Hammer Toe Splint: Types, Benefits & Side Effects

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Lara Mokhtar, MD Written by - Dr. Diksha Sangle


Hammer Toe Splints

Hammer toes, a common condition, can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking. If you have ever experienced the bending or curling of one or more of your toes, you are likely familiar with its challenges. Fortunately, effective solutions are available, and one such remedy is using hammer-toe splints.

Hammer toes, a common condition, can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking. If you have ever experienced the bending or curling of one or more of your toes, you are likely familiar with its challenges. Fortunately, effective solutions are available, and one such remedy is using hammer-toe splints.

Their simple yet engineered devices are designed to elevate the discomfort and correct the alignment of misaligned toes. For a non-invasive approach to managing this condition, and when used correctly, they can relieve pain and prevent the infection from worsening.

In this article, we will delve into the world of hammer toe splints, exploring their various types, how they work, their benefits, and essential tips for selecting and wearing them. Whether you are seeking relief from hammer toe discomfort or are curious about this potential solution, read on to discover how these devices can make a significant difference in your foot health and overall well-being. 1 Introduction | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


What does Splints do for Hammer Toe?

  • Pain relief
  • Improves alignment of the toes.
  • Prevents further progression of the disease

Splints can effectively manage the discomfort lead by hammer toe with the following measures:

Pain relief

  • Hammer toe splints can provide effective pain relief for people suffering from discomfort associated with misaligned toes.
  • Gently strengthening and supporting the affected to help alleviate pressure on the joints and surrounding tissues, reducing pain and discomfort during daily activities.

Improved alignment

  • One of the primary purposes of hammer toes is to correct the misalignment of the affected toe gradually. Over time, consistent efforts can help align the toes to a more natural position. This improved alignment enhances your feet‘ aesthetics and improves overall foot function.

Prevention of progression

  • Hammer toes often worsen over time if left untreated. Splints can play a crucial role in preventing the progression of the condition.
  • Maintaining proper alignment can keep the deformity from worsening, potentially reducing the need for more invasive treatment such as surgery. 2 Benefits | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health ,3 Benefits | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health , 4 Benefits | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Types of Hammer Toe Splints

Rigid splints

  • They are typically made of firm materials like plastic or metal. They are designed to provide robust and stable support for the affected toe.
  • They are effective at straightening and immobilizing the toe. They are often recommended for severe hammer toe cases or when a high level of support and correction is needed.
  • While rigid splints offer excellent corrective properties, they may be uncomfortable for some people during extended wear.

Soft splints

  • They are made from cushion flexible material such as silicon or foam. They are intended to offer the toe soft support and padding.
  • They are less likely to irritate and are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They are suitable for mild to moderate hammer toe cases and relieve discomfort.
  • They may not offer the same level of corrective force as rigid splints, making them more suitable for symptom management than for severe deformities.

Adjustable splints

  • They often have straps, Velcro, or other fit and tension customization mechanisms. They can be modified to handle various quantities of various.
  • They are adaptable and can be customized to meet specific requirements. They balance correction and comfort, making them suitable for various severities.
  • It may be necessary to achieve the desired alignment; some people may find the customization process more involved. 6 Types| Researched based study from ScienceDirect


How do Hammer Toe Splints Work?

Toe straightening

  • The primary goal is to straighten the affected toe gradually bend or call due to muscle imbalance or other factors.
  • They apply gentle, consistent pressure to coax the toe into a more natural, straight position.

Pressure redistribution

  • Misalignment often put excessive pressure on the joints and soft tissues, leading to pain.
  • Hammer toe splints distribute this pressure more evenly across the two, reducing the strain on specific areas and relieving discomfort.

Muscle and tendon stretching

  • In cases where muscles and tendons have tightened or contracted, splints can help by mending these structures over time.
  • This stretching aids in restoring the proper alignment of the two joints.

Preventing further deformity

  • They act as a preventive measure by halting the progression of the deformity.
  • By consistently maintaining the corrected position of the two, they hinder it from becoming more misaligned.

Improved circulation

  • Straightening the toe and relieving pressure points can also support better circulation in the affected area, promoting healing and reducing swelling. 2 Working Mechanism | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health ,3 Working Mechanism | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health , 4 Working Mechanism | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

Side Effects

Side Effects of Hammer Toe Splints

To ensure the safe and efficient usage of hammer toe splints, one must be aware of potential adverse effects and take the required precautions. Here are some common issues and precautions to consider:

Discomfort for irritation

  • It’s not uncommon to experience some initial discomfort or irritation when wearing hammer toe splints, especially if they are rigid or not correctly fitted. This discomfort may include pressure points, rubbing, or chafing.

