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What Are the Different Kinds of Toe Braces?

Bunion splints are toe braces that might be used after a bunion is removed.
Toe braces can be useful when dealing with the pain caused by ingrown toenails.
Toe braces may be used to deal with a variety of toe problems.
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  • Written By: Marty Paule
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2014
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Toe braces, also sometimes called toe splints, are available to deal with a variety of toe problems. These include hammer toe, overlapping toes, turf toe, bunions, fractures, and other toe malformations and injuries. These toe braces are manufactured using various designs and materials to deal with these specific conditions. Many of these devices are adjustable to fit a range of toe sizes.

For toes that overlap or rub together painfully, products are specifically designed to spread and separate adjacent toes. Often made of soft silicone, some models are filled with a gel to help cushion and align the toes and eliminate friction. They can also be useful in dealing with corns, warts, and pain caused by ingrown toenails, or be utilized in post-operative care. Some devices, often referred to as toe spreaders, are intended to spread the toes to deal with abrasion and irritation. They help to preserve joint alignment after bunion surgery, as well as limit post-operative toe drift.

In dealing with turf toe, toe braces are available that splint the big toe to the adjacent toe to alleviate the pain. By splinting them together, the second toe helps protect the big toe from further injury and reduces the pressure exerted on its neighboring toe. Braces for hammer toe syndrome work similarly by straightening the affected toe(s) to reduce irritation. These toe braces are often used in conjunction with a soothing lotion applied to the irritated areas.

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A bunion splint helps to immobilize the big toe and is often used following bunion surgery. It typically wraps around the big toe and contains foam padding to reduce pressure and alleviate pain. These toe splints are usually offered in various sizes and are designated for use on either the left or right foot. A similar device called a bunion night splint wraps around the affected area of the foot and fastens with hook and loop material. It also provides a bumper pad between the big toe and the adjacent toe and can offer an alternative to bunion surgery.

A toe alignment splint can be useful in the treatment of hammer toe as well as for post-operative care following surgery for bunions, hallux valgus, hammer toe, and Taylor's bunion. These types of toe braces typically have a wide band that wraps securely around the foot behind the metatarsals. A T-shaped strap fits over the big toe and anchors it to the foot band with hook and loop material to maintain toe alignment. Some designs include additional toe splints to be used with the other toes, making this type appropriate in cases for the person with multiple toe problems.

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ZipLine
Post 3

Has anyone tried one of those flexible gel toe braces for hammertoe? Do they work? I saw them at the store and wondering if I should try them.

discographer
Post 2

@ddljohn-- There are some good ones out there that work but it might require some research. You should read customer reviews to avoid products that don't live up to their name.

I think that an effective toe brace or bunion brace needs to be made of soft fabric that's also durable. And it needs to be adjustable. So you should be able to determine who tight the brace needs to be or how much it should be pulling the big toe.

Correcting a bunion takes a long time and it needs to occur slowly, sort of like braces for teeth. If the toe brace is not adjustable, if it's one size fits all and too tight, it will cause discomfort and pain.

ddljohn
Post 1

I've yet to find a bunion splint that works. I've tried four or five different products so far. But I couldn't find anything that works and is actually comfortable enough to wear throughout the day. Most are just disappointments.

The way that bunion splints work is that there is a strap like piece that goes around the big toe and pulls it apart with support from the foot or the ankle. But most splints or braces either do not work or cause such great discomfort that it's impossible to wear them for more than fifteen or twenty minutes.

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