Your toes may not seem vital, but they play an important role in the proper functioning of a healthy foot. Your toes are intricate structures that help you walk and run by absorbing ground pressure and assisting with balance.
Anomalies in the foot anatomy are the root of many toe disorders. These anomalies can lead to permanent alterations in the look of a toe, such as a hammertoe or a bunion, over time.
The big toe might also begin to tilt sideways as we get older. It may not be seen at first, but as the condition progresses, not only will the bend become more noticeable, but the way your foot functions may also change.
In fact, you might not realize how much effort the big toe does until this point. When you walk, you may feel pain in your big toe, discomfort in particular shoes, and even difficulty pushing off (the major function of your big toe).
As the foot and ankle try to compensate for the big toe’s loss of function, they may become strained. So, Why is My Big Toe Turning Inward? How to Cure Them?
- Why is The Big Toe Turning Inward?
- What are Hammertoe, Mallet Toe, and Claw Toe
- Cause and Treatments of Hammertoe, Mallet Toe, and Claw Toe
- What is Bunion? Anatomy and Cause
- Why Bunions Need Attention?
- Conservative Treatment
Why is The Big Toe Turning Inward?
Many of us who have spent our lives wearing traditional footwear have deviated big toes toward the midline of our feet.
The big toe sits at an angle to its corresponding metatarsal bone in this posture, and the remaining toes, especially the fifth toe, may also deviate from their original locations.
Hallux valgus is the medical word for a bent big toe, and it’s an indication of arthritis developing in the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe.
It’s vital to deal with it as soon as possible, not just to alleviate discomfort but also to try to prevent arthritis from progressing and causing major problems.
Why? If you let it continue for too long, it will result in hallux rigidus, which is when the toe becomes so arthritic that it becomes stuck in one place and cannot bend.
***See More: What To Do About Dry Cracked Feet (2021 Guide)
What are Hammertoe, Mallet Toe, and Claw Toe
You may have a hammer, mallet, or claw toe if one or more of your toes are crooked or curled under.
Because the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround your toe aren’t balanced, your foot has an unusual form. As a result, the toes flex in an unusual way.
It’s possible that your toe is hurting. Because the joint grinds on the inside of your shoe, corn or callus are common.
Each condition has a distinct appearance:
A hammertoe is a malformation in which your toe bends or curls downward rather than forward. Any toe on your foot can be affected by this condition. The second or third toe is the most commonly affected.
Although a hammertoe might be present at birth, it usually develops over time as a result of arthritis or wearing shoes that are too tight or too pointed. A hammertoe issue is usually curable.
#2. Mallet Toe
An upward bend at the toe joint is referred to as a mallet toe. It may make the toe appear curled rather than flat. The mallet toe is most common in the second toe, which is located close to the big toe.
This is due to the fact that it is frequently the longest of the four little toes. A mallet toe, like hammertoe, can also affect the third and fourth toes.
Mallet toe is a condition that affects two areas of the body. The distal interphalangeal joint (DIPJ) and the flexor digitorum longus are their names (FDL).
The DIPJ is the toe’s last and closest joint to the toenail. The FDL is a muscle that travels down from the shin to the four smaller toes.
It aids in the curling of the toes. When a muscle is overworked, it can cause a toe joint to bend upward.
#3. Claw Toe
Claw toes are toes that have been bent into an aberrant claw-like shape, as the name suggests. The four smaller toes of your foot are most commonly affected, and the middle and end joints (the joints furthest away from your ankle) buckle.
Claw toes are frequently linked to a high arched (cavus) foot, muscle imbalances, and, in rare cases, a neurological problem. Diabetic people may develop ulcers as a result of diminished foot sensitivity.
If your claw toes are not treated, they may become permanently stiff.
Cause and Treatments of Hammertoe, Mallet Toe, and Claw Toe
Wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit properly is a major factor. Shoes that are too tight can crowd your toes, pushing them to bend.
The muscles tighten and shorten after a while. You’ll soon be unable to straighten your toe.
Because of your DNA, you may be predisposed to certain issues. For example, if you have a specific foot form, such as a long second toe, your risk increases. Some disorders, such as arthritis and diabetes, might also cause complications.
If you can still flex your toes, your doctor may recommend stretching and strengthening activities. Scrunching a towel and scooping items up off the floor with your toes are two of them.
Wearing shoes with plenty of room can also assist. They should be half an inch longer than the big toe. To ease some of the pressure, your doctor may consider using shoe inserts or pads.
The bend in your toe may become permanent and inflexible over time. These are more serious cases. It is possible that you will require surgery.
