24 May Treatment Options for Overlapping Toes
Do your toes overlap? Studies find about 7% of people have a toe that overlaps. Of those people, about 30% have overlapping toes on both feet.
There are many causes of overlapping toes, but in this article, we’re going to focus on the treatment options. How do you get those toes to straighten? Read on to learn all about it.
Getting Your Toes Straight
Your overlapping toes may not bother you now, but they could cause you trouble later. Left untreated, your overlapping toes can lead to complications that include:
- Bursitis: an inflammation of the big toe.
- Metatarsalgia: inflammation of the ball of your foot.
The right shoes can help you correct your overlap and protect your feet from further damage. Wear loose-fitting shoes or sandals with thick, supportive soles. If you’re having trouble finding the right corrective shoes, talk to your podiatrist. Custom orthotics may be the right footwear solution.
Sometimes called toe correctors or separators, toe spacers hold your toes apart so they can grow in a straight direction. This is a gradual treatment that allows your toes to heal naturally. Toe spacers are one of the best treatments for overlapping toes.
You should wear toe spacers as often as possible to get the most benefit from them. You can buy toe spacers over the counter or ask your podiatrist to prescribe custom spacers.
Toe spacers work very well, but they can make it hard to walk normally or wear regular shoes. In those cases, you can use a toe loop.
A toe loop is a piece of medical or surgical tape that secures your overlapping to its neighbor toe. A toe loop supports the overlapping toe and keeps it in a straight position. Toe loops don’t work as well as toe spacers, but they are less intrusive. They’re an excellent alternative when you don’t want to use a spacer.
Corn and Callus Pads
Feet with overlapping toes are more likely to develop corns and calluses. The constant pressure can cause tough, dead skin to build up on the pads or sides of your foot. Corns can also build up on the overlapping toe.
Corns and calluses can be painful, and they interfere with healing. Wrap your corns with moleskin corn and callus pads. The soft fabric protects them from further friction. If your calluses are severe, ask your podiatrist about in-office treatments to remove them.
Hammertoes and overlapping toes are often found together. To prevent your toe from turning into hammertoe, use a hammertoe pad. Sometimes called a crest pad, this pad covers the top of your toe to prevent friction and reduce pressure. A hammertoe or crest pad is a gel- or foam-filled device that rests under your toes.
Your doctor may recommend wearing a splint at night to help straighten an overlapping toe. This is an excellent treatment that shifts the toe into the right alignment while you sleep.
Stretching exercises will keep your toes flexible and reduce pressure. Strong, flexible toes respond better to treatment.
Is Surgery Necessary?
Surgery is rarely necessary for overlapping toes. With a combination of toe spacers, splints and custom orthotics, your overlapping toes will begin growing in the proper alignment.
Contact Us for All Your Toe Troubles
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we can help all your toes feel better. If you have overlapping toes or any other foot problem, visit our Loudoun County clinic.