Overlapping toes are a common deformity of the toes in which one toe lies on top of the adjacent toe. It can occur at any age and can involve any toe, but is mostly seen in the fifth and the second toes.
The exact cause of overlapping toes is still unclear, but a number of factors are considered responsible for overlapping toes.
If left untreated, the overlapping toes become fixed or rigid in the position, which are more difficult to realign.
Unlike many other foot deformities in children, overlapping toes do not often correct by themselves. It is better to seek treatment in the early stages, when conservative measures quite effectively remove the problem.
In infants, the toes are usually flexible and respond well to stretching exercises and tapping to hold the toes in a straight position. About two to three months treatment is required, but the toes may go back to the overlapped position afterwards.
In older children and adults, the treatment includes:
Making the toes comfortable by:
Aligning the overlapping toes with the help of :
These keep the toes stretched and separated, thus helping to realign them in their normal position.
Surgery should only be considered when the problem is severe and/or does not respond to conservative measures.
Surgical treatment involves releasing tension in the skin, tendons and surrounding soft tissues to remove the contracture and to straighten out the toe.
A pin may also be placed to keep the toe straight. This pin projects out from the toe and is removed two or three weeks after the operation. Meanwhile the foot is protected by applying a cast or special post-op shoe.
Orthotics that will help to treat Overlapping Toes can be found below.