Have you ever felt that your toes are not uniformly straight? You might have a condition known as hammer toe. It is a deformity caused by an imbalance of muscles, leading to a bent toe that looks like a hammer. This condition can be painful and get worse if you don’t take corrective measures.
No, we are not asking you to impulsively go under the knife. A moderate case of hammer toe can be treated by changing your lifestyle, wearing more comfortable shoes, and using an orthotic tool like a hammer toe straightener. This article lists the 12 best hammer toe straighteners of 2021. Scroll down to check them out.
What Is A Hammer Toe?
A hammer toe is a bent toe that arises due to the weakening of muscles. The weak muscle shortens the tendons, which makes your toe curl downwards. This could happen because of your genes or wearing short shoes.
If you do not address the issue, it could affect your walk and lead to other foot problems like soreness, calluses, and blisters. While corrective footwear and splinting can help in treating this problem, severe cases will require surgery. This deformity may affect one toe or several toes. Usually, when you develop it on one of your toes, it has a domino effect on the neighboring ones.
While severe cases may require surgery, moderate cases of hammer toe can be treated at home through exercise, stretching, and using a hammer toe straightener.
Do Hammer Toe Straighteners Really Work?
A hammer toe straightener realigns the affected toe by wrapping itself around it and stretches the contracted tendon, thereby straightening and flattening the toe. It prevents the rubbing of toes against each other and relieves pain and discomfort. It slips in between the toes and can sometimes be worn even with shoes. It helps you walk, run, and move around painlessly and prevents this condition from worsening.
If you are planning to try a straightener to fix your hammer toe, you have to first understand the types and their features. Let’s get to it.
What Are The Different Types Of Hammer Toe Straighteners?
- Gel Separators: These straighteners are made of soft gel. They separate your toes and align them to a natural position. They help stretch and relax the muscles, tendons, and joints and relieve pain.
- Toe Wrap: They are thin, flexible bandages used to wrap the affected toe with the neighboring toe using a Velcro strap that will align and flatten it.
- Toe Socks: These socks have holes cut at the top with cushions between the toes. They separate and align the toes.
- Ball Of Foot Pads: These pads cushion the balls of your feet under the toes, provide support, and relieve pain.
- Crest Pads: These gel- or felt-made pads wrap themselves around the hammer toe. They are attached to a pad beneath that helps straighten the toe gradually.
Given all the varieties of toe straighteners and the different brands available on the market, it can be a bit confusing to find the right one for you. So, we have curated a list of the 12 best hammer toe straighteners. Read on to find out all about them.
12 Best Hammer Toe Straighteners
The ZenToes Gel Toe Cap Protect has a slim design and can fit into your shoes easily. You can also wear it under your socks. It is made of high-quality, latex-free, and washable material and contains a cushion that protects hammer toes, ingrown nails, and corns and prevents the toes from rubbing against each other. The cap fits securely on your toes and does not cause friction. It also provides moisturization to the tissues. The pack includes six toe caps.
- Slim design
- Not durable
The YogaToes Gems provide instant relief from pain if you have bunions and hammer toes. They are spaced such that they can help in stretching and straightening the toes. They keep the toes equidistant from each other, preventing rubbing. The hypoallergenic gel moisturizes and softens the feet. Wear them for at least 15 minutes every day, and you will see a difference in your toe alignment.
- Easy to put on and take off
- Value for money
- Can’t be worn under socks or with shoes
The ZenToes Hammer Toe Wraps protect and heal broken toes and separate hammer toes. They are made of anti-slip fabric and can be used to fasten toes with small fractures. In the case of hammer toes, they wrap the affected toe with the neighboring toe and hold it in place, which allows it to straighten and flatten. The cushion provides protection to the toes and makes the whole process of healing painless. The thin design and neutral color tone makes them suitable to wear under socks and with any shoes.
- One size fits all
- High quality
- Can be worn under socks and inside shoes
- Anti-slip fabric
- Value for money
- Not for the pinky toe or big toe
If you are looking for a high-quality, well-designed, orthotic device for stretching and separating your toes, the 5 Stars United Hammer Toe Straightener is the best one for you. It is made of soft gel that makes it comfortable to wear. It puts your toes in the correct place and strengthens them. This toe separator can be worn all day while performing various activities, which makes it a favorite of athletes and the elderly. It wraps well around the toe and can be worn with all kinds of shoes. This hammer toe straightener works best during the initial stages of hammer toe.
