Overlapping toes

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The feet are the most important part of the body since they bear the weight of the body. Any malformation of the toes affects the range of motion and proper movement. Deformities of the toes are a common problem among many people and can occur since birth or later in life.

An abnormal problem is overlapping toes where one toe is lying on top of the adjacent toe. This condition usually affects the 2nd and the 5th toe and sometimes the other toes.

During childhood, some have abnormal situation of the toes where the affected child will have difficulty in walking. Among adults, it will affect the movement due to pain while putting on shoes.  It is important to note that overlapping toes does not heal on their own. Treating it early can greatly help in correcting the deformity, but eventually repositioning of toes is a difficult job.

Causes of overlapping toes

People suffering from diseases such as arthritis can cause overlapping toes due to changes in the joint of the toe during arthritis.
  • Some children are born with this type of toe malformation and it is a hereditary condition, either the father or the mother has this deformity. The fifth toe is commonly affected in most cases.
  • A malunion fracture of the toe causes it to overlap on the adjacent toe.
  • An abnormal foot arch causes it also it to overlap on the adjacent toe.
  • People suffering from diseases such as arthritis can cause overlapping toes due to changes in the joint of the toe during arthritis.
  • Overlapping toes can also happen among individuals suffering from diabetes due to damage of the nerve that can result to imbalance of the muscles that are attached to the toe.
  • Deficiency in calcium can cause overlapping toes, but only temporarily and occurs only a few minutes and then the toes reposition in its original form.
  • Individuals wearing high heeled shoes with narrow boxes can cause overlapping toes.
  • Bunions can affect the big toes which bend and push the adjacent toe and cause overlapping.

What are the symptoms of overlapping toes?

  • The position of one or two toes overlaps with one another.
  • Sometimes, people with overlapping toes can be infected with fungal infections in between two toes since there is not enough space for the skin to breath and fungus ideally thrives in those places
  • Corns and calluses can also develop on the surface of the toes due to constant friction of the upper surface of the overlapped toe with the shoes.
  • Pain while walking.

Treatment and home remedies of overlapping toes

  • If overlapping happens during infancy, stretch the toe and apply adhesive tape in order to help correct the deformity and the results can be seen after 6 to 12 weeks.
  • Adults should wear shoes that fit properly such as shoes that have a broad toe box.
  • Use toe straighteners or toe separators in order to help align the toes in the normal form as well as helping separate the overlapping toes.
  • Long time deformity of the overlapping toes requires proper assessment by the doctor.

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