I am a technical architect and writer with over 20 years of experience. Outside of work, I am passionate about researching medical issues.
Many people struggle with the embarrassment of having crooked toes. This usually becomes an issue during the warmer months when they visit the beach or the pool and are going barefoot. For women with crooked toes, wearing open toe shoes or sandals can be a source of embarrassment. This problem is correctable by surgery or alternative methods.
This self-consciousness often leads people to seek surgery to correct this problem. Surgery can result in pain, loss of work, and long recovery periods (not to mention the fact that surgery can be a frightening option). However, there may be another way to correct this problem without surgery.
How to Straighten Toes Without Surgery
- Step 1: Consider why you are trying to straighten your toes.
- Step 2: Learn what your options are.
- Step 3: Explore the different toe straighteners that are on the market.
- Step 4: Consult your physician to create a plan.
There are toe straightening devices that can be used in a person's shoes to help straighten toes naturally over time. Since time is required to straighten your toes with these devices, the sooner you start using them the sooner you will see results. You should note that not all toe conditions can be corrected without surgery. If the case is severe enough, surgery may be required. You should consult your physician for advice for any issues concerning your health.
Step 1: Consider Why You Are Trying to Straighten Your Toes
Crooked toes are not just embarrassing, but they may result in pain as well. This problem can only be corrected via surgery, or through a non-surgical toe straightening device. It's best to avoid surgery, if possible. Before deciding on which method you will use to straighten your toes, first consider if your toes truly need fixing and whether or not the pain or discomfort is truly hindering you. Remember, 70% of feet have some deformity or another. If you are experiencing pain and need relief, then it's best to explore your nonsurgical options.
Surgery should be avoided at all cost. The feet serve as mobile adapters to the surface underneath us, and any surgical restriction in foot mobility will have a knock-on effect further up the chain. Unless the toes are part of a wider condition that prevents walking, the cosmetic benefits are massively outweighed by the practical issues of surgery.
— Mark Wilkinson, Physiotherapist at Qured ltd.
Step 2: Learn What Your Options Are.
You can probably treat your toe joint problem at home. If you start right away, you may be able to avoid surgery.
- Change your footwear: You should choose shoes with roomy toe boxes, low heels, and good arch supports. Sandals or athletic shoes that don't rub on your toes are a good option. You could also try custom-made shoes or shoes made for people who have foot problems.
- Use products that cushion the toe: Cushioning the toe can help relieve pain. You can relieve pain by holding the foot in a more comfortable position by using moleskin, toe tubes, arch supports, or other shoe inserts (orthotics). These are better for treating a flexible toe, but they can also provide some relief for a fixed toe.
- Care for any calluses or corns: Moleskin and other over-the-counter treatments may help relieve pain. Never cut corns or calluses, because this can lead to infection.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medicine: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen can help manage the pain. Check with your doctor before taking these medicines. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Taping a hammer toe: Wrap tape under the big toe (or the toe next to the hammer toe), then over the hammer toe, and then under the next toe. This gently forces the hammer toe into a normal position. But it doesn't straighten the toe permanently.
- Use toe caps, slings, or splints: These hold toes in a normal position, much like taping does.
- Try exercises: Exercises help keep the toe joints flexible and strong, such as the ones listed below. Your doctor or physical therapist may be able to suggest more exercises.
Exercises for Your Toes
|Exercise||How and Why to Do It|
Gently pull on your toes to stretch the bent joints.
For example, if a joint bends up, gently stretch it down. Hold for several seconds. You should feel a long, slow, gentle pull. Work on one joint at a time. Do this several times, morning and evening.
Do towel curls.
Put a towel flat under your feet and use your toes to crumple it.
Do marble pickups.
Use your toes to pick up marbles and drop them in a cup.
Step 3: Try Different Toe Straighteners.
Toe straighteners are a good option to fix your toes’ alignment without the need to perform surgery. You can definitely find comfort in using toe straighteners to change the structure of your toes and prevent them from hurting for good.
This simple device helps to straighten your crooked toes without having to undergo any medical procedure. Making use of the proper toe straightener can help to fix problems caused by toes rubbing against each other, crooked toes, and hammer toes.
