In, Out, Under, and Over: The Many Directions of Toes

Ideally, each of our ten toes should point completely straight out from the end of its respective foot. In addition, each toe should have a little breathing room between it and any adjacent toes. When both of these occur, our feet are most likely to be free from any pain or discomfort. However, these are both ideal scenarios, and we know that life can take its toll on the feet in many different ways. From genetics and in-utero positioning to ill-fitting footwear and bunions, many things can cause the toes to bend out of shape and overlap. As the title of this blog suggests, here are 4 of the most common abnormal directions of the feet and toes:

1. In-toeing: In-toeing refers more to the direction of the feet than the toes, but it is when the feet face inward instead of straight.

2. Out-toeing: On the other hand, out-toeing is when the feet point outward instead of straight.

In most cases, in-toeing and out-toeing are painless, occur in very young children, and correct themselves on their own. However, they might make the individual more unstable and susceptible to tripping and falling. Orthotics may help support the feet of those who are prone to in- or out-toeing.

3. Overlapping toes: An overlapping toe, as its name suggests, bends over a neighboring toe. The fifth toe is most likely to overlap the fourth toe.

4. Underlapping toes: An underlapping toe does the opposite—it tucks underneath a neighboring toe. The fourth and fifth toes are most commonly affected.

Overlapping and underlapping toes, because they are no longer in their usual locations, can become irritated and form corns, calluses, or blisters. Taping the toes so that they are straight is typically the initial treatment, but surgery may be required to release certain tendons and tissues that are causing the problem.

As summer approaches and flip-flops and sandals become everyday fashion, the doctors at the Foot and Ankle Centers of North Houston do not want you to be self-conscious about your feet. If you are suffering from any toe deformities, from the ones listed above to hammertoes, you should not hesitate to request an appointment at any of our offices in the North Houston, Texas area. Contact us or call us at (281) 444-4114 today!