The 8 Best Hammer Toe Straighteners of 2022

YogaToes GEMS Toe Stretcher straightens all of your toes without discomfort

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The 8 Best Hammer Toe Straighteners of 2022

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

If you’ve ever wondered why one of your toes curls down underneath its neighbors, it may be because you have a hammer toe or a defect in the middle joint of your toe. “A hammertoe is a contracture in a toe where the tendon can pull the toe from the bottom or the top,” explains Bradley Schaeffer, DPM, a Board Certified Foot and Ankle Surgeon. “When this contracture happens, the toe deforms and seems to look like a hammer.”

Reviewed & Approved

Using gel, YogaToes GEMS Toe Stretcher straightens all of your toes without causing discomfort. We recommend 5 STARS UNITED Toe Separators Hammer Toe Straightener because it targets one problem toe and is budget-friendly.

While painless at first, hammer toe can worsen over time if left untreated, according to Patrick McEneaney, DPM, podiatrist, and owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Luckily, hammer toe straighteners can help.

When looking for a hammer toe device, it's important to purchase one that exerts a straightened force but does not cause discomfort. We researched dozens of hammer toe straighteners and evaluated them for material, price, and comfort.

Here are the best hammer toe straighteners on the market today.

Best Overall: YogaToes GEMS: Gel Toe Stretcher & Toe Separator

4.9
YogaToes GEMS

YogaToes

Pros
  • Painlessly realigns toes

  • Inexpensive

Cons
  • Can’t wear under socks or with shoes

We love the YogaToes Gem stretcher and separator as our best overall choice for treating hammer toe. Not only is it comfortable and can offer quick relief, but it’s available at a reasonable price too. This product is available as a set (for your left and right foot) and is made in the USA using a BPA-free gel that is tough, but still flexible. 

It is recommended to wear these straighteners for 15 minutes and start building up to an hour. These are available in men’s and women’s sizes and the playful design looks like you’re holding gems between your toes. They can be a little big and bulky though, and they don’t fit inside socks or shoes—so take some time to pamper yourself, put your feet up, stretch your toes, and take a break.

Material: 100 percent medical grade gel, BPA and latex-free | Additional Benefits: May help bunions, plantar fasciitis, crossed toes, claw toes, and more

Best Overall Runner-up: DR JK Original ToePal Toe Separator and Toe Straightener

DR JK Original ToePal Toe Separators and Toe Straighteners

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Two-piece device lengthens and separates toes to realign joints

  • Extremely affordable

  • Flexible to comfortably fit and meet your toes where they’re at now, to help them adjust in the future

Cons
  • Can’t wear them in most shoes, but can wear under socks

  • Doesn’t come in multiple sizes

If you’re looking for relief from hammer toe pain at a price that can fit your budget, this is a great option. This four-pack from ToePal comes with a set of toe straighteners and a separate set of toe separators to help target the part of your feet that need the most relief. 

Made with stretchy medical-grade gel, these can fit most feet and are low profile enough that you can wear them with socks (or a pair of roomy slippers) when walking around the house. 

Depending on your toe size, you may even be able to wear both the straighteners and separators at the same time. It’s recommended to take breaks frequently though and not to wear them for long periods of time—especially if it starts to interfere with blood circulation.

Material: Gel | Additional Benefits: May help bunions, Hallux valgus, bunionette, hammer toes, and claw toes.

Best Budget: 5 STARS UNITED Toe Separators Hammer Toe Straightener

5 STARS UNITED Toe Separators Hammer Toe Straightener

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Can wear as much as you want, as needed

  • More low-key than other toe separators

Cons
  • Only for people with one problem toe, not for multiple injured toes

Most of the hammer toe straighteners on this list will fit across all of your toes, but while very effective, they can limit your ability to put on a pair of comfy shoes and take a walk outside or around the office. That’s why this set of single-toe separators is perfect for anyone who just needs relief around one or two toes.

Each separator is soft and stretchy and slides onto your toe like a ring. There is a large spacer on one side that you can place on either the left or right side of your toe depending on which direction you need your toe to point. These separators can help keep your hammer toe straight and are incredibly low-profile, meaning they can be worn with shoes and even some sandals.

