Toe exercises improve foot flexibility and strength and can help alleviate muscle soreness caused by the stress exerted on the foot each day. Healthy toes also improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls.
Hallux Rigiditis is a form of degenerative arthritis at the metatarsophalangeal or MTP joint where the base of your big toe attaches to the foot. Arthritis is the inflammation of joints as a result of degeneration of the smooth cartilage that lines the ends of bones in a joint. This degeneration of the cartilages leads to painful rubbing of the bones, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, resulting in restricted movements.
Overlapping or Underlapping Toe
An overlapping or underlapping toe is an abnormal condition in which a toe overlaps or underlaps the toe next to it. Although this can happen with any toe, it usually affects the fifth and second toes. The toe may be flexible, allowing it to return to its normal position, or it may be rigid and fixed.
Stiff Big Toe (Hallux Rigidus)
A stiff big toe, also called hallux rigidus, is a form of degenerative arthritis affecting the joint where the big toe (hallux) attaches to the foot. The toe typically becomes stiff at the base and is sometimes called a “frozen joint”. Degenerative arthritis is a medical condition characterized by the chronic breakdown of cartilage in the joints leading to painful inflammation and stiffness.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow passageway that lies on the inside of your ankle and runs into the foot. It encloses arteries, veins, tendons and nerves that supply the foot. The tunnel holds very limited space as it is formed between bones and overlying fibrous tissues. Within the tarsal tunnel lies and runs a nerve called ‘posterior tibial nerve’.
Talus is a small bone in your ankle joint. It sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the confluence of two bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibula). Talus connects the lower leg to the foot to form the ankle and helps transfer weight across the ankle joint. A vertical talus, also called “congenital vertical talus or CVT”, is a rare foot deformity typically seen at the time of birth.
A Jones fracture occurs when there is a break between the base and the shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone in your foot. This is a small region that receives limited blood supply and is prone to fracture. The fifth metatarsal is a long bone that is located on the outside of your foot and connects to the smallest toe. There are five metatarsal bones in each foot and the fifth is the one which is more commonly fractured.
Tarsal coalition is a foot disorder that occurs due to an abnormal connection between two or more tarsal bones. These bones are located at the back of the foot and in the heel. Basically, with this condition, the bones tend to grow within one another and are joined together with the help of surrounding bones and cartilage. Tarsal coalition may result in severe flatfoot.
Metatarsalgia is a condition in which pain and inflammation are caused due to overuse or injury to the ball of the foot - the area between the toes and the arch. This condition mainly affects the joints at the base of the five-toe bones. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and activities and perform a physical examination.
A fracture is defined as a break in the continuity of the bone when a force against your body is too strong for the bone to bear. A toe fracture is when one or more of the toe bones of the foot are broken after severe trauma to the toes or foot. Toe fractures are commonly divided into 2 types namely, traumatic fracture and stress fracture. Traumatic fractures occur when there is a direct impact of your toes on a hard surface.
Frostbite and Your Feet
Frostbite is a condition characterized by injury to the skin and tissues that are exposed to extremely cold temperatures. The most affected parts are the outermost layer of the skin of the feet and hands. Frostbite is caused mainly due to the exposure of your feet to extremely cold climates or direct contact with any cold liquids, ice packs, or cold surfaces.
Lesser Toe Deformities
Lesser toe deformity is an abnormality in the anatomy of your toe that occurs as a result of imbalance between the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles. Lesser toes in your foot are those other than the big toes and together stabilize your foot while standing and help in balancing the body. Lesser toes are susceptible to various deformities that can affect their position and cause other complications of the toes.
Bunionette (Tailor's Bunion)
Bunionette, also called Tailor’s bunion, is a bony lump formed along the outside of the little toe at the base. It occurs when the very bottom bone (fifth metatarsal bone) of the little toe enlarges or shifts outward. Sometimes, it can be a bony spur (an outgrowth of bone) on the side of the fifth metatarsal bone head.
A subungual exostosis is a benign tumor of bone and cartilage protruding near the tip of a toe or finger, just under or adjacent to the nail. It usually involves the big toe but can also involve other digits of the foot or hand. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and certain tests. During the physical examination, the appearance of the toe and nail are noted.
Warts are harmless outgrowths on the skin caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. They grow on all body parts including face, fingers, feet, legs, hands, knees, inside your mouth, and on the genital and rectal areas. Plantar warts appear on the bottom or soles of your feet. Plantar warts can spread from one person to another with skin contact.
Nail Bed Injuries
Nails cover the tips of the fingers and toes and are composed of a nail plate, nail matrix and nail bed. The nail bed is the soft tissue that lies below the nail and is essential for the growth of the nail. Nail bed injuries such as crush and avulsion injuries commonly occur when the nail bed gets compressed between the hard nail on top and the toe bone below it.
