Overlapping and underlapping toes

An overlapping toe is, reasonably obviously, when one toe lies on top of an adjacent toe. The fifth toe is the most commonly affected. The condition can develop before birth, and although stretching and adhesive taping might temporarily correct the situation in infants, the deformity usually reoccurs.

Sometimes a surgical procedure is used to release the tendon and soft tissues around the joint at the base of the fifth toe and, in some extreme cases, a pin may be surgically inserted to hold the toe in a straightened position.

Underlapping toes usually involve the fourth and fifth toes. The cause is unknown, though it’s likely to result from an imbalance in the muscle strength of the small muscles of the foot.  If the affected toes are flexible enough, release of the tendon in the bottom of the toe will allow them to straighten. However, if the deformity is rigid, surgery may be needed.