Toe straightener for 3 year old with curled and hammer toes

by Batya
(Brooklyn, NY, USA)

My 3 year old sons toes (3 center ones on both feet) are curled. The middle toe is hammered and the other two are curling toward the middle. They just recently began to curl. I thought it was maybe because his shoes were too small... but I got a new pair and that didn't change...

So off to the podiatrist I went and he told us his 2nd and 3rd toes are slightly webbed and that's what might be causing it... and there's nothing to do about it besides for surgically correcting it when he's older.

Although I'm not a Dr I don't believe that. He's so young.. I'm sure if there was some sort of night brace to hold those little toes straight, his bones would grow right. Is there anything you can suggest??


There are triple toe straighteners which can be worn at night, and also a product known as yoga toes which might also be beneficial.

The only problem is these products as far as I know, do not come in a small size for toddlers.

I will do some more searching and see if I can find someone who makes a small enough size. The other thing you might check out is to see if you could have a custom straightener made.

I'll get back with you if I find anything out.

Best wishes,
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Comments for Toe straightener for 3 year old with curled and hammer toes

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toe molds - interesting!
by: batya

Hi, I would love to try something like the toe molds you describe. though, my podiatrist would probably laugh at the thought of it. I'm just wondering is this something your Dr has been successful with in the past or is this experimental. I will have to find a Dr willing to try this out. Also, can you describe the exercises you do?
thank u!!!

3 1/2 yr old daughter with curly toes and our solution
by: Anonymous

We took my 3 1/2 daughter to the doctor and they diagnosed her with curly and hammer toes. They have her on a treatment program where they make a mold out of a self hardening "clay" of her toes in a "straightened" position. The clay sets and she wears what we lovingly call "toe pillows" which keep her toes straight inside her socks and wide sneakers. She wears them about 6 hours a day. We also do an exercise where we stretch her toes out flat in repetitions of 8 each night - thereby stretching and straightening the ligaments beneath her toes. It all seem to be helping! Her toes are straighter and flatter since starting. It has been about 4 wks. In another week she will go back to the doctor and they will make her a new mold or "toe pillows" to wear. Good luck everyone!

Just Get Surgery
by: Anonymous

I have researched this like crazy, I myself on my right foot my third toe curls underneath my second. I'm 17 and i've hated it my whole life but found a website all about it

And its fixed with a simple "tendon transfer".
Go to a foot dr and bring it up, if there has been surgeries done on it already it would be kind of hard for them to reject you. I know I'm going to give it a try and see what comes out of it.

crooked toes
by: twinkletoes

Some toe deformities in a small child are flexible enough to correct with orthotics like splints or straighteners. I think it's best to consult a professional though, because he/she should really be fitted properly so as not to possibly cause more damage. It's not a good idea to assume that just because the child is not experiencing any pain, that there won't be any future problems. As a child reaches into adulthood, he/she will most likely experience problems with finding shoes that are comfortable or fit well. Take care of the problem now, but seek out a good qualified podiatrist or foot specialist. Your child will be forever grateful.

Toe straightener for 3 year old with curled and hammer toes
by: Anonymous

I had the same problem. I had corrective surgery almost 20 years ago. At the time I was told surgery was the only answer. I assumed it was mostly caused by the too small too narrow shoes I wore growing up. I'm now 40 and my youngest daughter, now 5, had/has the same problem. Surely her's wasn't caused by too small or too narrow shoes. When my daughter was 3ish I made an elastic toe straightener to help "set" her second toe down in alignment with the others as her feet grew. She wore the straighteners at night only. After 6 months or so the second toe was aligned with the others, with no problems. Now to correct the overlapping of the second toe to the third. I tried to make a device, but couldn't quite get it right. So today, I am looking "Dr. Leonard's" catalog and what should I see? A toe straightener that aligns, crooked, overlapping, and hammertoes!!!! These are for adults, but I read that they can to cut to fit smaller feet/shoe sizes. You can go to their website or google "toe straighteners". It seems that Wal-Greens may carry them as well. They come single, double, or triple. I hope this is helpful. I would definitely try the straighteners before even considering surgery.

by: batya

If it bothers you that much there is the option of surgery...The Dr says its not so bad .. .. but so far my almost 7 year old son (whos in the picture at age 3) is not complaining of any pain... His toes have not gotten any better and actually cured just a drop more since then. He seems fine with it and hopefully it wont ever be a problem. Good luck!

don't know what to do
by: Anonymous

my left foot looks absolututely and exactly like the picture and i have suffered my whole life, iam now 14. I've always hidden my toes so no1 would make fun of me and i don't know where to go for a solution as i live in the UK, someone please help???