What is Bunion? Anatomy and Cause
A bunion is a malformation of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe that affects many women. The big toe points inward (toward the other toes) while the first metatarsal bone of the foot twists outward, causing the joint to thrust out.
Hallux valgus is the Latin word for malformation (hallux means big toe, and valgus means turned away from the midline of the body). The protrusion caused by most shoes is not accommodated, putting pressure on the misaligned joint.
The bursa (a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and cushions the joint) becomes irritated over time, causing the joint to stiffen and become painful.
When vulnerable feet are continually pushed into small, pointed-toe footwear, a bunion is more likely to form. The big toe pushes against the other toes, diving over or under them at times.
As a result, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe juts or angles out from the foot.
Clinicians use an x-ray to determine the severity of a bunion by measuring angles between certain bones in the foot, specifically the hallux valgus angle (HVA) — the angle formed by the first and second metatarsals, known as the intermetatarsal angle — and the angle formed by the first and second metatarsals, known as the intermetatarsal angle (IMA).
The HVA has a typical top limit of 15 degrees, while the IMA has a usual upper limit of 9 degrees.
Shoes with narrow toes can develop a bunion, but they aren’t the root of the problem. Because foot type (form and structure) is inherited, and some types are more prone to bunions than others, bunions run in families.
Low arches, flat feet, and lax joints and tendons all contribute to an increased risk of injury. When pushed into shoes with narrow toes, the shape of the metatarsal head (the top of the first metatarsal bone) also matters: if it’s too spherical, the joint is less stable and more likely to deform.
High heels can aggravate the condition by tipping the body’s weight forward, pressing the toes into the front of the shoe. This may assist to explain why women have ten times the number of bunions as males.
Bunions are common invocations that require a lot of standing and walking, such as teaching and nursing. Ballet dancers’ feet are also subjected to a great deal of repetitive stress.
Because hormonal changes loosen the ligaments and flatten the feet, women can develop bunions and other foot disorders during pregnancy. Bunions are also linked to arthritis, which causes cartilage destruction within the joint.
***See More: How to Stop Calluses? Cause, Symptoms and Treatment…
Why Bunions Need Attention?
The MTP joint assists us in bearing and distributing weight during a variety of tasks. A bunion at this important juncture of bones, tendons, and ligaments can severely impede the functionality of the foot.
For starters, a bunion on the big toe might cause injury to the other toes. They may develop corns or become bent, resulting in hammertoes as a result of the pressure exerted by the big toe.
Ingrown nails and calluses on the bottom of the foot are possible. If you repeatedly move your weight away from the painful big toe joint and onto other metatarsals, you may develop a ball of foot pain.
You may have to limit your workout and other activities as the malformed joint grows more unpleasant and difficult to fit into shoes. Walking may become difficult as well.
Foot disorders, particularly in elderly women, are a primary cause of disability and sedentary behavior.
Bunions are more common in older women, and the more severe their bunions are, the lower their quality of life is. If the discomfort and deformity interfere with your everyday routines and physical exercise, you should seek therapy.
Conservative methods that reduce pressure on the MTP joint and improve foot mechanics may be able to relieve pain and prevent bunions from growing.
Bunions rarely require surgery unless there is an underlying abnormality that cannot be repaired otherwise or the discomfort becomes incapacitating after conservative care.
The first approach is to reduce pressure by wearing the appropriate footwear (It’s also crucial to keep a healthy weight).
Shoes with a wide, flexible sole and adequate room in the toe box (the area around the front of the foot) to accommodate the bunion should be worn. Sandals, athletic shoes, and soft leather shoes are all wonderful options.
To keep the heel of the foot snugly in place, shoes with a back should include a firm heel counter (the section encircling the heel). Stretchers that make room in the toe box for the bunion may be able to reshape narrow shoes. Maintain a low heel height (no higher than an inch).
Moleskin or gel-filled pad, available in drugstores, can also be used to protect the bunion. (Make sure you have enough room in your shoes to accommodate them.)
Semi-Soft orthoses (shoe inserts) may be recommended by a doctor to help place the foot correctly as it meets the ground. You can also use a splint at night to keep your toe straight and relieve pain.
Warm soaks, ice packs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen may assist when the bunion is inflamed and uncomfortable.
The use of a whirlpool, ultrasound, or massage may also help. Cortisone injections can temporarily ease pain by lowering inflammation, but they come with a slew of negative side effects, especially when used frequently and in large doses.
It takes time to rehabilitate your big toe! Be patient and track your progress as you try to undo years of damage caused by traditional footwear.
Hopefully, the foregoing information has given you a better understanding of Why is My Big Toe Turning Inward, and help you in successfully restoring your big toe to its normal position.
We wish you the best of luck on your quest for excellent foot health!