On one or both feet, an overlapping toe is pretty typical.

It can be a hereditary disorder. It might also be brought on by having shoes that are overly tight or by having a foot condition. The most typical impacted toe is an overlapping pinky. It can also affect the second and large toes. It can have an impact on people of all ages, even infants. In this post, we’ll look more closely at the reasons of an overlapping toe and the available treatments, including those for infants.

Listed below are a few of the most frequent causes in adults.


Your toes may overlap from birth. Additionally, you can be born with a foot bone structure that eventually results in an overlapping toe. It is believed that overlapping toes are related to Morton’s toe, a longer second toe.

Snug-fitting footwear

Your little toe may be forced out of alignment if your shoes are either tiny or too tight in the toe box. A toe may progressively overlap if you wear pointy-toed shoes or high heels.


Your toes’ alignment may vary due to arthritis-related joint pain and inflammation in your foot. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis can alter the anatomy of your foot and cause your big toe and bunion to overlap.


Your feet and toes may be impacted by your walking style and posture.

According to studies, overpronation, or when your foot rolls inward too much when you walk, is linked to the emergence of bunions and overlapping toes. Additionally, a tight calf muscle can put pressure on your foot’s ball, which can lead to a bunion and an overlapping toe.

Foot problems


A bunion, which develops at the base of the big toe, might cause your big toe to cross over onto your second toe.

Flat feet

An overlapping toe is more likely to occur in those who have flat feet. Flat feet may be inherited or may develop over time.

Hammer toe

When you have a hammer toe, your toe bends downward rather than straight ahead, which could result in the toes overlapping. A bunion may cause a hammer toe.

Tall arches. High arches can cause a hammer toe and overlapping toes, which may be inherited or the result of a medical problem.

Other elements


Your feet tend to flatten or roll inward as you age. This may result in overlapping toes among other foot problems.


The joints in your toes could be harmed by a foot injury.

Causes of newborns’ overlapping toes

Only a small portion of infants are born with overlapping toes. Usually, the pinky toe is the one that crosses the fourth toe. Girls and boys are both equally impacted.

It’s believed that an overlapping toe is inherited.

The baby’s posture in the womb sometimes causes the toes to crowd, causing the pinky to overlap.

About 25% of infants who are born with overlapping toes spontaneously improve without needing any therapy.

choices for neonatal treatment

Conservative treatments can usually be used to successfully treat an overlapping toe in a newborn.

Taping the toe is typically sufficient. In a 2007 research of 44 newborns with overlapping toes, it was discovered that by just taping the toes straight, 94% of the infants either improved or were cured after 6 months.

Toe spacers and little stretching. These have been discovered to be a successful method of treating overlapping toes in newborns.

Start your therapy early. The optimum time to begin therapy for an overlapping toe, according to study, is before a kid begins to walk. Otherwise, the toe can stiffen up and need surgery to be fixed.

Adult treatment for overlapping toes

If your toe is hurting, make an appointment with your physician or a foot specialist very once. The better the outcome is going to be, the earlier you treat your overlapping toe. The initial line of treatment for overlapping toe pain and discomfort is typically a conservative one. Surgery can be suggested by your doctor if these don’t work.

Precautionary measures

  1. Ensure that your shoes are a correct fit. Wearing cosy shoes with a big toe box is the first step to easing foot pain. Look for a speciality shoe store with a qualified fitter who can assist you in finding the appropriate size and fit. You can also take your choice of shoes to your foot doctor to find out which ones are comfortable and which ones are not.
  2. Wear toe spacers. These can be obtained at most drugstores, online, or even custom-made by your foot specialist. Separators come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you might need to experiment to find one that works for you.
  3. Examine inserts and pads. Use shoe inserts to straighten your foot and toes if a bunion is causing your big toe to overlap, or bunion pads to ease strain.
  4. Put on a splint. In order to assist straighten an overlapping toe, your doctor can advise putting on a splint at night. Additionally, a prescription orthotic for your shoes may be suggested by your doctor.
  5. Decide to use physical therapy. This could be especially useful if the toe overlap is being caused by tight muscles and tendons. A physical therapist will probably also recommend exercises for you to perform at home in order to strengthen your foot muscles, straighten your toe, and ease pain.
  6. Apply foot ice. If your overlapping toe is sore or if a bunion is present, icing your toe or foot may help reduce pain and inflammation.
  7. Keep your weight steady. Losing extra weight might ease pressure on your feet if you’re overweight.


If non-invasive treatments are unsuccessful in relieving your pain or straightening your toes, surgery may be advised.

The preferred course of action for treating:

An extreme amount of pinky toe overlap

A bunion on the big toe

Issues with overlapping toes

The symptoms may take time to appear and may worsen if other foot issues are present.

It’s advisable to visit a doctor as soon as possible to avoid problems getting worse and to choose the best course of treatment for properly aligning your toes.

Common situations

  • Pain. It could be painful to walk if your toe rubs against the sole of your shoe. Your gait may alter as a result, which may have an impact on your legs and other muscles.
  • Corns. A corn is a little, firm protrusion that develops on your toe’s top or sides. When wearing shoes, it could be unpleasant and sensitive to touch.
  • Calluses. On the bottom or side of your foot, these areas of thicker skin can develop. They resemble corns but are typically larger and less uncomfortable. Repeatedly applying too much pressure to the skin of your feet might result in calluses.
  • Bursitis. Inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that surround your joints is what causes this illness. Your toe joint may develop bursitis if your shoes scrape against your overlapping toes.
  • Metatarsalgia. This painful ailment causes inflammation in the ball of your foot. It could be connected to hammertoe, high arches, bunions, or a lengthy second toe.

In Conclusion

Conservative treatments can be used to treat overlapping toes, which are rather frequent. If less intrusive therapies are ineffective, surgery could be advised. The toe can often be successfully taped in a straight position in neonates. An overlapping toe can either be genetic or develop as you age. Bunions and hammer toes are two other foot conditions that overlapped toes are frequently accompanied by.

As soon as you have pain or other overlapping toe symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. An overlapped toe should be treated as soon as possible for the best chance of success.

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