Skin sensitivity

  • People with sensitive skin may be prone to skin irritation or redness at the contact points with the splint material. This can be exacerbated by sweating or friction.

Limited mobility

  • Rigid splints, in particular, can limit the natural movement of the top, which may be uncomfortable for some people, especially during certain activities like walking or running.

Adjustment period

  • Getting used to wearing splints may take some time. Initially, they might feel strange or awkward, but most people adapt over time. 7 Side Effects | Researched based study from ResearchGate


Precautions to take while Wearing a Hammer Toe Splint

Proper fitting

  • Ensure that they are correctly fitted and sized to your toe. An ill-fitting splint can lead to discomfort and may not provide the desired corrective effect.

Regular monitoring

  • Regularly check your toes for skin irritation, redness, or blisters.
  • If you notice any issues, consider adjusting the splint or taking a break from wearing it to allow your skin to heal.

Consultation with a professional

  • Consult a podiatrist or other healthcare provider before using it.
  • They can evaluate your condition, suggest the best kind of splint, and provide instructions on how to wear it.

Follow instructions

  • Adhere to the manufacturers’ and healthcare professional’s instructions on how to wear and care for your splints. This includes information on the duration of wear, cleaning, and maintenance.

Gradual progress

  • Understand that correction with splints is often a gradual process. Be patient with the treatment and don’t anticipate seeing results right away.

Balanced use

  • Balance splints with other recommended remedies, such as exercises or stretches, to address the underlying cause of hammer toes. 6 Precautions | Researched based study from ScienceDirect


Tips for Managing Hammer Toe Splints

Maintain good foot hygiene


  • Apply a gentle moisturizer to keep the skin soft and prevent excessive dryness or cracking, especially in the areas where the splint contacts your skin.


  • Where comfortable and supportive footwear that accommodates the splint. Avoid tight shoes that squeeze the toes or pressure the splinted area.

Toe exercises

  • Perform gentle toe exercises and stretches recommended by your doctor. These exercises can ease tense muscles and increase flexibility.

Orthotic inserts

  • Them or insoles inside your shoes to provide additional support and questioning for your feet.

Monitoring progress, regular check-in

To monitor the development of your hammer toe repair and make any required modifications to your treatment plan, make follow-up appointments with your healthcare professional.

Photography records

  • Take pictures of affected toes periodically. This can serve as a visual record of your progress and help you and your Healthcare provider track improvements.

Pain and discomfort

  • Pay attention to any changes in pain or discomfort. While some discomfort is expected during the natural alignment process, persistent or worsening pain may indicate issues that need attention.

Splint condition

  • Regularly inspect the condition of your splints. Check for wear and tear, loose straps, or any signs of damage. Replace them if needed to maintain proper support.

Alternative treatments for hammer toes

  • When it comes to treating hammer toes, there are alternative options beyond using splints. Here are two significant alternatives: exercises and stretches and surgical options. 6 Management | Researched based study from ScienceDirect, 5 Management | Researched based study from The National Health Service

Exercises & Stretches:

Toe extension stretch

  • Remove your afflicted back and hold for a short period of time; do this repeatedly. This helps extend the tight tendons and muscles, causing the hammer toe.

Marble pick up

  • To pick up marbles or other small objects from the floor, use your toes. Strength and flexibility can both be enhanced with this workout.

Clothes crunch

  • Scratch the floor with your toes to move a little towel towards you. The two muscles get stronger as a result.

Two spacers

  • Unique toe spaces or separators can be worn between the tools to help maintain proper alignment and reduce pressure. They can be used in conjunction with exercises for better results. 6 Management | Researched based study from ScienceDirect


Alternative Treatment for Hammer Toe

Hammer toe surgery

  • In cases where conservative treatments like splints and exercises haven’t provided sufficient relief, surgery may be recommended.
  • Depending on how serious the problem is, there are numerous surgical options. The surgeries typically involve realigning the toe, releasing tight tendons, or fusing joints.

Tendon transfer

  • This technique involves moving a tendon from the bottom to the top to help strengthen it.

Joint fusion

  • This surgery consists of using the toe joint to maintain a straight position. This is often considered for severe cases.


  • Some surgical options may include using implants or pins to maintain toe alignment.

Joint resection

  • To enable the toe to straighten, a piece of the joint is removed during this treatment. 4 Alternative Treatment| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health , 5 Alternative Treatment | Researched based study from The National Health Service
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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