Hammer Toe Deformity Home Treatment

A hammer toe deformity is usually caused by tightness through the flexor and extensor tendons. There are many things you can do about this even at home.

Hammer Toe Deformities are the #1 cause of pain in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Toes.

The second and third toes are usually painful during walking as a result of a toe deformity known as hammer toes. This occurs when the toes change from their normal straight shape in to an arch like claw. This occurs because of three main reasons:

  • 1) Flat Feet
  • 2) Improper shoes
  • 3) Injuries or improper biomechanics

If you would like to know more about  what causes hammer toes, visit our hammer toe guide:


Hammer Toe Deformity Causes:

Causes of hammer toe deformities are tightness through the flexor tendons and extensor tendons.

  • Flexor tendons bend the toes downward.
  • Extensor tendons extend the toe.
  • Either of these tendons can get tight or scared.
  • The big toe can also deform under the 2nd toe and push it up or to the side.
  • The 2nd toe is usually the toe most deformed.



Hammer Toe Deformity Treatment:

The hammer toes that cause pain in the second, third and even fourth toes are treatable at home if they are still flexible and not rigid. Grab your toes with your finger and see if you can bend the joints and if the toes are still able to be straightened without a great deal of pain. If they are still flexible then home treatment can still work and the toes can be straightened out, but if they are rigid and non-bendable then surgery may be indicated for those toes. The primary goals of treatment are to address the painful foot corns and the calluses.


Hammer Toe Deformity Treatment Options:
  • Toe splinting– Jill’s foot pads and other gel pads will help prevent callus formation greatly.
  • Treat your Flat Foot – flat foot is the number one cause of the development of hammer toes, as long as it persists the tendons that insert into the toes will be tight in some areas and loose in other areas. The basics of flat foot treatment are wearing the proper shoes, correcting your biomechanics through addressing prior injuries and deformities as well as wearing proper biomechanical corrective devices such as orthotics.
  • Proper Shoes– Use a Brannock device to properly measure your shoe size; this includes measuring your foot width, foot length and arch length. Make sure you do this every couple of years and always measure your shoe size at the end of the day when your feet are the most swollen.
  • Bigger Shoe– Try wearing a shoe that is a half size larger than what the Brannock device tells you that your foot size is. If your feet are a different size then wear a pair of shoes that comfortably fits the larger foot. See if your foot pain is relieved by wearing open to sandals to see if this is the approach for you.
  • Avoid Tight or Heeled Shoes– If possible try to avoid shoes that jam your toes, or high heels that put more pressure on your forefoot. This would also reduce the irregular muscle forces that are affecting your toes as explained in the flat foot section.
  • If you have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease or smoke you should see your podiatrist to address these problems as they greatly impact your healing time.
  • Toe Exercises- Try picking up a towel with your toes for 15 minutes while you watch TV.


Find out more about hammer toe deformity associated pain:

Big toe joint pain.

Ball of the foot – Second Toe pain Guide

Hammer Toes