Best Hammer Toe Straighteners in 2021

Hammer toes can be a painful condition as well as being unsightly and causing embarrassment.

They occur when the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the toes become damaged due to prolonged periods of being cramped. For example, when wearing high heel shoes or footwear with a narrow toe box.

But the good news is that if you catch them early enough, you can reverse the damage and train the muscles and tendons to straighten your toes again. The best hammer toe straighteners might sound like torture devices, but they’re designed to help fix this problem so you can walk and run comfortably and without pain.

Our top choice is the YOGABODY Toe Separators, as they’re made from latex-free rubber, are designed to restructure your feet, and are podiatrist-approved.

We’ve reviewed a variety of different products that are designed to relieve pain and help correct your toes. Choose which one suits you best!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

YOGABODY Toe Separators

 

  • Podiatrist-approved device
  • Alleviates pain
  • Stretches and restructures your feet
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Dr. Frederick’s Original Hammer Toe Cushion Set

 

  • 4 gel toe pads
  • Prevents digit rubbing
  • Washable and reusable
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NatraCure Gel Hammer Toe Crest Pads

 

  • One size fits most
  • Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
  • Reduces the stress on the metatarsal shafts
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Best Overall

1. YOGABODY Toe Separators

These toe separators are soft on the feet and won’t cause discomfort thanks to their SEBS rubber construction. Those who are allergic to latex needn’t worry, as these contain none of it, so they’re suitable for everyone.

This podiatrist-approved tool fits right over your toes and keeps them separate from one another. Not only does this help to prevent pain from metatarsalgia, but it also helps to keep the toes straight and prevent them from curling, effectively training the ligaments and tendons to work the way they should again.

This device is soft enough to wear for extended periods of time without feeling too much discomfort. You can even wear it in shoes, as long as they have a wide enough toe box to allow your toes to spread out comfortably. It’s also easy to wear at night to keep your toes separated while you sleep.

You will also get these in a wooden box so they’ll stay safe when you aren’t using them.

PROS:

  • Made with latex-free, SEBS rubber
  • Podiatrist-approved device
  • Alleviates pain
  • Stretches and restructures your feet

CONS:

  • Some may find the toe separators uncomfortable to wear with shoes

Best Runner-Up

2. Mind Bodhi Toe Separators

The Mind Bodhi toe separators are a close runner-up. They serve the same purpose, but they’re a little bulkier and thicker. If you feel that our best overall choice isn’t robust enough for your feet, this may be the one for you.

They are made from medical-grade gel that’s free of BPA and has been approved by podiatrists. The spacing has been optimized to provide comfort as well as practicality. The toe separator has been designed in an “activewear” style, which means it should be comfortable enough for you to wear even when you’re walking around.

It’s very easy to apply. Just slip it over your toes and leave them. You’ll find that they should spread out naturally and over time, they should be restored to their natural position.

Their low-profile design means you could wear them even inside shoes as you go about your daily activities. Unfortunately, they are only available in one size, which may not fit everybody’s feet comfortably.

PROS:

  • Made from 100% medical-grade gel
  • Optimized spacing
  • Activewear design
  • Soft and flexible

CONS:

  • Only available in one size which may not fit everyone

Best For Exercising

3. Dr. Frederick’s Original Hammer Toe Cushion Set

There’s no need to lose time when exercising. This set of 4 gel hammer toe cushions is great for individuals who want to wear them while they’re working out.

The soft gel makes you forget they’re even there, and won’t chafe or cause discomfort when worn.

They stretch and slip onto your toes easily. You can wear all 4 at once, or just one, depending on your needs.

They separate the toes well but also provide some support underneath the toes, where hammer toes would normally curl. This encourages them to stay straight and helps the ligaments to heal in the normal way.

You can wear them as often as you want, and they’re washable and reusable. If you’re doing high-intensity exercise, these toe separators may not stay in one place, which could be uncomfortable.

PROS:

  • Made from thermoplastic elastomer
  • 4 gel toe pads
  • Prevents digit rubbing
  • Washable and reusable

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the toe pads move even when wearing socks

Best Silicon Toe Guard

4. NatraCure Gel Hammer Toe Crest Pads

This silicon toe guard is minimalistic but it works well. It’s one-size-fits-most, so no matter how big your toes are, you should be able to use it comfortably and easily.

It’s made from a substance called SmartGel. It’s naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, and this toe ring works wonders because it releases compounds as you wear it that help nourish the skin, like mineral oil, aloe vera, and vitamins.

Its shape allows toe spacing but also it will provide a small cushion to relieve pain from other foot conditions like metatarsalgia. It’s soft and easy to stretch to put on, but some may feel that it’s too soft and can tear easily.

PROS:

  • One size fits most
  • Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
  • Slowly releases Medical Grade Mineral Oil, Vitamin E and Aloe Vera
  • Reduces the stress on the metatarsal shafts

CONS:

  • Some people may find the toe ring to be to soft and it tears

Best Toe Stretcher

5. YogaToes Toe Stretcher

These toe stretchers may look a little bulky, but they work well for their purpose. A word of warning upfront—you probably won’t be able to wear your shoes with these on your feet. Because of their size, some people may find them hard to get on.

They use an EZ-Fit system to fit them over the foot without difficulty. They’re also free from latex, BPA, and phthalates, so they’re not a problem for skin contact.

You can get these in small and extra small sizes. Those with larger feet should be able to stretch them easily to fit on them.

