Overlapping toes are typically the result of a muscle imbalance or bone abnormality within the foot. Bunions are one of the most common causes, particularly between the big toe and the second toe. The second toe usually has nowhere to go but up over the big toe, causing the second toe to rub inside your shoe, sometimes causing ulcerations.
This is more common among people with diabetes due to nerve damage causing muscle imbalance. Arthritic diseases that cause joint alterations can also lead to overlapping toes.
If you have overlapping toes, ask your physician for x-rays and lab tests to determine the cause. Podiatrists can splint the toe, but this is rarely a good long-term solution. The only way to correct the deformity is surgery. Speak with a surgeon to determine the best approach for your situation.
How Footwear Can Help
If surgery isn’t for you, the best way to deal with overlapping toes is an extra-depth shoe with a larger toe box or a toe box made of stretchable material. Your podiatrist may also stretch or “balloon” that area of your shoe.
If you have overlapping toes, ask your physician for x-rays and lab tests to determine the cause.