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Hammer Toes - What's the best pad for my toe?

Hammer Toes - What's the best pad for my toe?


Hammer toe pads

What's the best pad for your sore hammer toes?  That depends to a great degree on the location of the problem that you are trying to treat.  Is the toe sore on the top of the toe, the tip of the toe or between the toes?  Let's take a closer look at hammer toe products based upon how they treat the top, the tip or between the toes.  I'll break this topic into three blog posts.  First, products for the top of the toe.

The classic hammer toe is a semi-rigid to rigid deformity of the interphalangeal joint (top image to left).  The rigidity of the toe creates an irritation on the top of the toe that we typically call a corn.  A corn is simply a specific type of callus that forms as the result of shoe pressure on the top of the toe.  The first step in treating top of the toe irritations is to try to eliminate the shoe that is causing the problem.  A wider, softer shoe can make a big difference in treating top of the toe corns.

Hammer toe pads - toe splints

There's a host of products that are sold on that are used to treat top of the toe corns.  I break these products down into splints and pads.  Splints can be used with semi-rigid hammer toes to splint them away from the shoe.  Examples of hammer toe splints include the following -

3pp Toe LoopsCo-Flex Bandage 1 InchDouble-Stall Tubular Foam BandageToe Corrector - FoamToe Corrector - GelToe Straightener - Double ToeToe Straightener - Single Toe

Hammer toes - gel pads

When hammer toes are rigid, splints become less effective.  A hammer toe splint simply cannot move a rigid hammer toe away from the shoe.  In the case of rigid hammer toes, we recommend the use of pads to protect the hammer toe and corn from the shoe.  I break pads down into the categories of gel, foam, and wool.  Examples of gel hammer toe pads that are used to treat corns on the top of a rigid hammer toe include -

Toe Sleeve - GelGel Corn Protectors

Hammer toe - foam pads

Examples of foam pads that are used to treat the corn on the top of a rigid hammer toe include -

Double-Stall Tubular Foam Toe BandageCorn ProtectorsTriple Stall Tubular Foam Toe BandagesTubular Foam Toe Bandages

Lambs wool is an old world tool that is still used quite frequently to wrap rigid hammer toes.

Lambs Wool Padding

You can see that for rigid hammer toes that have a corn on the top of the toe, there's a number of different solutions.  The success of these products will depend upon the shoes that you wear and how effectively and frequently these pads are applied.

Next up, how to treat corns that appear on the tip of a hammer toe.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor

Updated 4/23/2021

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