So that you obtain the proper toe straightener, you actually want to locate one that addresses the kind of foot condition you are experiencing. Most of the straighteners are built to address a certain toe condition and a specific number of toes that are affected, i.e. double toe, single toe, bunions, or hammer toe. Also, you should be careful when buying the straighteners because many are either made for the right or the left foot respectively.
As with any medical condition, you should always consult with your physician for advice and guidance. I don't blame anyone for wanting to avoid surgery, but in some cases it may be necessary to correct your condition. Medical procedures can be expensive. If given the option, in this economy, I would seek an alternative method of correcting the issue. Taking no action will only make the problem worse. Consider taking any steps necessary to focus on your personal health and well-being.
Toe straighteners can help you take your life back and expose your feet without feeling embarrassment or discomfort. All toe straighteners work differently so be sure to choose one that works best for you.
Types of Toe Straighteners Available
Single toe straighteners
These are best for straightening a single crooked toe. If you have just one toe that is affected, this is the right straightener for you. These are most common and available at any drug store.
Double toe straighteners
Just as their name suggests, double toe straighteners are good for fixing double toes. They are intended to support adjacent toes. If two of your neighboring toes are rubbing against each other or are overlapping, this is the correct style for you.
Triple toe straighteners
They are excellent for fixing three toes at the same time. If three of your neighboring toes are affected, you can utilize this type of straightener in an effort to fix your issue.
Hammer toe straighteners
These are designed to fix the hammer toe condition. Your toes may have a physical deformity when one of their joints is injured. All these difficulties may be corrected with the proper hammer toe straighteners. They can aid in returning your toes to their normal position over time.
Bunion toe straighteners
These are designed to alleviate the pain that comes with bunions. They also aid in directing the toe ahead, which is a preventative action that buffers the toes from getting new bunions. They are designed to sit comfortably in your shoes. Nonetheless, they are generally not recommended for those individuals who have a poor blood flow or suffer from diabetic issues. Again, consult your physician for advice anytime your health and well being are at stake.
Highest-Rated Toe Straightener
I've done research to find the highest-rated toe straightening product, based on customer data from those who own and use the products. The one that comes out on top is the Original Yoga Toes product. Yoga Toes were created by the Yoga Pro company, which was founded in 1989 and has since grown into a global company.
It currently has an average customer review of 4.4 out of 5 stars. This patented device is designed to address the following foot ailments:
- Hammer Toes
- Plantar Fasciitis
- and more
It is doctor recommended, BPA-free, Latex-free, has a 30 day money back guarantee, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It is designed to increase both flexibility and circulation.
The cost is a little more than most other toe straightening devices on the market. They are about $39.00 for a pair of two. Always check with your doctor for advice on using any product related to any health condition that you have.
The Benefits of Using Toe Straighteners
There are several benefits to using a toe straightening device that are listed below. You will never know if it will work for you until you give one a try, and thanks to their low cost you've got nothing to lose. You need to be aware though, that this is not a quick fix. A toe straightener will need to be used to correct your condition over time. If you want good results, it should be used consistently.
Main Benefits of Toe Straighteners:
Inexpensive: They are very inexpensive and are readily available in most pharmacies. This is a very cheap alternative when compared to the fees for surgery.
Reusable: They can be used again and again, or if the issue reoccurs. You can wash them and use them over and over again. After your problem is solved, you can save them for future use.
Flexibility: You can either use them with your shoes on or without your shoes on. Also, you can wear them daily or occasionally without any side effects.
Safety: Instead of correcting your toe issues by way of surgical procedures, you can rely on a safe toe straightener instead.
There are different kinds of toe straighteners on the market. In order to correct your condition most effectively, you need to make sure that you are selecting the right one. Your doctor can help you to determine which type you need. You can also engage the pharmacist at any local drug store for advice. They are also available for purchase online.
Order a Toe Straightener Online
If you already know the type of toe straightener that you need, then you can easily order one online. This is the best way to review a wide selection of choices. Shelf space is often limited at the stores, so the drugstores may carry a smaller selection compared to what is available online.