They even come in five different colors including clear and a very colorful blue. This set can be worn all day and even at night — just make sure to check with your doctor to make sure you don’t wear them too long.

Material: Gel | Additional Benefits: May help with calluses and corns, overlapping toes, toe joint pain, hammer toe, and skin irritation

Best Hammer Toe Brace: BBTO 4-Piece Hammer Toe Straightener

BBTO 4 Pieces Hammer Toe Straightener

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Two-in-one device: relieves toe and ball of foot pain with one device

  • Adjustable fit loop fits on any toe size on your foot

  • A more discreet option; on the surface it looks like a bandage

Cons
  • Only straightens one toe at a time

  • May not work for more severe cases

Hammer toe straighteners can provide a lot of relief from foot pain but they can also be a little bulky and hard to hide in sandals or a pair of shoes that show off your toes. These hammer toe braces are designed to hide inside most shoes.

The brace sits under the ball of the foot (which can add extra cushion and support to the ball of your foot and help reduce arch pain) and has an adjustable strap that goes up and around the toe—so it can fit any adult toe, no matter how big or small. 

The strap is made of fabric and looks like a band-aid when worn, so no one would be able to tell that you’re wearing a toe support. Just adjust the strap so that it keeps your hammer toe straight and flat—but make sure not to over-tighten it and cause discomfort. 

These straighteners are very durable and can be hand washed, which you’ll appreciate after a long day in your sweaty shoes. They come in a pack of four but are very wide and can only be worn on one toe at a time, so you’ll definitely have a few spares on hand.

Material: Fibrous composite, washable, and reusable | Additional Benefits: Helps overlapping toes, mallet toes, and v-shaped toes, while protecting the ball of the foot with the soft cushion underneath

Best for Under Shoes: ZenToes Toe Wraps

 ZenToes Broken Toe Wraps Cushioned Bandages

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  •  Discrete and flexible

  • Can fit and be worn under shoes and socks

  • Washable, reusable fabric

Cons
  • Only wraps two toes at a time

  • Cannot be worn 24/7 or for more than 18 hours in a row

When it comes to an effective, simple, and non-invasive toe straightener, it would be challenging to find one more straight forward than the ZenToes Broken Toe Wraps. These wraps are especially low-profile and look like mini medical wraps that can securely wrap around two toes. 

These wraps are intended to stabilize and strengthen individual toes as well as treat common foot conditions like hammer toes, broken toes, and crooked toes. They are washable and can be reused over and over again as needed, just make sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations because you shouldn’t wear these straps for more than 18 hours at a time. 

Each package comes with four wraps and is one-size-fits-all. Each strap is made out of breathable nylon and is so thin they can be worn comfortably in almost any sock or shoe that you may even forget you’re wearing it all.

Material: Fabric | Additional Benefits: Promotes healing for broken toes, separates hammer toes, and alleviates pain

Best for Bunions: ZenToes Gel Toe Cap and Protector

ZenToes Gel Toe Cap and Protector

ZenToes

Pros
  • Completely covers toe, preventing friction and promotes healing

  • Flexible gel material that molds to any toe (even your little toe)

  • Stays in place

Cons
  • You must trim product to fit smaller toes

  • Entire gel covering may feel hot, uncomfortable, and cause sweating

Foot pain from hammer toe can be pretty uncomfortable, but it can be made even worse if you are also dealing with corns, calluses, blisters, or damage to your toenails from wearing uncomfortable shoes. These toe caps work to protect your toes from accidentally getting jammed or bumped as you go through your day.

These soft gel caps can be worn over any toe and molded to help keep your toe straightened out. It can also work to protect any sensitive or delicate corns or blisters from friction or impact while you walk. 

Each package comes with six toe caps and are available in three different colors—black, white, and beige—and in small and large toe sizes. So no matter which toes are giving you trouble, you should be able to buy a size that fits. However, if you have shorter toes, you may need to cut down the length of the cap to get that perfect fit.  

