non-union). This risk is around 5% and is the main reason why a toe may need to be re-operated on (revision surgery). Using 2 external Kirschner pins is a long-established and recognized way to fuse the toe joint. The pins exit the end of the toe and are removed in outpatients at 5-6 weeks after surgery. Signs of full bone healing can take up to 3-months to show on x-rays.

More recent innovations involve the insertion of a small metal clip which stays inside the toe bones and which only requires removal if the fusion fails to unite (e.g. Nextra implant).

Recovery Following Toe Shortening Surgery

Recovery Following Toe Shortening Surgery:

After the surgery walking carefully but only on the heels with crutches is allowed for the first week. A surgical shoe is provided for this period. 7-14 days after the surgery, the patient is seen for a dressing change and at 2-weeks the stitches are removed. During the first two weeks, in order to minimize swelling, ice packs should be applied and the feet should be elevated as much as possible. After the bulky dressing is removed, the foot can be placed in a roomy shoe such as a trainer, Ugg boots or strappy sandal; and full weight-bearing is allowed.

Pain medication is provided for a few days post-surgery. Swelling may will persist up to 6-months after surgery and you will have to modify your footwear to accommodate this initially. Driving is permitted after 2-weeks as is working if you have a desk-type job. We advise the use of various scar-care products, which can be discussed after surgery.

The results are usually permanent and functionally and cosmetically pleasing; but it should be noted that the toe will be stiffer and the middle joint won’t flex afterwards. Functionally, this does not impair your ability to exercise or play sports.


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