Although you will commonly see "one size fits all" on these products, you'll still need to pay attention to sizing information. Here is a quick tip for you. If you decide to order a toe straightener, then consider ordering two of them. This will allow you to wear one while you wash and dry the other one. Since these fit inside of your shoes, you will want to wash them on a fairly regular basis.
Popular Affordable Toe Straightener
70% of all feet have some level of deformity, all for various reasons. "Crooked toes" will be influenced by many things, including previous injury and, of course, footwear. A full 3D assessment of foot joint mechanics and gait will lead your physiotherapist to an appropriate treatment plan.
— Mark Wilkinson, Physiotherapist at Qured ltd.
Step 4: Consult Your Physician.
When your health or well-being are at risk, you should always ensure that you have consulted your physician. There are severe cases where surgery may be your only option. However, surgical procedures are often expensive. For those who do not have health insurance, it is often not an option. Doing nothing and taking no action will not help your condition get any better. It will likely continue to get worse.
Toe straighteners are popular devices. Many user reviews state they have successfully worked and help to correct their condition or at least make it better.
Ideally, you should be looking at the cause of your situation in an effort to rectify it.
Ask yourself these important questions:
- Do you practice good foot health?
- Do you wear shoes that are too tight and do not allow your toes to rest in a natural position?
- Have you incurred an injury that resulted in your crooked toes?
While a toe straightener can help to correct the condition, if the activity that contributed to the issue in the first place continues, then you may continue to deal with this condition indefinitely. A doctor or physician can help to identify the cause of the issue, and offer recommendations for prevention.
Recovery Considerations for Toe Surgery
As previously stated, in severe cases surgery may be the only option for correcting the issue. If you decide to go the surgical route, then there several things to consider.
After surgery you should consider:
- Bandages: Bandages will be required after surgery, and potentially special shoes for a period of time. Your doctor will advise you on the frequency of bandage changes and how long you should expect to be out of your shoes or wearing post-surgical shoes. Follow the bandage changing instructions closely, as this can help to ensure a more rapid recovery.
- Swelling: Swelling is to be expected after surgery, and depending upon the type of surgery can last as long as six months. This is the extreme though, and you should not expect swelling to last nearly this long. Swelling can be controlled with ice packs and anti-inflammatory medications. Get your doctors advice on the use of these.
- Stay off of your feet: Your doctor will advise you on the duration of your recovery and exactly how long you should remain off of your feet. To maintain mobility, crutches, walkers, and even post-surgical foot carts can be used. These will allow you to still get around but ensure that you do not place any weight on your foot. Don't push it. Allow your body time to adequately recover, else you could cause your recovery time to be extended.
- Shoes: Careful consideration should be given to the shoes you wear in the months following surgery. Your doctor will often recommend that you only wear tennis shoes for up to six months after surgery. Realize that high heel shoes and tight-fitting shoes are often a contributor to many of the toe issues that doctors are correcting. Choose your footwear wisely to ensure that you do not cause complications with your recovery.
Have you ever dealt with a crooked toe condition? I would love to hear your experiences and how you corrected or attempted to correct them. Although this can be an embarrassing topic, the free and open exchange of information can help someone else that is experiencing the same condition that you did. A little support, encouragement, and sharing of personal experiences can help another individual correct their problem down the road.
I would love to hear if you have had success with a toe straightener. I would also be interested in knowing if you chose a surgical solution to correcting your crooked toes, and why.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Give Us Some Feedback!
Jimmy on August 25, 2018:
Had bunion surgery in 2013. The bunion was fixed, but he forgot to straighten my second toe. The doctor thought it would straighten itself. I spent eight weeks on crutches with pain and bleeding. My recommendation, If you need surgery choose a foot orthopedic surgeon not a podiatrist.
