Deformities of the lesser toes are frequently the secondary result of a bunion or deviated big toe. However, in some feet, lesser toe deformities can occur on their own or after trauma. Deformities can be varied and can result in the lesser toes riding up or across (crossover toe) towards the big toe or the adjacent toe. Symptoms can include pain over the top of the toe and difficultly getting the foot into a shoe. It is also common to develop a callosity or thickening of the skin over the sole of the foot that can be painful to walk on. This can sometimes be described as ‘walking on a stone.
Lesser toe deformities such as a hammer or crossover toes can be managed with toe splints or shoe inserts (orthotics or insoles) to either reduce the deformity or re-distribute pressure and relieve pain over the bottom of the foot. Walking barefoot can also be painful and wearing soft shoewear at home can also be helpful.
Surgical correction can be done as part of the correction of a co-existing bunion, or in some cases only for the lesser toes. Correction may involve bony procedures over the metatarsal and/or ligament reconstruction. Post-operative rehabilitation is similar to bunion surgery and usually involves ambulating or walking in a medical sandal for a short period of time.
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