Treating Hammer Toe at Home

Are you experiencing discomfort from your hammer toe? Discover the effective and simple treatments you can do at home to reduce your pain and achieve relief.

Quick facts: Treating Hammer Toe At Home

  • ✅ Non-invasive treatment options, such as padding, taping, and splinting, are the most effective in treating hammer toe at home. (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
  • ✅ Hammer toes can be treated with over-the-counter orthotics and custom-made orthotics. (The Cleveland Clinic)
  • ✅ Splinting and taping can be used to immobilize the hammer toe and keep it in a corrected position until the underlying muscles and tendons are strengthened. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Stretching exercises can help reduce pain and stiffness in the affected area and improve flexibility. (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  • ✅ Wearing proper footwear and toe spacers can help reduce pressure on the toes, allowing the hammer toe to heal. (Foot Health Facts)


Treating hammer toe at home can be a great way to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with this condition. Hammer toe is a deformity in which the toes become contracted and bend as if they were gripping something, making them more difficult to move and even painful when walking or running. Fortunately, there are some effective treatments that can be done at home to help alleviate symptoms.

Home treatments generally focus on:

  • Minimizing pressure on the toe
  • Correcting the alignment of the toe
  • Strengthening muscles and tendons
  • Reducing swelling
  • Providing pain relief

The first step in treating hammer toe at home is to ensure that shoes fit properly. Shoes should have wide enough toe boxes and adequate arch support. If possible, shoes should also provide cushioning for the ball of the foot. Additionally, an orthotic may be beneficial for those who are suffering from hammertoe caused by arthritis or other conditions that affect foot structure.

To reduce pressure on toes know how to properly tape or splint them. This will help keep them in their correct alignment while also providing additional support during movement. Other exercises such as stretching, yoga poses and massage may also provide relief from pain while improving flexibility in muscles and tendons in your feet.

Causes of Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is a condition in which the toes become curved and presses down on the sole of the foot. It usually affects the fourth and fifth toe and is caused by a combination of genetics, improper footwear, and muscle imbalances.

Let’s look at the causes of hammer toe in more detail:

Improperly fitting shoes

Improperly fitting shoes can cause hammer toes in both adults and children. Shoes that are too narrow or too short can squeeze the toes, pushing them into an unnatural position for an extended period of time, leading to a hammer toe deformity. Wearing high heels with a tight fit at the toes can also cause this condition. Shoes that fit improperly cause friction to occur at the joint of the toes, over time wearing away the tissue that keeps them in alignment.

It is important to find shoes that fit properly and provide enough toe room to keep your feet healthy.

Injury to the toe

Injury to the toe can be caused by dropping a heavy object on it. It can also occur when the toe is crushed in a door, or jammed when playing sports such as soccer or hockey. Hammer toe is also more likely to occur if an individual experiences foot conditions such as bunions, calluses, or corns. Engaging in activities that require frequent bending and flexing of the toes is another possible cause. People who wear ill-fitting shoes may also be at risk of developing hammer toe due to their feet being forced into an unnatural position for extended periods of time. Arthritis, diabetes, and nerve damage can increase an individual’s risk as well.


Arthritis can often be a cause of hammer toe. This is because when the joints in the toe become inflamed, it can cause stiffness or tightness in the joints, making the toes curl down or bend upward to an uncomfortable and unnatural position.

Certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also lead to other conditions that directly result in hammer toe symptoms. For example, inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis could make tendons around the toes shorter than usual, causing them to bend downward instead of resting flat like they should. Other types of diseases, such as diabetes and gout, can also be linked to hammer toe due to their effects on joint mobility.


Diabetes is a major risk factor for developing hammer toes because diabetes can cause poor circulation, nerve damage and changes in the structure and shape of your feet. When the nerves and blood vessels in your feet don’t function properly, it can cause hammer toe. Diabetes can also weaken the muscles that are responsible for controlling the motion of your toes as well as weakening bones, tendons and ligaments.

If you have diabetes, it’s essential to maintain good foot health by seeing a podiatrist regularly and managing your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to long-term damage including ulcers on the feet and even amputation.

