Feet with splints between toes after hammertoe surgery

How to Correct a Hammertoe Without Surgery

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Can you correct a hammertoe without surgery? It’s difficult, but not impossible. There are methods you can do at home and orthopedic tools that could resolve this painful issue. Here’s how to correct a hammertoe without surgery safely.

How to Correct a Hammertoe Without Surgery – What Are the Nonsurgical Treatments

Hammertoe is a toe deformity that causes it to bend downward at the middle joint. The condition may be genetic, but it can also be caused by tight shoes and wearing high heels for extended periods.

Hammertoe can usually be corrected without surgery by wearing orthopedic shoes and doing exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles. In severe cases, surgery may be the only solution. If your toe is flexible and doesn’t hurt, you can relieve hammertoe at home and with orthopedic tools and experts.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can help relieve hammertoe issues with various exercises and treatments. They may have the patient stretch the toes, massage them, and do exercises that will help strengthen the foot muscles.

Exercises and treatments done in physical therapy can significantly reduce pain and improve the range of motion of patients’ feet. It’s also recommended to attend physical therapy after surgery for hammertoe because patients recover and regain movement faster.

Footwear Modifications

If you have difficulty finding shoes that fit, you can make a few modifications to existing footwear to ease the discomfort: 

  • Add padding to the ball of the foot, like moleskin, a gel insert, or even some folded-up tissues,
  • Trim the toe box of your shoes to give your toes more room to move and stretch,
  • If you have a wide foot, hammertoe is likely more painful for you, so wearing wider shoes will relieve some of the pressure,
  • Use toe spacers or separators to help your toes stay in the correct position; these can be worn at any time of day,
  • If you have flat feet or high arches, using arch supports can take some pressure off your toes.

Use of Orthotics

Orthotics are devices that help correct foot deformities, including hammertoe. The ones used for this particular issue are worn inside the shoe. There are two main types of orthotics: those that provide support and those that correct alignment. 

Supportive orthotics, also called arch supports, act like shock absorbers and help distribute weight evenly across the foot. Alignment orthotics are designed to realign the bones in the foot, so they are correctly positioned.

They can be made from various materials, including plastic, metal, and leather. There are customized versions to fit the individual’s foot and over-the-counter options in pharmacies.

Custom-made orthotics are usually more expensive but are also more effective because they’re specifically designed for the individual’s foot. Orthotics should be worn as instructed by a healthcare professional because improper use can worsen foot problems.

Splinting is a Good Option, Too

In some cases, the therapist may recommend using a splint. Splints are often very helpful in correcting deformities and relieving pain, and they work by holding the toes in the correct position and preventing them from bending.

This conditions the toes to stay in the same position, as splints are generally used for keeping the injured parts of the body still. Splints help with pain and increase the chances of healing and correcting the deformity, or hammertoe, in this case.

A child's feet with splinters on both sides

If Conservative Treatments Don’t Work, Consult With Your Surgeon

If you’re experiencing pain from hammertoe, there are several things you can do to find relief. With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a solution that works for you.

If these non-surgical methods don’t work for you and pain in the toes becomes a much bigger issue, contact a professional specializing in hammertoe surgery and recovery, such as our team at Luxe Foot Surgery.

We’re available Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 6 PM and Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM. You can contact us at our official website, Luxe Foot Surgery, or reach us via phone for any information you’d like to learn about hammertoe resolutions.


How Can I Straighten My Hammer Toes at Home?

Besides wearing comfortable shoes that suit your feet’s width and length, you can try the following methods:

  • Stretch your toes – this will lengthen the muscles and tendons in your foot and ease the pain of hammertoe,
  • Soak your feet – soaking your feet in warm water several times a day can reduce inflammation and pain,
  • Massage your feet – gently massaging your feet can also reduce pain and inflammation.

Can You Straighten a Hammer Toe Without Surgery?

The good news is that you can straighten a hammertoe without surgery, but the solution depends on the severity of the deformity and the amount of pain you are experiencing.

In some cases where hammertoe isn’t severe and can be resolved non-surgically, splinting or taping the affected toe can help straighten it and relieve pain. Your doctor may also recommend special shoe inserts or pads to help cushion and support your foot.

How Do You Reverse Hammer Toe Naturally?

To reverse your hammertoe naturally, you should always wear comfortable shoes. This may seem obvious, but ensuring your shoes fit well and aren’t too tight is essential. The wrong footwear can exacerbate hammertoe pain and severely damage your joints.

When you’re in a lot of pain, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but they relieve the pain for a while, not permanently. If it becomes unbearable, your doctor will most likely recommend a surgical procedure for hammertoe.

What Happens if You Don’t Fix a Hammer Toe?

Anyone with hammertoe issues may experience pain and difficulty moving their affected toe. The affected areas may also become irritated, red, and inflamed, increasing the chances of developing blisters. If left untreated, hammertoe can cause severe joint damage and pain, becoming intolerable.

If you think you have hammertoe issues, it is vital to see a doctor for an evaluation. The physician will examine your foot, assess the severity of the deformity, and suggest adequate solutions for the problem.


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