Polly on August 07, 2018:
I had bunions early in life from wearing shoes that were too tight. I had surgery on both feet by two different doctors. I had surgery on the right bunion. The Dr. didn’t kknow what he was doing and he totally messed up my foot which lead me to the situation /problem I’m having today. (By the way the doctor who did the left foot did an Excellent job. Absolutely No Priblems) A few months ago my second toe started hurting A lot. I thought U broke it . But there’s wasnt any accident or injury I knew of. I couldn’t wear shoes at all, only slippers/ moccasins. (Not the best choice for winter. ) My toe started to buckle at the second joint and has remained that way. Looking at my foot now ,it’s obvious the surgery did nothing but lend a hand in making my foot much worse over time. It’s like II never had bunion surgery at all. Except I think his crafty knife work made imy tendons weaker than they woulda been.. SO....
I’m going to get a toe straightener and see if I can possibly straighten out my bunion big toe&my buckled hammer toe next to it. The second toe is trying to cross over the third toe. I’m afraid my foot will become crippled if I don’t get this straightened out .
BE CAREFUL l IF you elect to have SURGERY. Research the Doctor Thoroughly. Make sure he or she is a podiatrist not some QUACK Pretending to know how to do foot surgery.
Also, IF you think hiding your feet in a smaller size shoe makes your feet look better... It doesn’t. I never had “pretty little feet “, but they weren’t the monstrosity’s they are today!
Remember to take care of your feet as you would the tires on your car. They both have a lot riding on them
Hannah on May 29, 2018:
I have 3short toes and would love to correct them with the naturally
How do I go about it?
D. hepner on April 24, 2018:
I had hammer toe and bunion surgery and I am 4 months out and my condition wasn’t improved (bunionectomy was ok). My hammer toe is still swollen and crocked.
Now the doc suggests MORE surgery to straighten big toe!! No way! Try everything first.
John T on April 22, 2018:
I'm wearing mallet toe straighteners on both feet but wonder if they can be worn 24/7. They seem to be helping (except for one toe that is so far gone). Should straighteners be used for a limited period of time.
Lulu on April 17, 2018:
I have a tear on my plantar plate that is causing my toes to curl. I tape the second toe which is where the tear is. I had orthotics made. I have spent a fortune on spacers. I can hardly walk. Please advise of anything that could help this situation. I really don't want surgery. But it's been about 5 months with only a few good days. Does anyone know how long it takes to get better? Or how to straighten my toes?
Anonymous on February 23, 2018:
I'm currently using yoga toes and have gradually increased how long I wear them. I'm now up to wearing them around two hours. I bought a pair of minimal shoes with a wide toe box so I can wear my yoga toes inside my shoes.
Shoes with small toe boxes are the culprit of most foot issues.
alexander on February 04, 2018:
what do you think the best straighter for crooked toes caused by wearing tight shoes is?
Niakawa on June 20, 2017:
I wish I would have known 10 years ago about alternatives for bunion problems. I have endured painful bunionectomies on both feet with screws.
As I write this I am recovering from a SECOND bunionectomy on my right foot (yes, they can come back) with even MORE screws this time. But, with much research and an awesome podiatrist, he has helped me to pick shoe brands such as Vionics to help prevent this problem from occurring again.
Also, I wear toe spacers of all sorts now because I will NEVER do another surgery! Surgery should be the last resort after you have tried everything else.
So, from personal experience, I'd heed the advice in this article.
Karen on May 22, 2017:
My toes were always fine until now (65 yrs. old). I'm trying toe separators and am hoping this will work to prevent a bunion from getting worse. I'll let you know if it works in the future.
firstname.lastname@example.org on December 16, 2016:
I have a crooked toe on my right foot, it is the first toe to the right of my big toe. I also have recently noticed a bunion forming on the right side of my right foot. There are so MANY different kinds of items to be used for this problem. I really wish there was just two kinds to choose from. Any suggestions. I am only concerned about my crooked tor right now. B.....
Sarah Eames on November 02, 2016:
I have tried wearing a toe spacer for my baby toe for months but it didn't help, and have had a bent big toe for the past almost month and have been in severe pain because of it, I tried prescription strength Ibuprofen with hydrocodone and physical therapy weekly but it still hurts like crazy! Iam looking into surgery cause I failed the conservative treatment, but I will look into this after my next foot operation!
Leti on October 18, 2016:
norma-holt on June 19, 2014:
What a great lens. I can certainly use some of these corrective products. Than you for presenting them.