Taking measures to prevent hammer toe from occurring is important if you have diabetes. Be sure to wear shoes that fit properly and are wide enough for your feet to move comfortably without excessive rubbing or pressure.

Symptoms of Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is a condition in which the toes are bent at the middle joint, making them look like a hammer. The most common symptoms of hammer toe can include:

  • pain or discomfort in your toes when wearing shoes
  • difficulty moving your toe
  • swelling or redness of your toes.

These can be indicative of developing hammer toe, and it’s important to know how to spot them so you can take action quickly.


Pain is one of the most common symptoms of hammer toe, and can range from a mild discomfort to severe, unbearable pain when moving the toes. The pain is usually due to the deformation of the toes or wearing tight, constricting shoes. Additionally, corns or calluses may form on the affected toes as a result of their malformation and rub against other toes or shoe material, increasing irritation and furthering discomfort. Additionally, it is common for individuals to experience cramping in the toe muscles due to their unnatural contortion.

It is important that individuals experiencing any level of foot pain seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to prevent further worsening of symptoms.


Swelling is one of the most common symptoms of hammer toe, and can often be seen in the area around the toes where the deformity is located. Swelling can also be present on both sides of the toe, as a result of a misalignment in the joints.

In addition to swelling, other symptoms may include pain, stiffness, redness, and decreased flexibility in the joint. Depending on how severe and long-term your hammer toe condition is, you may experience difficulty walking or carrying out everyday tasks such as putting on shoes or picking up objects.

Treatments for hammer toe can vary from wearing protective padding or custom orthotics to splinting the affected toe (if possible). If these home treatments do not relieve your symptoms, you should consider consulting with a foot specialist for other available treatments.


Redness around the affected toes is one of the most common symptoms of hammer toe. This redness may become more intense when pressure is applied to the area, such as when standing, walking or wearing shoes. The redness could also be the result of inflammation caused by the condition, or it could be a result of friction between your shoe and your toe.

Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • A bump that forms on top of your toe near the joint
  • A claw-like appearance where your toe is bent.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor for treatment options.

Difficulty moving the toe

Hammer toe is a condition in which one or more of the toes become bent at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. It usually affects one foot or two and can cause difficulty moving the affected toe.

Physicians often recommend that people with hammer toes wear shoes with a wide toe box, since shoes with an asymmetrical shape can cause friction on the affected toe and worsen symptoms of the condition.

Additionally, those suffering from hammer toe may want to do some stretching exercises to help increase flexibility in their feet and reduce stiffness in their affected toes. These exercises are especially helpful when done on a daily basis and can help alleviate some of the pain associated with hammer toe. Examples of these stretches include:

  • Flexing and extending your foot as far as possible.
  • Gently pulling your toes away from your heel.
  • Using a looped towel to gently stretch the muscles around your toes.

Home Treatments for Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is a common condition characterized by a deformity of one or both joints of the second, third, or fourth toes. People with hammer toe may experience pain and discomfort in the affected area. Thankfully, there are a number of home treatments you can safely use to reduce the symptoms of hammer toe.

Let’s look at some of the most effective home treatments for hammer toe:

Wear properly fitting shoes

Properly fitting shoes are one of the most effective home treatments for hammer toe. Shoes should be wide and deep enough to allow for adequate toe space and full flexion of the toes. When hammer toe is caused by tight, pointy or ill-fitting shoes, wearing properly fitted footwear can help to mitigate symptoms and slow down progression of the condition.

In many cases, people with hammer toe will benefit from wearing shoes that accommodate a splint or orthotic device. Additionally, wearing closed-toe sandals or sneakers may provide relief from pressure while walking or standing. People who experience discomfort should avoid high heels and other forms of footwear that force their toes into an unnatural configuration. Whenever possible, wear socks with your shoes to absorb moisture and reduce friction around your toes.

Use pads or spacers

Using pads or spacers is a simple and effective way to treat hammer toe at home without having to see a podiatrist. Pads and spacers are placed between the toes which helps straighten them out by pushing them apart. This reduces the pressure on the toe, helping it to return to its natural position.

