2752 North Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
Serving Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Greater Chicagoland Communities
Overlapping, Underlapping Toes
Dr. Debra Young and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your feet. Please use our podiatric library to learn more about foot problems and treatments available. We have articles on prevention and treatment. There are also conditions that are in the big toe that are not bunions. You need to know about these also so you can be well informed. Hallux Rigidus and hallus limitus describe stiffness in the great toe joints; but without a big angle. We call them "no sympathy" bunions because one's friends remark "how can it hurt if it looks so normal". If that sounds familiar, read about those conditions under foot problems and foot deformities.
We also have booklets you can request free of charge; select contact us and send us an email to get them.
Overlapping toes are characterized by one toe lying on top of an adjacent toe. The fifth toe is the most commonly affected. Overlapping toes may develop in the unborn fetus. Passive stretching and adhesive taping is most commonly used to correct overlapping toes in infants, but the deformity usually recurs. Sometimes they can be surgically corrected by releasing the tendon and soft tissues about the joint at the base of the fifth toe. In some extreme cases, a pin may be surgically inserted to hold the toe in a straightened position. The pin, which exits the tip of the toe, may be left in place for up to three weeks.
Underlapping toes usually involve the fourth and fifth toes. (A special form of underlapping toes is called congenital curly toes). The cause of underlapping toes is unknown. It is speculated that they may be caused by an imbalance in muscle strength of the small muscles of the foot. If deformed toes are flexible, a simple release of the tendon in the bottom of the toe will allow for them to straighten. If the deformity is rigid, surgery may be needed to remove a small portion of the bone in the toe.