Son's Pinky Toes
by: Karen

My son's two pinky toes curl over the next toe. I've been to an orthopedic doctor and he has given me streching exercises and it hasn't done much. I've been looking online for any kind of brace or straightener but have not found anything for infants (he's 13 months). Most items I've seen are also for the middle toes - nothing that would stay on the pinky toe. Anyone have any advice/?

by: batya

well, my son doesnt really have a problem with balance. He is however, double jointed and has poor muscle tone- which slightly affects his posture and his ability to play well in sports... he is a bit clumsy but nothing major- wonder if it has anything to do with the toes..??? not sure - ask your pediatrician to refer you to a specialist

my son
by: Anonymous

my on is 28 month and has the same problem i thought i was looking at his foot! but he also has problem with balance . i really need to know if the curly toe has any effect on walking with balance . like does your kids walk with their hands in the air it's
called gait walk please respond i'm really worried

Curly toes...
by: Cassie Thiel

My sons toes look EXACTLY like your sons toes I almost thought they were my sons ive never seen anyone else with exactly the same prob. if you find out what its called please let me know,

Please help scared mom here
by: Karla of Memphis

My son is 4 yrs old and this is new to me but yet not. He is the youngest of my 3 sons but he is the only one with foot problems. His middle toe curls so badly you almost can't even see it because it disappears under his second toe. On each foot. I talked to my pediatrians and they just sgrugg me off. He often cries from the pain and doesn't want to walk. His feet blister from walking, the skin just peels in layers (I often have to get him pedicure to properly care for the blistered skin). I am at a crossroads here. I know he needs medical help its just I am so scared of the pain he my be facing. Please parents who have been through this give me advice.

Flexor Tenotomy
by: Nicola

My son is 7 and just had a flexor tenotomy on Monday of this week. He was at baseball practice on Tuesday evening! It was nothing at all. A quick procedure, in and out in less than two hours, and his toe is straight now. I know that they call it "surgery", which sounds scary, but it really is the most minor procedure. Our podiatrist said that going to the dentist is worse than having one of these done, and now I believe him! My son didn't even have limited motion on that very first day. He was running around the house (while I told him to rest his foot!) the afternoon of surgery.

Tape for curly toes
by: Aggie


Sure, my daughter has the third toe curled on both feet, so that I tape the third and the fourth together as to keep them straight (just as my sister did with my niece). However, my baby is also very sensitive and always complained of pain when I tried with tapes from the US. I'm from Brazil and I get the tape there because they are very flexible and at the same time very sticky (they are called "esparadrapo"). But I only use it at night when she's sleeping, otherwhise she'll remove it.
Some of my sisters are coming to the US late March this year, I already asked them to bring tape from there. I can ask them to bring some extra rolls for you if you want.
I'm not sure if I can give you my personal email but here it goes anyhow: Feel free to contact me.
Best regards,

instructions please:)
by: batya

Do you mind giving me some more detail as to how to use the tape ... and also when do u tape it all the time? just at night... ? someone earlier posted about taping the toes ... but i couldnt figure it out... also my 5 yr old son is very sensitive (sensory issues) and wouldnt allow me to try it for too long... hopefully it'll work on my 9 month old baby! his toes are even worse! thanks

toe straightener
by: Aggie

Thank you for your quick respose! I'started with the massage and let's see how it progresses. Just for your info, one of my nieces had the same problem (30 years ago) and my sister taped the toes together for approx. 1 year, she has now perfect feet. The doctor in Miami said that I could use the tape, but mentioned that regardless it could get better by itself, because according to him sometimes with age the tendoms relax allowing the toe to straighten up.


update on straighners
by: batya

Hi, in response to your question... no I have not found any toe straighteners or the yoga toes for children. Just try stretching the toes back - make sure she isnt tense when you do it. you can do all at once or one toe at a time... try make a game of it. good luck.
Ps. I dont see why the surgeon would tell you it will resolve in a year or so... if her tendons are too tight ... thats just how they are .... theyre not going to loosen up unless you keep stretching them or unless you do the surgery. Donno - thats just what my podiatrist said

Yoga toes?
by: Aggie

Hi Batya:

Were you able to find the yoga toes for children? Or custom toe straightener? Please kindly update us. My daughter has the same problem, I went to two Orthopedists and one Podiatrist. Was recommended a cast for arch support, however, when I finally took my daughter to the Miami Children's Hospital the surgeon orthopedist said that the cast was useless because her problem was actually casued by the tendom that was pulling the toe back and curlying it. He said that the problem should get resolved by itself in 1 to 1 1/2 years (she's two and a half) if not, he would recomend a surgery to release the tendom. He also recomended a toe straightener but didn't know of any designed specifically for children.
Thanks for you response,

Toe straightener for 3 year old with curled and hammer toes
by: Dr. Larry A. Keyes

Get in touch with Dr. Larry A. Keyes for your foot related problems. Visit and call at 708-771-4300 or mail at

by: batya

Hi, well, Just to update... my son is 5 now and still has curly toes... I stretched them at first but now I dont really do anything about it ... and hes not complaining of any discomfort. I recently had another child and he's got even curlier toes than the others! Being that I'm already an expert I knew what to do and started stretching them early on... hes 5 months now ... they seem a little better than when he was just born but can't tell forsure. I took him to the podiatrist a few weeks ago and he showed me how to stretch it ... he said it would probably work better on him because hes still a baby but he said he cant say forsure .. but sure doesnt hurt to try...
as for surgery, though its minor.. He said it's not necessary, many people have it and it doesnt bother them... I'm guessing especially for boys who dont wear heals... :) so I'll be sticking with the stretching.

