Over and Underlapping Toes


The stress on your toes, especially inside poorly chosen shoes, is underestimated by most people, and with every step, the forces on your feet can contribute to the formation of potentially crippling deformities including underlapping and overlapping toes. These toes can become very painful as they are forced into an unnatural position that causes them to rub on top of each other, and on the inside of your footwear contributing to the formation of corns and calluses.

●     Overlapped toes - Toe overlapping usually occurs with the second toe overlapping the largest toe, but any of your toes can over or underlap an adjacent toe given the right conditions. When a bunion pushes the big toe into the other toes it can cause the toes to overlap with considerable force requiring separation with pads or orthotic inserts.

●     Underlapping toes - This condition usually involves the fourth and fifth toes and is thought to be caused by a hereditary tendon and muscle imbalance that pulls one toe over the top of the other toe. Poorly fitting shoes can make the problem worse, but the actual cause remains poorly understood. Various types of straightening devices may provide some improvement, but if the pain gets worse or causes you to alter your walking gait to favor the abnormality then it may be necessary to surgically treat the tendons, and possibly remove a small piece of the bone in the process.

If you have problems with under or overlapping toes, your foot care specialist can help. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.