Overlapping of the Toes

Overlapping of the toes is a condition where the toes are out of alignment. Instead of them all facing forward like soldiers lined up straight in a row, one of them – usually the big toe – starts moving toward the second toe. If this continues over time, then the big toe starts ‘climbing over’ the second toe, as if it had a mind of its own. The condition is serious and the toes line up as they were meant to line up. If allowed to overlap each other, they will have difficulty fitting into any shoes, and the problem worsens with friction burns, corns, calluses, the formation of other conditions. Cause Anytime the toes start to approach each others, there is a threat of developing overlapping toes. The condition is caused by: • Bunions • Ill-fitting shoes • Structural problems such as Pes metatarsovalgus – twisting of the tibia (needs surgery) • Hammer toes • Arthritis • Injuries Treatment and Prevention A podiatrist or a medical doctor must evaluate the foot to determine the cause and treat it appropriately. In some cases, toe spacers can keep the toes separated until the main problem is alleviated. Orthotic arch supports with heel cups and possibly heel lifts can realign the major bones of the foot so that the big toe may not be secondarily misaligned. Avoiding any tight-fitting shoes that cramp the toes together is very important in the treatment of this condition. Shoes with a wide toe box and a tall toe box are equally important. Treatment may include toe braces or surgery in severe cases.