PROS:

  • BPA, Latex and Phthalate Free
  • EZ-Fit
  • Available in extra small and small
  • Stretch and align your toes

CONS:

  • Some people may find them difficult to put on

Best Toe Crest Pad

6. PediFix Podiatrists’ Choice Toe Straightener

This is a supportive toe crest pad that can be used to strengthen and support a single hammer toe.

Slip it over your problem toe and tighten it accordingly using the adjustable toe loop, and the soft underfoot pad will offer support and comfort.

You can use it on either foot, and on any toe, as long as you position it correctly. It’s also soft enough to be worn under socks and inside shoes, if you don’t mind that. If you’re using it barefoot, there’s a chance that the pad underneath the foot gets bent as it’s stepped on, because it’s quite thin even though it’s a double-layered cushion.

It may be a little bit awkward trying to use this for a big toe or little toe. It’s designed more to be used for the middle toe, although the other two should work as well.

PROS:

  • Dual-layer cushion
  • Can be used on either the left or right foot
  • Encourages proper toe alignment
  • Adjustable toe loop

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the pad that goes underneath your foot is too flexible and flexes upward

Best Single Gel Separator

7. 5 STARS UNITED Toe Separator

Sometimes you don’t need to separate all your toes. Maybe the problem is just in one toe, and you need to keep that particular one straightened and away from the next. In those cases, this single gel separator is a good choice.

You’ll get six in a pack when you buy, but they’re designed to be used one at a time. They’re anatomically-shaped to fit around the curves of your toes and they’re manufactured from soft, non-slip gel so it won’t cause discomfort having them on your feet.

These are good for a variety of foot conditions, not just hammer toes. It’s easy to put them on wherever you need them, and you can also sleep with them if you want relief overnight.

There’s no way to choose a bigger or smaller size, so the fit may not be quite right for your feet.

PROS:

  • Shaped to follow the anatomy of your toes
  • Made from soft gel
  • Non-slip
  • Alleviates pain and tension

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the fit is a bit too tight

Best Toe Wrap

8. ZenToes Cushioned Fabric Toe Wraps

These little toe wraps are like small, soft splints that can be used to stick toes together or separate them. When you buy, you’ll get four in a pack so you’ll always have one handy if you need it.

You can use these on any toe, on either foot. They’re gently padded so they aren’t uncomfortable, and the non-slip fabric means they won’t be falling off randomly.

These toe wraps are FDA-registered. They may not last as long as some of the others, but they’ll do a good job of helping straighten your toes.

PROS:

  • Lightly padded
  • Non-slip fabric
  • Helps to alleviate pain
  • FDA Registered

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the fabric has too much stretch

Best Gel Kit

9. Dr. Frederick’s Original Complete Bunion Pad & Spacer Kit

This is a comprehensive kit to take care of your toes properly. You’ll get 7 pairs of toe straighteners, including some with bunion cushions in case you need that too.

They’re made out of soft gel so they’re comfortable to have on and you could even sleep with them. They’re designed to create gentle pressure on the toes to correct muscle and ligament imbalances.

They are one-size-fits-all, so there’s a chance your toes may be too small for them to fit comfortably. Some may find that these are difficult to wear with shoes, as they tend to move around.

PROS:

  • 14 bunion pads and toe straighteners
  • Made from soft gel
  • One size fits all bunion splint
  • Five different types of spacers

CONS:

  • Some people may find that they don’t stay in place even when wearing shoes

Best Kit With Sleeves

10. Vive Bunion Aid Kit

This kit contains 13 pieces of useful equipment, including soft gel spacers, sleeves, bunion guards, and bunion splints.

The gel pieces are made from soft silicon, and won’t aggravate the skin. They’re non-toxic and free from latex, and all of them are washable so you can use and reuse them as many times as you need.

You most likely won’t use all the tools in this kit. But rather have the tools and not us them than need them and not have them!

PROS:

  • 13-piece set
  • Made from soft silicone
  • Nontoxic, latex-free
  • One size fits all

CONS:

  • You may never use all the tools in this kit

FAQs

What are hammer toes?

When there is a muscle imbalance of the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the toes, this can lead to being unable to straighten your toes. This then causes the toe to bend or curve abnormally.

Sometimes hammer toes can be genetic, or it may develop if your second toe is longer than your big toe. Certain foot injuries can lead to hammer toes and people who have arthritis or diabetes are at a higher risk of developing hammer toes.

Wearing footwear that doesn’t fit you correctly because it’s too narrow in the toe box or wearing high heels on a regular basis puts you at a higher risk of developing hammer toes. This is from the pressure that is placed on the forefoot by the shoe, which causes the toes to bend abnormally.

What does a hammer toe straightener do?

A hammer toe straightener applies pressure to straighten the toe by gently pushing the toe into its natural position.

This also helps to prevent the muscles, ligaments, and tendons from tightening in a curled position under another toe.

What different hammer toe orthotics are there?

There are a number of different hammer toe orthotics that are available to help separate and realign the toes.

There are metatarsal cushions—ball of foot—toe socks, hammer toe crest pads, toe wraps, toe splints and toe separators.

How can you treat hammer toes?

Make sure you change your footwear to shoes that have a wide toe box and wear shoes that either have minimal or no heel.

Stretch your toe daily at least several times a day and do some toe exercises to help strengthen the toes, as this can help to develop the muscles so that the toe can straighten out.

You can put a towel on the floor and, using your toes, scrunch up the towel.

You may also want to use orthotic insoles, which you can buy over the counter to help alleviate the pain. If they don’t work, then you should go and see a podiatrist and they’ll be able to prescribe a custom-fitted orthotic.

If the hammer toes don’t straighten or if they become too rigid, then surgery may have to be considered.

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