- Odorless gel
- Works for the big toe and pinky toe
- Can be worn with shoes
- Value for mone
- Useful only in the initial stages
The DR JK Original Toe Straightener provides relief from pain caused due to hammer toes. It separates and stretches out your toes and corrects hammer toes over time. This toe separator is made of medical-quality gel. It increases the space between the toes, prevents them from overlapping, and stretches them, relieving pain. It is an ideal choice for yogis, ballet dancers, and athletes and comes in a universal size.
- Medical-quality gel
- Can be used during pedicures
- Can’t be worn for too long
If your toes are overlapping, it can cause pain and imbalance and make walking difficult. It can also be bad for the muscles and joints. Thanks to the ZenToes Hammer Toe Straightener and Corrector, you don’t have to suffer through that anymore. It is made of silicone gel that prevents the toes from rubbing against each other. The medical quality silicone offers orthopedic support and is stain-, odor-, and sweat-resistant. This hammer toe straightener is lightweight and stretchy and can be worn all day. You can wear it with boots, high heels, or tennis shoes. It comes in a pair with three loops in each to keep all your toes separated.
- Made of medical quality silicone
- Can be worn with shoes
- Can be worn all day
- Not for skinny toes
The All Sett Health Hammer Toe Straightener is made of medical-grade, hypoallergenic material. It helps realign your toes that overlap and prevents inflammation, bacterial growth, and infections. This toe spacer is most suited for the big toe and the pinky toe. It can be worn all day for comfort and stability. This toe separator is also effective against bunions and can be used by people with diabetes. This pack of eight well-designed toe rings that can be washed and reused.
- Medical quality gel
- Works on the big toe and pinky toe
- Value for money
If you are looking for an orthotic device developed with the help of medical professionals, your search ends with Dr. Frederick’s Original Hammer Toe Treatment Set. It reduces toe pain, prevents irritation, and is the perfect product for a hammer toe. It is made of medical quality rubber that is soft, adjustable, and easy to slip on. The gel pads provide cushioning and support to the toes and work best when worn with socks. Loop them around the affected toe with the pad below to obtain symptomatic relief from hammer toe, corns, calluses, and blisters.
- Easy to slip on
- Medical quality rubber
- Can be worn under socks or inside shoes
- Can’t be worn for long
The ViveSole Toe Splint has an adjustable loop that wraps around a hammer toe to alleviate pressure from it, realign it, reduce pain, irritation, and discomfort, and help you walk easily. It can be worn under socks and is compatible with most shoes. It has a foam pad beneath the toes that provides cushion support to the ball of the foot.
- Ergonomic design
- Cushion support
- Can be worn under socks and with shoes
The Triim Fitness Toe Separator Yoga Gym Sports Massage Socks are perfect for runners, women who wear heels to work, and people with sensitive feet. They can also be used by kids and teens for sports activities. The socks are made of soft acrylic, cotton, and spandex mix. They can be worn just like regular socks, with the toes slipping out through the respective openings. This enables stretching and provides pain relief. These socks help promote healthy blood circulation, prevent cramps, and provide relief for swollen feet. They keep your feet warm and can be worn while lounging at home, working in the kitchen, or going to sleep at night.
- Kids and teen-friendly
- Keeps the feet warm
- Machine washable
- Available in one size
If you have foot problems like hallux varus, mallet overlapping, or hammer toes, regular use of the Welnove Hammer Toes Corrector will set things straight for you. You can use it on the big, second, and third toes, preventing them from rubbing against each other. It helps stabilize and straighten the toes, and its hard base provides sufficient support. The toe pad can be cut and customized as per your foot size. It is comfortable to wear for hiking, shopping, walking, running, and working.
- Easy to fit
- Value for money
- Customizable size
The NatraCure Single Loop Gel Hammer Toe Crests are made of high-quality gel that provides relief from pain and alleviates pressure from your hammer toe. They also release vitamins, mineral oils, and aloe vera that moisturize and protect your skin. These toe crests are durable and has a toe guard that rests comfortably under the hammered toe. This helps in shock absorption, preventing calluses, corns, and blisters.
