Tackling Toe Problems

Remember the little piggy that cried wee, wee, wee? Let’s face it, sometimes our piggies have problems. There are all sorts of issues that can affect our toes. Luckily, Advanced Foot & Ankle Center can treat a wide range of troubling toe problems.


This is an enlargement of the big toe joint caused by inherited foot structure or ill-fitting shoes. The big toe moves inward toward the others, forcing the protruding joint outward. Friction from shoes pressing on the area results in pain and swelling. A variety of treatment options are available, including surgery.

Digit Deformities

These mainly result from an imbalance of the tendons surrounding the toe. Those with flat feet, long toes, or high arches have the greatest tendency to develop deformities. Arthritis is another culprit, as is an injury that has healed incorrectly. Poorly fitting shoes accentuate the problem.

Claw Toes

Nerve damage from diseases like diabetes can weaken muscles in the foot and cause claw toe. The name is derived from the appearance of the toes. This condition can be repaired if caught early, but without treatment it can become permanent.


Mainly affecting the second, third, or fourth toes, this condition is characterized by the middle joint bending in such a way that the toe resembles a hammer. Early treatment can prevent inflexibility, otherwise surgical correction is required. Stretching exercises and cushioning pads can help.

Hallux Limitus

Otherwise known as a stiff big toe joint, this toe problem is caused by an abnormal alignment of the first metatarsal bone. Left untreated, it can cause further joint problems as well as painful bone spurs. Common treatments include anti-inflammatory medications and orthotic shoe inserts.

Hallux Rigidis

Also referred to as rigid big toe, this occurs as a result of the articular cartilage wearing down causing bone to rub against bone. An overgrowth, or bone spur, may develop, preventing the toe to bend when you walk, which can be painful and make walking difficult.

Hallux Varus

When the big toe points away from the second toe, it is a condition known as hallux varus. A number of causes could be responsible, such as congenital deformity, injury, complication from bunion surgery, an absent fibular sesamoid, and short or tight halluces tendons. Treatments usually involve stretching exercises and toe splints, but in severe cases, surgery is an option.

In-Toeing and Out-Toeing

If your feet are positioned too far inward or outward, we call this in-toeing and out-toeing. Both conditions can affect young children, although most outgrow it. In persistent cases, special shoes or foot supports may be necessary to help feet stay in the right position during formative development.

Over or Underlapping

Overlapping toes are signified by a toe (most commonly the fifth toe) lying on top of an adjacent one. Stretching and taping can help correct the condition, and even surgical procedures are available for stubborn cases. The underlapping form typically involves the fourth and fifth toes. An imbalance of muscle strength is thought to be a possible cause. This condition may be treated by releasing the tendon in the bottom of the toe with surgery. Congenital curly toes are an additional variation of the condition.

Subungal Exotosis

This toe problem involves a bone spur that develops under the toenail. It is most often caused by a trauma resulting in the formation of a bony prominence. Normally, surgical removal is necessary.

Turf Toe

An external force is placed on the big toe, hyperextending, tearing, and rupturing the soft tissue structures that support it. This often occurs in athletes. Since the pain is not quite enough to sideline them, symptoms are often ignored, causing a prolonged healing process.

These are just some of the many toe problems treated here at Advanced Foot & Ankle Center. If your piggies are causing you pain, don’t cry wee, wee, wee, just call (302) 623-4250 to make an appointment with Raymond A. DiPretoro Jr., DPM, FACFAS. Stop by one of our Delaware locations in Newark, Wilmington, and Glasgow, and put an end to your toe troubles today!

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Please call us at (302) 355-0056.
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Our Locations

Newark, DE Podiatrist
Advanced Foot and Ankle Center - Neuroscience & Surgery Institute of DE.
774 Christiana Road, Suite #105, Newark, DE 19713
(302) 355-0056

Wilmington Office
1415 Foulk Road, Suite #101, Foulkstone Plaza, Wilmington, DE 19803
(302) 355-0056

Middletown Office
Middletown Medical Center 210 Cleaver Farm Road Building B, Suite 2 Middletown, DE 19709
(302) 355-0056