Curly Toes
by: Anonymous

Actually my 2 year old daughter has the same thing with her middle toes on each foot and I went to a pediatric orthopadic and he said that there are called "curly toes" and its because their tendons are tight and its just a minor surgery to release the tendons. My daughter goes in for her surgery this nov.2010. Anyway hope you can use this advice, good luck.

tape solution
by: batya

I would love to try the tape... but got a bit confused with how to do it. do you mind posting a pic of how it should look with the tape on. thanks so much!

curly toes or overlapping toe
by: Anonymous

my daughter's toes look exactly like that. Doctors keeping saying they won't do anything and it's frusterating. I was told to tape her toes down so I've been doing that but it's just been a couple days so I'm not sure if it will work but it has been keeping her toes straight. Just take a piece of bandage tape and drape a piece over each toe that is crooked, she just has one, take the ends of each piece of tape criss cross them under her feet bringing them up and taping to the top of her foot. Hope that made sense but basically taping the overlapped toe down by pulling the tape down and over under her foot.

Looking to alternatives to surgery
by: Amanda

My 21 month little girl has the lifted 2nd toe on both her feet. I started noticing about the time she began to walk. When I brought it to the attention of my pediatrician at her 1 yr appointment, she asked if it was impacting her walking. Since it wasn't, she told me not to worry. I am worried though. If she is going to need surgery, I want to do it while she is young, not wait until she is 40 and going through life with serious feet pain.

Maybe some help
by: Carey

First let me tell you all 3 of my children have the same toes......I saw this pic and was exactly like theirs.
My sister used to make fun of me when my babies were really young cuz I used to take popsicle sticks and tape them around my kids' toes to try and straighten them out.....I didnt try it long enough to see if it worked........
One day I was at work reading the paper and in there was a product called comfy toe socks.I have not purchased it yet but it may work for our children the smallest size it comes in is a womens 5.....
I was really thinking of making a sock just like this only smaller...
If you want this address here it is: I am willing to try anything

Toe Straightener
by: Angela

Thank you for posting this. I too have a 2 year old whose toes are exactly like the photo. I am interested in getting a straightner custom made as well. If any information is given concerning this matter, my email is

3 year old with same problem
by: M.Geren

hi there. I just wanted to let you know that I have a 3 year old little boy and his toes look exactly like this. I never noticed them overlapping until around 4 months ago. we haven't been to the doctor yet regarding them but have been doing a lot of research online. I was excited to hear your story and to see your picture because it's so similar to our's. it helps us knowing we're not alone in our search for some kind of improvement. and I must admit, I'm completely shocked that they make so many adult products but none for toddlers. if you find any info, I'd be very appreciative of anything you can share :)

follow up
by: Batya

hi, just to follow up - I have tried some of the straightners and they wouldnt stay on his feet comfortably - his toes were too tiny. Then I went to an orthapedic and he said that I the reason the toes curl is because of the tendon is too tight and so it kinda pulls and doesnt let the toes grow straight. He said I can try stretching them a few times a day- for a minute each time- the more often the better. Baisically to pull all the toes back as far as they go and at the same time to make sure youre also pushing the whole foot upward so the ankle is bending. He said hes a bit too old for it to actually straighten- but it might prevent it from getting worse. Good luck!

Overlapping toes
by: Leonard

I have overlapping toe on my left foot,my third toe overlaps my forth one, counting my big toe as one. I have had this for as long as I can remember, I am 52 know and in the past year it has really been giving me problems, the pain shoots up and I just want to scream, I use to take long walks, know I can not even walk two blocks before I have to take off my shoe. Were you able to find a solution for your son without surgery, because that what they told me too. Then I would have to be off work for six weeks and I can not be off of work for that long. I wear a size 11 triple E shoe I can't find any larger. Can you offer me any advice. If you can please email me at with your help or comments. I hope your son made a full recovery. Thank you Leonard

follow up
by: batya

thank you for your reply... does yoga toes really work for something like that?? so who do I contact to get a custom straightner (or the like) made. thanks for looking into this. My son's podiatrist said theres nothing to do besides surgery. I'm so glad theres an alternative ... theres hope after all.

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