Help! My Toes Overlap!

It is certainly understandable that you might be alarmed if you look at your feet and notice that one toe is crossing over another. It could simply be because you were wearing tight shoes, and the problem is remedied by moving your toes back into place. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Overlapping and underlapping toes occur when one toe lies either across the top or behind the adjacent straight toe and will not easily return to its normal position. This condition most commonly affects the fourth and fifth toes.

There may be a few different causes of your overlapping or underlapping toes, including:

  • Inheritance from your mother or father
  • In-utero positioning that caused your toes to develop in a certain direction
  • Chronically wearing shoes that are too tight and bend the toes out of position
  • Toe deformities such as bunions or hammertoes

Overlapping and underlapping toes mean that there is likely extra pressure and friction on certain parts of your feet, possibly causing blisters, corns, and calluses to form. As a result, treatment should be centered on obtaining proper toe realignment. This can be done by:

  • Regularly stretching your toes and feet to maintain flexibility
  • Taping your toes to keep them straight
  • Undergoing surgery to remove tissues or tendons at the base of the toe
  • Undergoing surgery to remove pieces of bone that are rendering the toe immovable

The first two treatments are intended to train the muscles in your toes to remain straight and to prevent them from overlapping or underlapping in the first place. The last two treatments are for cases that will not resolve on their own. Fortunately, there is a board-certified podiatrist in Central New York who is trained to handle all circumstances. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry can provide both surgical and non-surgical solutions for many foot and ankle conditions, including ulcers, diabetic feet, and capsulitis. Please do not hesitate to contact us or call our Fayetteville office at (315) 446-3668 for questions or appointments!

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