Overlapping or Underlapping Toes Can Throw You a Curve
If you’re a baseball fan, you may love to watch the intricacies of pitching. It’s amazing how a difference in grip can influence whether the ball flies in a straight line, jumps around along the way, or swings out in a wide curve just before it reaches the plate. The batter has to have a good eye to not look like a fool swinging at a pitch that’s way low and outside! Sometimes life throws us a different kind of curve—literally. There is a set of toe problems that involve one of your toes curving over or under another, and they can leave your toes looking quite strange.
When Your Toes Don’t Behave
We’d all like to have attractive feet with toes that lie nice and straight, but sometimes they just don’t do what we’d like. Overlapping or underlapping toes most often occur in one of three ways:
- Overlapping fifth toe—when the littlest toe is bent upward and crosses over the fourth toe. This is the most common type and is often present at birth.
- Underlapping toes—when one of the small toes curves downward and laps under the one next to it. Congenital curly-toe is an inherited abnormality that affects the fourth toe.
- Bunions—when your big toe becomes misaligned and leans toward the smaller toes. If this deformity is not corrected, the big toe can move so far that it overlaps the second toe.
Any of these problems can also be accompanied by other toe deformities like a hammertoe, mallet toe, or claw toe. They may not cause any problems other than looking a bit odd, but you can sometimes end up with corns, calluses, and pain.
Snooping Out the Cause of Crossover Toes
Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes most of these conditions. Possibilities are heredity, arthritis, flat feet, a nerve disease, or even aging. If your foot structure puts undue pressure on certain parts of your feet or changes the way they move, your toes can get out of alignment. Although the wrong shoes may not be the cause of the problem, they can certainly aggravate the situation.
What Can Be Done for Overlapping or Underlapping Toes?
If they are not causing you pain, no remedy is needed. When you have trouble wearing shoes or walking due to discomfort, though, it’s time to schedule a visit with Dr. Howard Schaengold. We will analyze your symptoms and help you decide what treatment will work best for you. Something as simple as a custom orthotic could bring you much relief, and if corns or calluses are making you uncomfortable, we can treat those as well. When working out, switching to non-weight bearing exercise for some of the time can help relieve the pressure. If the case is severe, surgery to straighten the toe is an option.
Call The Plateau Foot & Ankle Clinic in Sammamish, WA today at (425) 868-3338. We provide excellent foot care for Issaquah, Redmond and Bellevue residents as well, and you can visit our website for more information or to request an appointment. We specialize in foot deformities and look forward to helping you find relief.