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I Have Curled Toes — Is There Something Wrong?

Published: September 8, 2020

“I have curled toes. Is there something wrong with my feet?” Everyones’ toes come in different shapes and sizes. Long, short, stubby, curled, straight. Just because your feet are a certain way, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong. Curled toes are characterized by your toes bending downwards. Typically your joints at the end or middle of the toe cause the downward trend.

Curled Toes: What Are They?

Curled Toes

There are a number of conditions associated with curled toes. Everything – from your shoes to your lifestyle – affect our feet in different ways. It’s important to identify the known symptoms to diagnose the condition.

The following three Toe Deformities are curled toes.

Hammertoes

The smallest four toes of each foot have three bony segments connected by two joints. A Hammertoe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the toe. This term describes all lesser toe deformities. The second toe is most often affected. If your second toe is the longest of all five, then hammertoe is more likely. Hammertoe can affect one or more toes and can either be flexible or rigid.

Claw Toe

A claw toe has an abnormal bend in both the middle joint and the last joint closest to the toenail of a toe. Claw toe occurs mostly in the second through fifth toes.

Mallet Toe

A mallet toe has an abnormal bend in the joint of the toe that is closest to the toenail.

Curled Toes: Causes

Your Shoes

Most often, curled toes develop over time from wearing Footwear that’s too short, narrow, tall, or pointy. If you’re a runner, ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate the problem even more considering the impact and duration of exercise. Ill-fitting shoes crowd the toes, causing the tendons of the toes to contract and tighten. Extended time in this position causes a shift in the shape of your foot, curling your toes. Additionally, high arches and Bunions reduce the room in your shoe’s toe box. For these reasons, people with high arches and bunions may be more prone to curled toes.

To solve these problems, get a proper footwear fitting. In fact, ill-fitting shoes that are the leading cause of foot pain and foot problems and eight out of 10 people’s shoes fit incorrectly.Curled Toes

Shoe Fitting sessions are done at your local shoe store, including here at Feet First Clinic. We offer every customer a comprehensive footwear assessment free of charge to ensure that you invest in the healthiest footwear for your unique feet. Our footwear specialists and chiropodists will help match your foot shape, structure, and alignment to specific shoes and footwear features that answer to your corrective, supportive, or accommodative needs.

Other Reasons

Alternatively, muscle imbalances can cause curled toes. These imbalances can occur due to a variety of reasons including faulty biomechanics, long toes, neuromuscular disease, systemic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes), and and genetics.

Treatment for Curled Toes

Footwear

As mentioned, the best treatment for curled toes is to invest and choose the proper footwear. If necessary, custom foot orthotics may be of benefit as well depending on your gait and foot type. Visit us in-store at 2481 Bloor St. W in Toronto. We’re open six days a week.  Looking for footwear? No appointment necessary, and we carry Industry-leading Products.

Exercises

At-home exercises and stretches are the best form of DIY to help prevent and treat curled toes. Mix any number of these stretches and exercises into your routine to better the health of your feet.

  • Stretch your toes: If your curled toes are flexible, stretch your toes as straight as possible and hold for 5-10 seconds. Avoid this if it’s too painful, but once those tendons shorten, or shorten the reps before building up to longer time.
  • Toe Lifts: Raise your toes off the ground and lower. Repeat 10-15 times. Make an effort to spread your toes when doing the lifts for additional benefit.
  • Floor Grips: With your feet flat on the floor, grip the ground with your toes to move forward. Moving ahead even a few centimetres at a time will be a challenge.
  • Marble pickup: Place any number of marbles on the ground and pick them up with your toes. This will help extend the range of motion of your toes and strengthen the tendons and ligaments in your toes
  • Towel curls: Place a towel on the ground and scrunch it with your toes. Aim to curl up the toe.

Curled Toes? We’re Here To Help!

If you have curled toes and want to discuss your options, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists for a thorough assessment to determine an appropriate treatment plan.

Call us at 416-769-3338 or Book Your Assessment Today!

Book an appointment

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).