GreenMind Guides from USA on April 19, 2014:
Toe straightener! Never even thought of that. Brilliant idea for a lens.
Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on September 03, 2013:
Interesting topic. Never thought of my crooked toes.
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on July 29, 2013:
I hate to admit this, but just a couple of weeks ago my husband was talking to me about my crooked toes. They don't really bother me. It was like I was drawn here.
VspaBotanicals on July 06, 2013:
Awesome lens and will pass it on!!!!
Natural_Skin_Care on July 06, 2013:
Thank goodness there's something you can do to help the condition.
Mobley5 on July 06, 2013:
I do think that people sometimes opt for surgery too early - thanks for providing non-surgical advice.
mrdata on June 20, 2013:
Useful and natural tips... thanks for your help!
SBPI Inc on June 19, 2013:
Great lens. About6 or 7 years ago I took a barefoot slider on a tile bathroom floor and hit a bathroom scale on the other side of the room breaking my toe, 1 in from the smallest, on my right foot . I hurt and was now in the shape of an upside-down L. Without even thinking I grabbed it, pulled it straight and taped it against the next larger top. Surprisingly, the pain subsided and it worked. It has remained in the correct position for years now but I am a lot more careful about walking on wet tiles. Love you lens and totally agree.
happynutritionist on June 17, 2013:
So interesting to come across this...my husband has been dealing with a toe that covers another and causes pain. I am going to have to show him this. My toes are so short and stubby on my little feet they don't even make it to the edge of most sandels...lol:-)
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 07, 2013:
I've inherited hammer toes from my mom. My sister has them too. So far, not too bad, so I'm just ignoring them.
Gregory Moore (author) from Louisville, KY on June 03, 2013:
@KarenHC: Excellent, thanks so much for the additional information.
Karen from U.S. on June 03, 2013:
I teach yoga, and since we do it in bare feet, I see all sorts of foot and toe shapes and problems. We practice spreading our toes, and there's even a yoga toe spreader like the Flex-tastic Toe Relaxers that you show above (except the yoga variation is MUCH more expensive....). I haven't seen the other toe straightener devices before, and they look like they'd work very well.
katiecolette on June 03, 2013:
I always explore the natural treatment options as an alternative to surgery or traditional medicine.
anonymous on May 16, 2013:
I've never had a crooked toe problem but I'm thinking those who do will do the dance of joy when they learn that there are options that doesn't include surgery....I'd sure give one or more of your methods a try before taking the step to surgery. Glad to hear there can be relief, when our feet hurt, it just seems to affect our whole body.
ConvenientCalendar on May 16, 2013:
Very helpful! Thank you for sharing!
Fridayonmymind LM on April 08, 2013:
Well that was really interesting. It's good to know that all those products exist. I'm going to check out my toes.
David Stone from New York City on March 29, 2013:
Interesting. I never realized products had come on the market as a diy for something like this. It's a world full of innovation, I guess.
anonymous on March 29, 2013:
Thankfully I have nice toes - never thought to be grateful for them before :) My handicapped brother has had foot surgery several times, but not on his toes.
Aunt-Mollie on March 28, 2013:
I've never heard of a toe straightener before. Glad to know there's a cure for strange toes!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 24, 2013:
Am developing a bunion so now that it is only starting, I should use one of these.
BlogsWriter on March 18, 2013:
If the toes can be corrected without undergoing surgery, I would suggest - go for it.
Very useful information for the concerned people.
Sweetbunny LM on March 17, 2013:
My sister has this problem, always looking for ideas!
comfortyourfeet on March 14, 2013:
Amazing what everyone suffers from. Informative lens.
anonymous on March 07, 2013:
very informative lens :)
uneasywriter lm on February 26, 2013:
Never heard of this. I will definitely try them!
Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 14, 2013:
My wife is a physiotherapist and just bought some straighteners for her toes,so I know they work. Liked and blessed.
