All about Overlapping Toes
Unless you were born with overlapping toes, the most likely cause of the problem is continuously wearing shoes of a poor design or those that fit poorly. There are, however, other causes that bear mentioning.
The Causes of Overlapping Toes Include
Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis can cause deformities in the joints, which can cause the toes to overlap or press on each other. Any of the joints of the toes and feet can be affected.
Hammertoes are sometimes seen as overlapping. The hammer toe deformity usually occurs in the joint closest to the back of the toe, opposite the toenail. The ends of the toes point downward like a hammer or mallet.
Mallet toe is similar to hammertoe, but the deformity occurs in the joint closest to the end of the toe or toenail. In the second, third and fourth toe there are two joints. Either one can become deformed.
In Charcot foot, the big toe leans against the second. The most common cause of Charcot foot is diabetes, particularly when it is poorly controlled.
A bunion on the big toe or a tailor’s bunion on the small toe can cause the toe to bend in towards the other toes. This misalignment can cause any of the toes to overlap and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Congenital abnormalities or birth defects may be the cause. If that is the case, other symptoms may or may not be present. The condition is usually diagnosed at birth and other symptoms are evaluated to see if the problem is more serious.
Problems Caused by Overlapping Toes
Overlapping toes can cause the formation of calluses and corns. Blisters may form when walking or running. The rubbing can lead to infection or ulceration.
As the pain and irritation becomes worse, the rest of the joints of the feet may be affected. Pain in the heels, ball of the foot, knees and lower back may occur, as posture is negatively affected. Unconsciously, people change the way that they walk, in order to reduce the pressure on the bent toe.
Treating Overlapping Toes
Stretching and retraining the toes to straighten them is possible, without surgery, if you begin soon enough. Corn pads and cushions can and should be used to provide temporary relief and to prevent additional deformities to the other toes.