Toes that overlap are often inherited and typically cause no major problems. However, some with the deformity may experience complications that require treatment by a podiatrist.
Potential Problems From Overlapping Toes
There are several causes of overlapping toes such as genetics, trauma to the toes, or having high arches. Rheumatoid arthritis can also be a cause of overlapping toes since the condition can alter the structure of the foot.
Overlapping toes that remain flexible do not cause problems and function like normal toes. The appearance of toes that overlap may be troublesome for some and cause embarrassment when wearing open-toed shoes.
Toes that overlap and stiffen may lead to problems. Toe stiffness can make it difficult to wear certain types of shoes. Overlapping toes that stiffen can also be at a higher risk for blisters or calluses. If left untreated, overlapping toes can lead to foot complications such as:
- Corns and calluses
- Bursitis of the big toe
- Metatarsalgia in the ball of the foot
A more severe form of overlapping toes is a crossover toe. This variation of hammertoe occurs gradually and affects the second toe and causes it to cross over the big toe. Untreated bunions are the cause of crossover toe.
Treating Overlapping Toes
Many with overlapping toes require no treatment. If the toe remains flexible, it can simply be treated conservatively using tape to stretch the toe back into the proper position. This method works best for younger children who are still growing.
Other treatments that can help with overlapping toes are:
- Toe spacers
- Custom orthotics
- Physical therapy
- Stretching exercises
Surgery is not needed for overlapping toes unless the condition is severe, causes pain, and affects your daily activities. Some procedures that can be done for overlapping toes are:
- Tendon release. Releasing the tendon in the toe can help straighten the toe and put it back into position.
- Surgical adjustment. This procedure is more invasive and requires surgically adjusting the toe back into place.
- Bunion surgery. Surgery to remove a bunion may be done to help correct the position of the toes.
If you have overlapping toes and are experiencing foot problems, contact Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry. We offer a free initial consultation and can create a customized plan to address your concerns. To set up an appointment, fill out our contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET.