Crooked Toes: Types, Causes, and Treatment

curly toes

How to Get Rid of Crooked Toes

The toes are essential parts of the body. As small as they are, they add enormous benefits to the body. Without toes, running would be impossible. Quite a lot of things can hurt the toes. Incidents ranging from falls to stubbing them or banging them while sporting. However, some defects have been identified to cause toes to ache. These defects include; hammer toe, mallet toe, or arthritis.

What Is Crooked Toe?

Crooked toe occurs when your foot and toes develop strangely as a result of imbalanced joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These imbalanced tissues cause the toes to bend oddly. Though in some cases, this bend and imbalance might not cause pain, in some other cases, your toes might hurt as a result of your joints rubbing against one another.

People who have crooked toes are mostly born with it, while in some cases, crooked toes begin to develop later in life. There are different types of crooked toes, with each peculiar to a particular cause and hurt in its own particular way.

As ugly as they look, crooked toes do not require any serious medical attention. A few adjustments to lifestyles, choices of footwear, and massage therapies can bring a reasonable percentage of correction to the imbalanced and oddly bent joints.

In this blog article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the types, symptoms, causes, and treatment of crooked toes.


  • Curly Toe

Curly toe occurs when the toes curl under other toes on both feet. It majorly affects infants and children. It occurs mostly on the third and fourth toe of each foot. Symptoms might not be noticeable until the child begins to walk. This toe defect is also known as an overlapping toe since one of the toes curls under the toe next to it. In some cases, curly toes correct themselves in children, while in other cases, the children grow with those toes.

  • Hammertoe

Hammertoe occurs when there are an abnormal bend and imbalance in the middle joints, muscles, and ligaments that work hand in hand to give the toes a perfect look. Hammertoe occurs on the second and third toes of each foot. Age and gender are risk factors for developing hammertoe. The record holds that women have more tendencies of developing hammertoe while the risks increase as you age.

  • Mallet Toe

Just like other toe defects, a mallet toe is caused by bones and joints bend and imbalance. The imbalance and bend occur mostly at the topmost joint of the toe that is close to the toenail.

  • Claw Toe

Claw toe is almost similar to curly toe, except the abnormal bend tilts towards the sole of the feet, instead of the curling under the toe closest to it. Claw toe is the most painful toe defect and can cause extreme soreness and corns.

  • Overlapping Toe

Overlapping toe affects more men than women and can be found in various age grades. It occurs as a result of one toe sitting on another toe that is directly adjacent to it.

  • Adductovarus Toe

This crooked toe occurs when the toe rolls into itself. In other words, the toe rotates into itself on the same spot where it is situated.

Causes and Risk Factors

Crooked toe types like a curly toe, in some cases, can be associated with a hereditary link. It runs in the family such that when one or both parents have curly toes, it is possible that their children would suffer the same fate.

  • Tight Shoes

Wearing inappropriate footwear can disfigure the appearance of your shoes. Tight shoes can stress the muscles that are meant to balance the toes on the feet, thereby causing crooked toe types like mallet toe, adductovarus toes, and hammertoe. High heels have also been found to be the cause of some crooked toes.

  • Injury

Constant stubbing of toes can lead to crooked toes. Also, when an injured toe does not heal fast, it may become crooked.

  • Obesity

obesitySevere obesity places extra stress on the feet joints and toe muscles, thereby leading to claw toe.

  • Damaged Nerve

When damage is caused to the nerve in the toes or foot, generally, a crooked toe can set in.

  • Damaged Joints

This is the major cause of crooked toes. When the joints are not balanced when they are oddly bent, and when they are injured, the aftereffect of all these factors is crooked toes.

Some Health Conditions

Some health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, can also cause crooked toes. These health conditions lead to crooked toe types like hammertoes.

  • Sex

Women have more tendencies of developing crooked toes than men.

  • Age

The risk of developing crooked toes increases as one age.

  • Toe Length

When the toe next to the big toe is longer, hammertoe becomes imminent.


  • Inflammation of the joints and redness of the skin around the joint
  • Severe toe joint pain, especially when moving it or wearing shoes.
  • Corns and soreness in the middle at the topmost joint of the toe
  • Difficulty in toe straightening
  • Open wounds, in some cases, can begin to develop.


When you leave the symptoms of crooked toes for so long, complications begin to set in, and complicated crooked toes might require a surgical fix to release tendons and straighten muscles. These complications may involve the following;

  • Permanent toe bend
  • Large open sores
  • Corns
  • Stiffness of toe joint
  • Severe inflammation


Change your footwear. This might just be enough to correct your imbalanced and oddly bent toes. Instead of wearing high heels, wear flats, or low-heeled shoes. Wear shoes that would create space for your toes. Do not wear shoes for so long; change into something freer as soon as you get the opportunity to. In addition, place toe pads in your shoes to help relieve the toes of every form of discomfort.

  • Exercise Your Feet

Engage yourself in physical activities that would straighten your feet muscles and create flexibility for your toes and feet joints. Some of these toe exercises include; picking little objects with your toes.

  • Toe Separators

Using a toe separator tool has been discovered to be effective in correcting crooked toes. The beauty of these toe separators is they can be worn both with or without shoes.

  • Toe-tapping

Tapping your toe can help correct your crooked toe. Study shows that about 85% of people who did toe-tapping for their crooked toe correction recorded significant improvements.

  • Splints

Splints and toe wraps can help with toes that are too flexible.

Surgical Fixes

For toes that are too rigid. Surgical fixes are advised. Also, severe toe joint pains can also require surgical fixes. Surgery involves removing and rotating joints for proper correction.

  • Medications

To relieve toe joints pain, use anti-inflammatory drugs. Also, try out steroids shot to reduce swellings.

  • Icing

Some crooked toe types require placing the toes on ice for some minutes to enhance proper correction.

  • Massage Therapies

AmyloidosisOpt-in for massage therapies to straighten joints and relieve joint aches. Also, use over-the-counter creams and lotions during these massages to ensure proper and permanent correction.


  • Wear appropriate shoes for your feet. Do not wear high heels for so long, do not wear tight-fitting shoes. Give your toes some free space.
  • Take walks. Walking helps free up the muscles in your toes and ensures your muscles do not compress.
  • Stretch your toes by walking barefooted once in a while
  • After a whole day of wearing high heels, sit on a chair, place a tennis-sized ball on the floor and roll your toes and feet over it for relief and straightening of strained muscles to prevent crooked toes.
  • Give your feet regular mild massages and cold compress once in a while.

In conclusion, crooked toes can be very challenging, as it looks ugly and comes with severe pains as a result of bent and imbalanced joints, muscles, and tendons in the toes and feet in general. There are various kinds of crooked toes, each with its degree of severity. Some crooked toe types come as a result of genetics, while others come as a result of unhealthy lifestyles. In order to evade crooked toes, sticking to healthy lifestyles is best. For treatment, surgical fixes, changing footwear, toe separators, and many more can help improve the condition of any crooked toe, no matter how terrible it seems.