Treatments for Hammer Toe: Understanding Your Options

5 October 2023
 Categories: , Blog

A hammer toe is a deformity where the middle toe joint bends abnormally, resembling a hammer. It can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. There are many treatments available to ease the symptoms of hammer toe and prevent it from getting worse. This piece will discuss the different treatments and how they can help improve the condition of the hammer toe.

Toe exercises

Toe exercises can help stretch the muscles and ligaments that affect the positioning of the toes. Doing these exercises regularly can improve your toe’s flexibility and help prevent it from getting worse. Simple exercises such as stretching or flexing your toes can go a long way in treating hammer toe. Toe separators can also be used to help stretch and straighten the toes.

Orthotic devices

Orthotic devices are specially designed to help relieve pressure on the affected toes and support the arch of the foot. A podiatrist can prescribe custom-made orthotic devices that are tailored to the shape and size of the individual’s feet. These can include foot pads, cushions, inserts, and toe splints. These devices help in redistributing the pressure evenly and promoting healing in the affected area.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help alleviate pain and strengthen the muscles in the foot and ankle. A physical therapist can recommend exercises that focus on strengthening these muscles. This therapy can also teach the patient how to stretch and do other exercises at home to improve the condition of the hammer toe. Physical therapy can also help prevent or slow down the progression of the condition.


Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help minimize swelling and pain. Topical creams and gels can also provide pain relief. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be given to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected toe.


Surgery is typically the last resort to treat hammer toe and is only recommended if the condition is severe and the other treatments have not worked. Surgery for hammer toe involves rebalancing the tendons and bones, straightening the toe, and removing the deformed joint if necessary. It is usually done as an outpatient procedure, and the patient can return home on the same day.

While hammer toe can be a painful and distressing condition, there are many ways to treat and alleviate its symptoms and prevent it from getting worse. Toe exercises, orthotic devices, physical therapy, medications, and surgery are all effective treatments that can help improve the condition of the hammer toe. If you are experiencing symptoms of hammer toe, seek medical advice from a podiatrist. With the right treatment, you can enjoy pain-free and comfortable feet once again. 

For more info, contact a local podiatrist