KimGiancaterino on February 01, 2013:
This is very helpful information. I do have one crooked toe that was probably broken when I taught aerobics. It doesn't bother me much and doesn't look too weird. Thanks for letting me know about this painless solution.
kabbalah lm on January 24, 2013:
Boy, and up to now I was using a mallet :)
Fay Favored from USA on January 24, 2013:
I didn't realize this was such a big issue. Thanks for the informaion. It's good to know that there is something else people can do without having surgery.
Deadicated LM on January 23, 2013:
Brings back memories, my mother had some funky feet (may she rest in peace); so far I didn't inherit that but I've seem to have bad arthritis like she did. Good idea for a Lens, well done.
Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on January 19, 2013:
My toes are straight. I wear flat shoes, and go barefoot often. So my feet are fine. Thank you for this really informative lens on crooked toes. Blessings to you -
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on January 10, 2013:
Good topic! It's interesting what toes tend to do over time. Thanks for the information!
norma-holt on January 01, 2013:
A new blessing on this lovely lens and may you have a wonderful, successful and happy 2013. Hugs
myspace9 on December 28, 2012:
Very informative lens. I never heard these toe straightners before.
sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on December 24, 2012:
thanks for the useful information.
pretyfunky on December 24, 2012:
Thank you for this...seems it will work
applejacking on December 23, 2012:
Looks good products for bicycler like me. The toes is very important to enjoy my activities.
webmavern on December 19, 2012:
I didn't realize there was effect and reasonably priced treatment for straightening toes. I will have to try them out as all my toes curl under and my uncle tells me I would be good at swinging through trees!
Jo-Jackson on December 16, 2012:
I had never heard of these toe straighteners before, but they sound like a great and inexpensive idea.
anonymous on December 15, 2012:
This is very good information, I like it, thank you for sharing. :)
Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on December 12, 2012:
Wish I'd known about this when Mom was alive. She had toes that crossed each other. I wondered if it was because of the pointed toe shoes that were in stye during much of her teaching career.
Elaine Chen on December 09, 2012:
I have no idea about toe straightener until I stopping by this lens; thanks for your info sharing
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 06, 2012:
Good to know there are these as I am a bit concerned now about my toes.
Rose Jones on November 22, 2012:
I had no idea that these toe straighteners existed. What a great idea! Pinned to my illness and getting better board.
bernie74 lm on November 22, 2012:
I had no idea these existed. I wil definitely look into them not just for me but for my whole family.
LouisaDembul on November 19, 2012:
My friend is having problem with a crooked toe. Maybe a toe straightener would be just what she needs.
Lee Hansen from Vermont on November 12, 2012:
I have a toe that's a bit of a hammertoe as the result of a teen age injury. Perhaps a toe straightener is just what the doctor would order - without a 120 dollar fee.
Sara Dowling on October 30, 2012:
I had no idea this was possible!
pusanggala on October 30, 2012:
hahaha this is a nice lens. xD Thanks for sharing=)
Ajeet on October 26, 2012:
I did not know this about non-straight toes.
nifwlseirff on October 24, 2012:
I'm going to keep my eye out for a comfortable bunion straightener - my right big toe and bunion has been giving me a lot of trouble recently. Thank you for the tips!
johnsja on October 20, 2012:
Ouch. Interesting lens.
LaurenIM on October 19, 2012:
I don't have a crooked toe but people who do, have so much physical challenges. If they don't have help, it could be excrutiating. ( know I spelled that wrong lol)
lucky izan on October 17, 2012:
I'm glad my toes is just fine.
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on October 17, 2012:
Didn't thing was a DIY job.
darciefrench lm on October 13, 2012:
Much preferable route than surgery for sure
rawwwwwws lm on October 12, 2012:
WOW, I never knew one can do this with out operation!
WriterJanis2 on October 03, 2012:
Never knew this was possible.
crstnblue on October 02, 2012:
Very complex and informative lens! Thanks for sharing!
anonymous on September 30, 2012:
great lens. thanks this is great information.
anonymous on September 29, 2012:
Amazing thing to know that the crooked toes can be straightened without surgery.
norma-holt on September 28, 2012:
What a great topic and informative and important lens. I have 2 hammer toes and never knew that they could be straightened. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2. Hugs
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on September 28, 2012: