The structure of the toes is what enables humans to stand stably on their two feet. It is the combination of these five digits on each foot connected with a combination of muscles, tendons, and nerves that enables activities like walking, standing, and everything that requires the use of the foot. There are a number of conditions and diseases that may affect the toes. Crooked toes are one of the most common problems associated with this joint. There are different types of crooked toes, for example, mallet, overlapped, claw, and hammer toes. They might cause problem in functioning and can also be painful.
Overlapping toes are usually caused by decreased muscle strength in the toes. Wearing tight shoes or high heeled shoes, in the case of women, can cause the muscles to get constricted and force one or more toes over the others. The existence of a hammertoe or a bunion on the foot can also lead to overlapping toes. Genetics also sometimes play a part in a person acquiring this condition.
High-heeled shoes are one of the main causes of hammer toe. The resistance of the toes to lie flat while wearing such constricting shoes results in the muscles to get imbalanced and thus causing hammer toe. A stub or jerk to the toe can also result in the toe to bend suddenly in an upward or downward position and remain there until treated. The chances of hammer toe increase with increasing age as the bones get weaker, and the chances of arthritis increase.
Wearing restrictive or improper footwear for a prolonged time is one of the major causes of mallet toe. The last joint of the toe is very delicate and hence even the slightest of pressures for a long time can cause damage to that joint. Arthritis is also a leading cause as the bones become weak, creating an imbalance of the muscles with the bones.
Unlike other toe conditions, claw foot is not a result of damaged or weak muscles but the imbalance of the nerve functions in the toe. One of the major causes of claw toe is rheumatoid arthritis. Other conditions such as diabetes, cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie tooth disease, and stroke are also sometimes responsible for this condition. Alcoholism has often been connected to claw toes by many doctors and researchers.
Overlapping toes are characterized by redness between the affected toes and growing pain. Inflammation is also a sign but is not seen in all conditions. A person who is affected by overlapping toes often changes his way or style of walking which is usually not noticeable to them but to others. The bend in the toe is highly noticeable when it comes to the hammer toe. Corns or calluses and excruciating pain while trying to move the first two toes are the initial signs of hammer toe. It also changes the way one stands or walks.
Symptoms of mallet toe include redness and soreness near the affected toe. Swelling might be noticed in the entire region surrounding the toe. The rubbing of the bent toe on shoes can cause the formation of corns or calluses. Ulcers may form if the person is suffering from diabetes.
In the scenario of a claw toe, the toe forms a claw like shape. It is often called a mixture of mallet toe and hammer toe. The ball joint is jutted upwards where as the middle joint is bent downwards making the toe look like a claw. The toes literally dig into the ground while walking and hence corns and calluses are a common result of claw toes.
These are the common signs that one has a major toe condition:
Surgery is one of the last options. Surgery is a sure shot chance at correcting the conditions, but only in a condition where non-surgical methods are futile in treating the condition. Consult the doctor for more on how surgery can help. Non-surgical options are cost-effective and also easier to adapt to. There are number of non-surgical options which help in treating and sometimes preventing the condition to occur again.
Toe problems are curable but if not diagnosed and treated on time can stay for life. It is therefore very necessary to seek the right medical advice and use the right treatment options to avoid further complications.
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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.
He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...
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