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Treatment Options for Different Types Of Bent Toes

Do you have one or more toes that are bent or crooked? If so, you’re not alone. There are a variety of conditions that can cause your toes to become bent or crooked, and even if they are not painful at the moment, this catawampus appearance warrants attention. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some conditions that can result in bent or misshapen toes, and we discuss different treatment options for each.

Why Is My Toe Bent?

Before we take a look at some conditions that can lead to bent or crooked toes, know that this is just general advice, and you’d be better served getting a specific diagnosis from a physician who can view your toes in person. With that said, here are some toe conditions that can lead to misshapen toes.

  • Bunion – Perhaps the most common condition that leads to a visibly misshapen toe is the bunion. A bunion occurs when pressure on the big toe joint causes it to become misaligned. This typically forces the tip of the big toe towards the rest of the toes while the base of the big toe expands outward, leading to the formation of a bony prominence on the side of the big toe joint. Bunions only tend to get worse and more symptomatic if not treated appropriately, so don’t assume you can ignore the bunion just because it’s not painful. Poor fitting shoes are the most common contributing factor to bunion onset, so make sure your toes have plenty of space inside a comfortable and supportive shoe in order to limit bunion progression.
  • Hammertoe – When the bend occurs in your middle toes, it’s oftentimes the result of a hammertoe. A hammertoe develops when damage occurs to the soft tissues that support your toes. If these ligaments are damaged, they may contract or shorten, causing your toe to bend at the middle joint. This condition is also caused by poorly fitting shoes. When shoes are too tight, your toes are pressed inward and forced to bend. Over time, this damages the soft tissues and can lead to a permanent bend at the mid-toe. Making footwear changes can prevent the “soft” hammertoe from becoming a “rigid” hammertoe.
  • Mallet Toe – Much of the above paragraph can be used to describe a mallet toe, but the difference between these two conditions lies in which toe joint is affected. Mallet toe affects the joint nearest the toenail, almost causing the toe to curl under a bit, which is different from the bent appearance you’d see with a hammertoe. Again, careful consideration of footwear choices can serve to prevent and treat mallet toe. Both hammertoes and mallet toes tend to affect the second, third and fourth toes on your feet.
  • Bunionette – A final toe condition that we’ll touch on is a bunionette, and it’s similar in nature to a standard bunion. However, a bunionette develops on your pinky toe, not your great toe. You may notice a small bump on the outside of your pinky toe joint and an inwardly crooked appearance to the small toe. Symptoms are generally less severe than a standard bunion, but you’ll still want to make some simple adjustments to your footwear choices so that the condition doesn’t worsen.

Wearing the right shoes can significantly lower your likelihood of developing all of these toe problems, but more hands-on care may be necessary if the problem progresses beyond a certain point. Dr. McDonald and his team would be more than happy to help treat all stages of misshapen toes and help alleviate any associated symptoms. For more information, contact his office today at (860) 244-8889.

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