Toe Deformities: When One Little Piggy Overlaps Another
It seems NBA star LeBron James can’t go anywhere without someone taking a picture, and each one is subject to scrutiny from head to toe. So when he was snapped barefoot on a dock, columnist Matt King had a go at his “seriously messed up toes.” King seemed to think James’ overlapping toes were due to an injury, but the truth is many toe deformities are inherited.
In some people, a pinky or middle toe curls up and over another toe, and usually the condition is genetic. True, sometimes other causes like high arches or flat feet can cause a child to put weight on the foot in a different way, misplacing the pinky toe up over the next one. In adults, tight shoes that pinch the toes can cause them to move out of position. With bunions, for example, the big toe can move so far toward the second one that it overlaps it, or pushes one of the other toes out of position.
Toe deformities like these can cause pain when they rub against your shoes or each other. The irritation during movement may also bring about calluses, corns, or blisters. The abnormalities alter the way you walk or run, and even affect the bone structure in your feet. Athletes who place a lot of stress on their lower extremities may experience more severe symptoms than less active people.
What can you do for overlapping toes? Accommodate them, for a start. Make sure your shoes have enough room for the toe and don’t rub against it. Have Dr. Howard Schaengold at The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic take a look at them. He can recommend gel pads, taping, or toe straighteners to cushion and keep the toe in place. Taping may be helpful in infants to correct the deformity as much as possible while their bones form, although the toe may never be completely normal.
Foot deformities are one of our specialties, so call us at (425) 868-3338 for all your podiatric needs. Whether you live in Sammamish, Redmond, Issaquah or Bellevue, you can find great foot care with us!