Splints, Socks, and Wraps: Treatments for Hammertoe

A hammertoe, also known as a contracted toe, is a deformity of the middle joint of the toe that causes the toe to contract upward and become permanently bent. It typically occurs in the second, third, and fourth toes and several toes can be affected at a time. Hammertoe is usually the result of pressure from footwear, especially high heels that force the toes to contract and eventually take on the position permanently.

How Certain Products Can Relieve the Pain of Hammertoe

Hammertoe is painful and that pain is made worse while wearing shoes because the top of the toe is constantly rubbing against the inside of the shoe. Hammertoe is also associated with painful corns and calluses that develop on the toe itself and on the ball of the foot.

Several over-the-counter products help to relieve the immediate discomfort of hammertoe. These products are designed to cushion and protect problem areas. Some work to stretch the toes downward to counteract the upward pull, but they can't completely eliminate hammertoe, which is a permanent condition that can only be fixed with surgery. However, surgery is invasive and expensive, and it should be used as a last resort. The following products are known to treat hammertoe symptoms, and they just might provide the relief you need.

A Note to Diabetics

If you have a health condition that affects leg circulation or wound healing, such as diabetes, it is best to first see a podiatrist for the care of any symptoms caused by a hammertoe. Some products are not recommended for people living with diabetes, so it's important to check the product label before you buy.

1

Products like Flex-Tastic Toe Relaxers are used to stretch the toes to counteract the excessive tendon pulling that contributes to hammertoe. According to Flex-Tastic, wearing toe relaxers for five minutes a day is enough to reduce pain symptoms. Many who suffer from hammertoe find toe stretchers to be extremely effective in relieving soreness. A similar product is ​YogaToes.

2

Hammertoes can also cause pain on the ball of the foot, a condition known as metatarsalgia. These metatarsal pads have a loop that slips around the second or third toe and keeps the pad in place underneath the ball of the foot. Often a bunion on the big toe will cause the second toe to develop into a hammertoe and cause pain on the ball of the foot underneath the second toe. Metatarsal pads are designed to be worn with footwear, and they can even be used alongside arch supports or orthotic inserts.

3

Profoot's Toe Straight wraps are designed to splint two toes together to temporarily straighten and cushion a hammertoe. This type of product may be helpful for reducing toe pain that occurs from rubbing against the shoe and for separating overlapping toes. Toe Straight wraps are soft, comfortable, and adjustable.

4

These gel-lined toe socks from FootSmart cushion the toes and provide major relief for hammertoes that have developed painful corns or friction areas from rubbing against the inside of the shoe. They also separate the toes, which is helpful for overlapping toes that can rub against each other, resulting in sore areas and corns.

5

Toe crests are designed to wrap around a single toe, usually the second, and pull it slightly downward. These toe crests are made of a gel that provides cushion underneath the toes, not the ball of the foot as a metatarsal pad does. Like the metatarsal pad and toe splints, toe crests can be worn while wearing shoes.

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