18 Oct Overlapping toes in Toddlers Feet
Does Your Toddler Have Overlapping Toes?
Overlapping toes can happen in adults, but did you know children can also have them? If you’ve noticed an overlap on your toddler’s toes, you may worry if they’ll stay that way. Fortunately, fixing overlapping toes in children is easy. It requires simple remedies you can use at home. It’s best to start treatment before your child starts walking.
Fast Facts About Overlapping Toes and Newborns
- Around 3% of all newborns have overlapping toes.
- In 30% of cases, overlapping toes occur on both feet.
- Around 25% of newborns develop normal toes without treatment. For the rest, it’s important to start treatment early to avoid permanent problems.
What Causes Overlapping Toes?
Doctors aren’t sure what causes overlapping toes in children, but here are some possibilities.
Shoes: Shoes are always at the top of the list when it comes to things that can cause foot abnormalities. Children’s shoes, like adult shoes, should be supportive. They should fit properly and leave plenty of room in the toe box.
Heredity: Overlapping toes may be a family trait. Children who have long second toes are more prone to have overlapping toes. This is also a hereditary trait.
Birth: Sometimes, the baby’s position in the womb can crowd the toes and cause them to overlap.
Foot condition: Children with flat feet or high arches often have overlapping toes.
How Do You Treat Overlapping Toes in Newborns?
While some children outgrow their overlapping toes, it’s better to start treatment early. Failing to correct the overlap can lead to rigid overlapped toes that are painful. Later in life, your child will be more likely to develop corns, calluses, bunions and other foot conditions.
Surgery is rarely necessary to fix overlapping toes. Simple, noninvasive measures are the best way to treat them.
- Taping: This is an excellent treatment for overlapping toes in babies and toddlers. Gently pull the toe into a straight direction, and tape it in that position with surgical tape. After about six months, the toes will grow straight.
- Toe spacers: Like taping, this method holds the toes in a straight position until they grow into the proper alignment.
- Exercises: A podiatrist can teach you stretching exercises to keep the overlapping toes flexible.
- Toe stretchers: Sometimes called separators or straighteners, these are gel-filled inserts you place between the toes. These soft, comfortable inserts will keep the toes separated and encourage them to grow straight.
- Gentle massage: Alone or combined with other treatments, gentle stretching can help straighten your little one’s toes. If you don’t see improvement in a week or two, use the taping method or toe stretchers.
Get It Straight at Shuman Podiatry
If you have questions about overlapping toes or any other toddler foot problem, call Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine. At our child-friendly clinic, we can diagnose and treat minor foot problems before they become serious. Call us to make an appointment today.