Your feet have a hard job to do, bearing the full force and weight of your body (and then some) with each step you take every day. Usually they do a phenomenal job, although unfortunately structural problems and other deformities do sometimes occur, either due to genetic factors or just from years of wear and tear. One common toe deformity is overlapping toe (or crossover toe), a condition in which one digit crosses overtop another—usually the second toe over the first. This can not only make walking painful and difficult, but also lead to other problems throughout the legs, back, and spine.
The good news is that a number of treatment options exist to help either correct or compensate for a case of overlapping toes, relieving pain and discomfort. However, it’s important to seek help as soon as you notice a problem. This problem could have a number of possible causes; coming up with a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan as soon as possible greatly increases the odds that your condition can be managed effectively using conservative measures.
Non-surgical measures may include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:
- Stretching, exercise, and other physical therapy techniques designed to strengthen supporting muscles, improve joint flexibility, and prevent further progression of the deformity.
- Physical tools or inserts designed to keep the toes in place. These might include toe spacers, gel toe caps, toe combs, splints, or “buddy taping” the toe to its more stable neighbor. A more extensive prefabricated or custom orthotic device may also be recommended if there are related structural problems that may be contributing to the development of your overlapping toes.
- Switching to shoe styles that better accommodate the deformity, such as those with stiffer soles and a taller toe box.
In many cases, if you seek help early enough, these and other simple techniques will be more than sufficient to relieve your pain and restore mobility and quality of life. However, more serious cases where the joints are more rigid may require surgical intervention. We consider surgery a last resort, to be used only when conservative care proves ineffective. However, we won’t hesitate to recommend it if we think it’s your best option. Specific procedures vary based on your condition; your surgeon will fully explain the process and any follow-up instructions to you during your appointment.
Don’t wait for overlapping toes to cause serious pain and mobility problems—be proactive and give us a call at the first sign of trouble so we can help you overcome them as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment with the Foot Specialists of Long Island in Massapequa, NY, please use our online contact form or give us a call at 516-804-9038.