- Diabetes patient-friendly
- Nourishes the skin
With this comprehensive list, it should not be difficult for you to make the right choice. However, it is normal to be apprehensive while trying out a new product. So, to give you confidence, let’s find out if a hammer toe straightener can potentially cause any side effects.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Hammer Toe Straighteners?
A hammer toe straightener’s job is to realign the affected toe with the help of the neighboring toe/toes. In some cases, it can affect the healthy neighboring toe as bit as the toe straightener pulls on it.
However, if you follow the directions properly, wear it only for the right amount of time, and do the suggested activities, the chances of it affecting the neighboring toes are very slim. To get the maximum benefits and the minimum side effects from a hammer toe straightener, start using it as soon as you see any symptoms and before it worsens too much.
But before you decide on a hammer toe straightener, you have to understand the requirements of your condition. Let’s learn a bit about it.
How To Choose The Best Hammer Toe Straightener
Consider the following factors before buying a hammer toe straightener:
- Fit: Choosing the wrong fit could worsen your hammer toe; something too big would slip off, causing the toes to rub against each other; something too small could put pressure on the joints, injuring them. Make sure the hammer toe straightener you buy has a snug fit that stays on comfortably.
- Time And Place: While some straighteners can be worn with shoes all day, allowing you to move around and do other activities, others are meant to be worn at home when you are relaxing. Some can be used even when you go to bed.
- Affected Toe(s): Some toe straighteners are for only one toe, while some others are for multiple toes. Make sure your straightener is compatible with the affected toe(s).
- Function: There are hammer toe straighteners in the form of socks that keep your feet warm; then there are those that moisturize your feet; there are also some that are perfect for sports. Choose one depending on the purpose.
- Reviews: Read the reviews of people who have purchased the product and used it to get an idea about its quality and compatibility with different toe types and conditions.
While hammer toe is not irreversible, it is always better to prevent its occurrence. Let’s analyze some of the factors leading to a hammer toe.
What Causes Hammer Toe?
- Genetic Predisposition: If it is there in your genes, you can’t avoid it. If someone in your family has a hammer toe, there is a good chance that you might develop it too.
- Tight, Ill-Fitting Shoes: The next time you pick a pair of fancy shoes, make sure they fit you correctly. Ensure the heels are bearable, and your toes have space to breathe. Do not choose fashion over your health.
- Injury: You could also develop a hammer toe if someone has stepped on your toe hard or you have jammed it against a door.
- Health Conditions: Diseases like arthritis and diabetes can increase the chances of developing a deformed foot.
- Bunions: A bunion is a bony bump on the joint of the big toe. These painful swellings can also give birth to hammer toes.
- Arched Feet: An arched foot can also make the toes bend, causing this condition.
- Age: As we age, the risk of developing hammer toes increases.
- Toe Length: If your second toe is longer than your first, you are also at the risk of getting a hammer toe.
Most of the symptoms of hammer toe are visible and obvious. It is easy to detect this condition. Here are some symptoms of a hammer toe.
Is There A Way To Tell If You Are Developing A Hammer Toe?
Look for these signs:
- A bent, hammer-like toe
- Difficulty in walking
- Restriction in movement
- Calluses, corns, or soreness
- Inflammation at the joint of the toe
- Difficulty in straightening or flattening the toe
- Stiff middle joints
- Pain while wearing tight shoes or heels
- Redness and swelling
- Inability to flex or wiggle the toes
- Claw-like toes
No doubt, hammer toe is a painful condition where your toes bend like a hammer. However, this can be treated in the initial stages through exercise, by wearing well-fitting shoes, and using a toe straightener. Get any of the products listed above today and say goodbye to painful toes.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can people with arthritis wear hammer toe straighteners?
People with arthritis sometimes have bent toes. Toe straighteners help straighten and flatten them and provide relief from pain. Even if the toes are not bent in people with arthritis, they can use the product to prevent the toes from bending. However, it is always best to seek the advice of a doctor when you have a medical condition like this.
How often should you wear a hammer toe straightener?
Some hammer toe straighteners can be worn all day and even at night while sleeping, while some of them come handy only when you are wearing shoes. A few others only need to be worn for a few minutes each day. Go through the instructions on the manual to find out how long you can wear them.