The ZenToes caps are latex-free and washable so you can reuse them multiple times. They are fairly low-profile and can fit in a sock and in most loose-fitting shoes. They are also safe enough to run or walk in but make sure to take breaks if it causes any discomfort.

Material: Latex-free gel | Additional Benefits: Can help heal bunions, ingrown toenails, blisters, corns, and hammer toes

Best for Winter: Triim Fitness Toe Separator Socks

Triim Fitness Toe Separator Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Stay warm in the winter with an entire foot and ankle covering

  • Can be worn like most socks; wear while doing any relaxing activity around the house

  • Pedicure-friendly; toes are exposed

Cons
  • Cannot be worn under shoes

  • Not discreet

Especially during the colder winter months, few things can get you feeling as warm and cozy as a nice pair of thick, comfy socks. The Triim Fitness Toe Separator Socks combine a traditional toe separator design with a pair of breathable cotton socks.

When you slip them on, your toes will fit through the individual holes to help separate and stretch out your toes and that painful hammer toe too. They are comfortable enough to wear with shoes and the manufacturer even recommends them for pedicures, so you can leave your socks on while you treat yourself.

They are available in a colorful three-pack and are washable and reusable—so if you like how they feel, pick up a few packs and you’ll be set for the week.

Material: Soft acrylic cotton blend | Additional Benefits: Works for alignment, bunions, hammer toes, overall foot pain, and promotes healthy blood circulation; Good for those with diabetes or going through menopause

Best Crest Pad: Dr. Frederick's Original 4 Piece Hammer Toe Treatment Set

Dr. Frederick's Original 4 Piece Hammer Toe Treatment Set

Dr. Frederick's

Pros
  • Offers arch support

  • Can customize to how many toes you have on each foot that are in pain; one toe or all of them

  • Can be worn under socks and shoes

Cons
  • Gel material may feel sweaty or uncomfortable if worn for long periods of time

Finding a proper treatment for hammer toe can be a challenge and your specific needs may not always be met by other toe straighteners. The Dr. Frederick’s hammer toe treatment set aims to combine many of the best elements of other toe straighteners in a size that’s small enough to fit inside your shoes. Made with a stretchy gel material, these straighteners come in a four-pack and are one-size-fits-all, so need to worry about measuring your feet or toes ahead of time. They can fit around three toes at a time—a single toe loop design is also sold separately—and are attached to a brace that sits beneath your toes. 

This low-profile brace is slim, contoured, and sleek enough to fit inside your socks and shoes. The toe loops can help separate and straighten your hammer toe and the padded brace helps hold it in place. 

On top of all that, they are also washable and reusable meaning you can rotate them out regularly without worrying about them getting too stinky or sweaty after repeated use. But like many of the other pain relievers on this list, there is no suggested maximum amount of time that they can be worn, make sure to take breaks and not wear them overnight until you know how they interact with your feet.

Material: Gel | Additional Benefits: Washable and reusable, straightens toes, corrects hammer toes, and relieves pain

Final Verdict

While hammer toe can take time to correct — and talking to a podiatrist or experienced physician is highly encouraged —there is a lot you can do today to ease your pain. That’s why we love the YogaToes GEMS: Gel Toe Stretcher & Toe Separator because they are incredibly flexible and can fit most people’s feet for quick relief from hammer toe pain. The large gem design encourages you to treat yourself and stretch out on the couch for a much deserved rest. 

But if you’re looking for pain relief that won’t slow down your on-the-go routine, you should definitely consider the Dr. Frederick's Original 4 Piece Hammer Toe Treatment Set because they can help treat hammer toe while walking and fits inside almost any shoe. The price is very affordable and can slip on quickly.

How We Selected the Hammer Toe Straighteners

When choosing products that can help alleviate hammer toe pain, we talked to several podiatrists and experts to learn more about what causes hammer toe and ways to correct or prevent it from forming. We compared many products and looked at the quality of materials that were used, how they were designed, and how easy or difficult they were to use.