Spacers come in all different shapes and sizes, from full-length toe splints all the way down to small gel sleeves that hug each individual toe and cushion it from contact with other toes. Additionally, foam or fabric-covered pads can help protect against corns or calluses from forming on the top of the hammertoes joint. To further reduce force on your toes place some cushioning material such as felt, foam, or padded fabric over any bony areas where your shoes may rub.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce the inflammation and discomfort associated with hammer toe. NSAIDs work by blocking the release of certain chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. It’s important to take these medications only as directed by your doctor. If taken in large doses or for extended periods of time, they can cause serious side effects, such as stomach ulcers and bleeding. You can also try treating a broken toe at home.

Additionally, taking NSAIDs alongside other medications may increase the risk of kidney damage or kidney failure. It’s best to talk to your doctor before taking any NSAIDS to ensure they are right for you.

Stretch your toes

Hammer toe is a condition that affects a person’s toes, causing them to bend involuntarily and often painfully. Fortunately, it can be treated at home with stretches and exercises.

Stretching the toes is an important part of hammer toe treatment. This involves gently stretching the toes and their surrounding tendons to keep them flexible. To stretch the toes, simply place a towel or handkerchief over the toes and flex them back and forth for several minutes each day. Repeat this exercise several times over the course of the day to really help to improve the flexibility of your toes. Additionally, by stretching your feet regularly you can help prevent hammer toe from developing in the first place.

Wear night splints

Night splints are a great way to treat hammer toe at home. Hammer toe is a condition that occurs when the middle joint of a toe bends and presses down against the ground. Night splints are worn while sleeping and prevent the toes from bending at night.

Wearing night splints can help to keep the toes in a straightened position and prevent them from becoming more flexed during sleep. If possible, it is best to sleep with shoes off or wear open-toed shoes so that the splint is able to function properly and provide optimal comfort for the affected area.

After wearing night splints for several weeks, many people experience improvement in their hammer toe condition as well as lessened pain and discomfort.

When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing symptoms of hammer toe and want to treat it at home, there are some things you can do to alleviate your pain. First, make sure to use comfortable shoes that fit properly. Shoes should have plenty of room in the toe area, allowing your toes to lay flat. You should avoid wearing pointy or narrow toes as this can aggravate the condition. Additionally, avoid activities that put strain on your feet such as running or jumping.

However, if your hammertoe is not improving despite taking these steps, it is best to contact a doctor. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the severity of your condition and may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and custom orthotics for further treatment. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary in order to permanently correct the deformity and allow for full motion of the foot. If you think that you might need medical intervention for your hammertoe condition, contact a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist as soon as possible for proper care.


Hammer toe is a common foot condition that can often be treated at home with the help of a few simple remedies. These can include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Wearing the right kind of shoes
  • Using gel toe protectors and insoles to reduce symptoms.

Additionally, foot soaks, icing the affected area, and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may also be helpful in treating hammer toe. It is important to speak to your doctor or podiatrist if your home treatments are not effective in relieving your symptoms or if your condition worsens. Ultimately, managing hammer toe before it progresses into a more serious condition will help you prevent long-term problems with your feet.

FAQs about: Treating Hammer Toe At Home

Q: What is the best way to treat hammer toe at home?

A: The best way to treat hammer toe at home is to wear roomier shoes and to use a foam or moleskin pad on the affected toe to reduce friction and pressure. Additionally, using an orthotic device or toe splint can provide additional support and help to straighten out the toe.

Q: What should I do if I am suffering from pain due to my hammer toe?

A: If you are suffering from pain due to your hammer toe, you can try taking over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Additionally, you can take hot and cold baths, or apply a cold compress to the area. If the pain persists, you should visit a doctor.

Q: How can I prevent hammer toe from getting worse?

A: To prevent hammer toe from getting worse, you should wear roomy shoes and avoid high heels. Additionally, you should avoid activities that require you to flex your toes too much, such as running and jumping. Additionally, you should use an orthotic device or toe splint to provide additional support and help to straighten out the toe.

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