A common condition that can happen to anyone, crooked toes is something you can get over the years or have upon birth. When left untreated, crooked toes can get worse, more painful, and even impact your mobility. If you or a family member has crooked toes, here’s what you should know:
Kinds of crooked toes
A deformed toe bent in the middle joint is called a hammertoe. This abnormality usually affects the second or third toe but it can also affect other toes in one or both feet. This type of toe deformity happens more to women than men.
Bent big toe or bunions
A bunion appears to be a lump on the outer side of the big toe but it’s actually a deformity. When some bones in the front part of your feet are not correctly aligned, the top of the big toe gets pulled towards the second toe that causes the joint located at the base of the big toe to protrude.
Just like in hammertoe, a mallet toe is a condition that leaves the toe bent but instead of the middle joint, the top joint near the toenail is the one affected here. Sore and painful corn will grow on the skin near the tip of the toenail that can subsequently turn into a terribly painful ulcer. The second toe is the one usually affected by mallet toe since it’s the longest.
Claw toe is a disorder wherein the toes are bent in a claw-like manner. In some instances, claw toe is not painful but it can cause discomfort. It can also be an indication of an underlying health disorder like diabetes or cerebral palsy
Curly toe is a congenital foot abnormality that causes the toe to bend sideways and downwards into a curled form. This toe deformity affects infants and children and the fourth toe is the commonly affected area. This can cause discomfort when the fourth toe curls under the third toe.
An overlapping toe as a foot disorder wherein the affected toe overlaps with the toe next to it. This commonly occurs with the pinky but it can also happen with the big toe and the second toe. Anybody, even newborns, can be affected by this deformity.
Why crooked toes happen
Wearing shoes that are too short or too tight can put a strain on the muscles and tendons found in your toes. These keep your toes aligned and straight. Being cramped in ill-fitting shoes would lead to crooked toes.
Sometimes it just runs in the family. Like curly toe, it’s a congenital foot disorder. If a kid is born from a parent or parents with curly toe, that kid has a greater chance of having curly toe than other kids who don’t have it in their blood.
Seriously stubbing your toe, dropping a heavy object on your toe, or any other kind of extreme foot trauma can lead to crooked toes.
Any type of toe injury that didn’t heal adequately will result in crooked toes.
Foot nerve damage caused by medical issues such as alcoholism and diabetes may, in some cases, cause claw toe.
Autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can damage the joints in our feet and cause hammertoe or claw toe.
Extreme obesity may cause or worsen toe deformities. The extra weight puts additional strain on the bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the feet.
Complications caused by crooked toes
- Permanent toe bend
- Stiffening of toes and joints
Treating your crooked toes
Wear the correct shoe size
If your toes are just starting to show signs of being crooked then changing to well-fitting shoes may do the trick. Pick shoes that let your toes spread in their natural form and fit comfortably.
Try doing exercises that help in stretching the muscles and tendons of your feet like toe splay, toe curls, toe pickups, toe raises, and toe stretching.
You can try taping the crooked toe to a normal toe beside it. The normal straight toe will serve as some sort of a splint and provide support to the crooked toe. It will help the crooked toe to stay straight and eventually be realigned.
Toe correctors or toe separators are designed to give an additional space between your toes. This will keep them separated and prevent friction, alleviate pressure, maintain alignment, and provide instant relief from the aches and pains brought about by crooked toes.
When to see a doctor
If the suggested solutions didn’t work for you and your toe has become too rigid that it’s affecting your mobility, then surgery might solve the problem. Consult a specialist to help you find the proper treatment.