The talus is a small bone at the ankle joint that connects the heel bone and the shinbones, enabling up and down movement of the foot. Fractures in the talus bone may occur due to a fall from a great height, motor vehicle accident or sports injury. When you present to the clinic with these symptoms, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and order an X-ray or CT scan to determine the location and severity of the fracture.
Turf toe is an injury to the ligament at the base of the big toe. It is a painful condition that usually results from jamming the toe into the ground or excessive backward bending of the toe. As it is more common in athletes playing on artificial turf, especially those involved in field sports such as football, baseball, and soccer, it is known as turf toe.
Intoeing, also called “pigeon-toed”, is an abnormal condition characterized by the inward facing of the toe or foot instead of being straight. You may observe intoeing in your child at an early age when they start walking. Usually, intoeing corrects itself without any specific treatment as your child grows up to around 8 years of age.
Morton’s neuroma refers to a nerve injury that occurs between the toes, usually the third and fourth toes. This causes pain and thickening of the nerve tissue. Compression or chronic irritation of this interdigital nerve is the main cause of Morton’s neuroma. Excess pressure exerted on the nerves due to the narrowing of the gap between the toe bones can cause thickening of the nerve tissue from scar tissue formation.
A hammertoe is a deformity of a lesser toe (second through fifth toes), where the toe is bent upward at the toe’s middle joint, resembling a hammer. The bent portion may rub against the shoe causing pain, irritation and develop corns. This condition is caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow near the toes, when the second toe is larger than the first, and as a complication of arthritis and certain neuromuscular conditions.
Nails are an extension of the top layer of the skin and are composed of a nail plate (top layer) and nail bed (skin below the nail plate). The nail matrix is the region where your toenail begins to grow. Nails are made of keratin (protein) and help to protect your fingers and toes from injury. Toenail conditions can range from minor infections to severe trauma.
Out-toeing is an abnormal condition characterized by the toes or foot pointing in an outward direction rather than straight ahead while standing or walking. It is usually noticed at an early age when a child starts walking and normally resolves on its own, but it may persist into adulthood and can sometimes cause pain and disability.
Mallet toe is a deformity where the toe abnormally bends downward, resembling a hammer or mallet. The bones at the tip of the toe are connected by the distal interphalangeal joint (DIP). Muscle imbalance or damage to the tendons or ligaments of the DIP causes contraction and deformity. Mallet toe can be either flexible, where the joint is still movable, or rigid, where the deformity is fixed.
Claw toe is a deformity where a toe bends and appears like a bird’s claw. The affected toe is bent upward from the joint at the ball of the foot, and downward at the joints in the middle and tip of the toe to curl under the foot. Hard, thick skin called corns may develop under the ball of the foot or on the top of the affected toe, causing pain while walking.
An ingrown toenail is a common and painful condition of the toe. It occurs when the side or corner of the nail grows inwards and penetrates the skin of the toe. Pain is often accompanied by swelling and redness. The big toe is affected most often. Ingrown toenails occur most often by wearing tight shoes, having unusually curved nails that grow downward or trimming your nails too short.
A corn is a circular area of thickened skin developed because of continuous friction or pressure. They usually develop on the soles of feet or on the top or sides of toes and appear as yellowish dead tissue surrounding an area of tenderness. Pain and discomfort may be present with walking, which can become more painful without treatment.
A sesamoid fracture is a break in the sesamoid bone. Sesamoids are two small, pea-shaped bones located in the ball beneath the big toe joint at the bottom of the foot. Sesamoid bones are connected to muscles and other bones by tendons that envelop these bones. Sesamoids help the big toe move normally and absorb the weight placed on the ball.
Fifth Metatarsal Fractures
The metatarsal bones are the long bones in your feet. There are five metatarsal bones in each foot. The fifth metatarsal is the long bone that is located on the outside of the foot and connects to the small toe. The fifth metatarsal bone is more commonly fractured. There are two types of fractures that often occur in the fifth metatarsal, avulsion fracture, and Jones fracture.
Hallux limitus is a condition characterized by stiffness and decreased movement of the big toe. As the condition progresses, bone spurs and arthritis may develop in the toe joint (metatarsophalangeal joint), eventually leading to complete joint rigidity.
Sesamoids are two small, pea-shaped bones located in the ball beneath the big toe joint at the bottom of the foot. Sesamoid bones are connected to muscles and other bones by tendons that envelop these bones. Sesamoids help the big toe move normally and absorb the weight placed on the ball.
Bunionette also referred to as a tailor’s bunion is a bony lump that grows on the outside of the foot at the base of your little toe. The deformity got its name as q tailor’s bunion when tailors once sat with their legs crossed all day, with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This constant rubbing gave rise to a painful bump at the base of their little toe.