We wanted to highlight straighteners that could be worn in a shoe as well as those that required you to stay off your feet. We included different types that would also match different lifestyles and types of shoes too. Price and budget were major factors in building this list because we wanted to include products that matched different budgets so that you can still find pain relief, even if your finances are a little tight.

What to Look for in Hammer Toe Straighteners

Fit

You could make things worse for yourself by wearing an orthotic that doesn’t fit properly—too big and it could slide around (rubbing on other parts of your foot), but too small and it could place too much pressure on the bones of your toes and feet, causing further injury.

This why the fit of your toe straightener is so important. If wearing it causes you pain or hurts after wearing them for just a short time, the fit may be to blame. “People with flexibility in their toes can wear a good quality toe straightener everyday,” says Shannon Thompson, DPM, a podiatrist practicing in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Make sure you use a toe straightener that fits snugly, without moving around, but doesn’t feel uncomfortably tight.

When and Where it will be Worn

As you can see from this list, there are several ways to encourage hammer toes to stretch and straighten out, but not all of them can be worn with shoes or as you go about your daily life.

“Hammertoe straighteners can be worn whenever someone is feeling pain or going for a long walk where they know that their toes are going to hurt them," says Schaeffer. “But in the end, this is a very short-term fix.”

If you need to wear one during the day, you’ll need to choose a style that can be worn with shoes; if you only want to use one at night (or while you’re binging Netflix), you have more options. 

Arch and Toe Support

The defect in the middle joint of your toe is partially caused by a lack of arch support, which forces your toes to work harder to stabilize your balance. As a result, people with too-flat or too-high arches tend to develop hammer toe more frequently. Proper padding for your arches can relieve symptoms, so look for straighteners that give the right amount of support.

Toe straighteners that aren’t designed to be walked in won’t give your feet the support that they need and can even make matters worse if they aren’t used as recommended. “Some toe straighteners should only be worn when you’re sitting with your feet up,” says Thompson. “If you tried to walk in those you could risk metatarsal fracture.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are there any risks associated with hammer toe straighteners?

    The purpose of a hammer toe straightener is to realign the joint of the deformed toe, but sometimes it works in reverse and bends the healthy toe or toes instead. “You have to be careful because sometimes the straighteners that you strap to the toe next door if you have one toe that is becoming deformed while you’re trying to put it next to the straight toe to make it straight,” says Patrick McEneaney, DPM, podiatrist, and owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. “Sometimes it can actually pull the other toe into a deformity.”

    Keep in mind toe straighteners are only effective when used as directed and consistently starting early on, and you may need a combination of orthotics to help your own toes. When you’re shopping for new shoes, wear your orthotics to find the best size and fit.

  • How often should you wear a hammer toe straightener?

    This depends on the product you’re choosing. Some may be worn 24/7, while others should only be worn for 60 minutes or up to 18 hours. Clear instructions on this will be printed on the packaging of each product.

    If you are experiencing pain or other side effects as result of wearing them, consider taking a break or choosing a different style or a pair made out of a different material. “There are some toe straighteners that tend to cause skin irritation in some people as well,” says Thompson. “A general rule of thumb when looking for a toe straightener is that it really shouldn’t hurt.”

  • Can people with arthritis wear hammer toe straighteners?

    Over time, arthritis can cause toes to curl or bend or rest in different directions, even if this has never happened to you before. Therefore, you may use toe straighteners to correct this problem and provide relief. “People with arthritis can wear a hammertoe straightener but this particular deformity is more bone-related,” says Schaeffer. “If bones become too arthritic, the hammertoe straightener will not straighten the toe out properly or be effective.” If you’re ever unsure, check with your doctor to confirm.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As an experienced health writer, Steven Rowe knows how to truly evaluate a product and tell the difference between marketing claims and real facts so that you can find the best products that actually work and make your day better. He has experience covering health tech and researching the best treatment options and resources available for the people who need it.

Additional reporting to this story by Sarah Bradley

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cleveland Clinic. Hammer toes: Causes, relief, & treatment.

  2. Watson A. Hammertoe deformity treatment and management. Medscape.