Toes can be twisted as a result of the constant pressure and overload caused by wearing tight shoes and high heels. Changes in the shape of the fingers and their inflammation occur due to deformation of the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints. This type of deformity, often called bursitis, is more susceptible to the big toe. Toes can also become crooked due to failed healing after fractures and dislocations. Many other factors also affect the straightness of the toes. In the early stages, you can try to cope with the curvature yourself, using various exercises and non-surgical methods of treatment. However, if the problem is long-standing, you may also need surgery.
Method 1 of 4: Diagnosing the disease
Step 1. Make an appointment with your doctor
If you find that one or more of your toes is crooked, especially if it is accompanied by pain and inflammation, see a doctor. Your family doctor will be able to determine if this is due to something serious (such as a fracture or infection), but remember that he does not specialize in joints and feet, so you may need to contact and to more narrow specialists.
- Your doctor may refer you for an x-ray - an x-ray of your foot can help him determine the cause of the curvature of the toes.
- Your doctor may take a blood test to check your blood glucose levels, since foot problems are common in people with diabetes.
Step 2. Make an appointment with a podiatrist
This is a specialist who deals with joints and is able to correct problems with them by applying braces, splints, performing surgical and other invasive operations. It is likely that you will not need surgery, however, an orthopedist will be able to correctly identify possible joint problems, determine if they are caused by arthritis, and, if necessary, prescribe anti-inflammatory or pain relievers.
The podiatrist may also refer you for x-rays, isotope scans of bones, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or ultrasound (ultrasound) to get more information needed to make an accurate diagnosis
Step 3. Visit a podiatrist who specializes in treating foot problems
These doctors can perform simple surgical operations on the foot, but they mainly specialize in the selection of special orthopedic shoes and other devices (for example, orthopedic inserts in standard shoes, braces, and so on).
- This specialist will be able to choose the most suitable footwear for you.
- Visiting a physical therapist, chiropractor, and naturopath can also be helpful, as these doctors can offer you natural, non-invasive treatments.
Method 2 of 4: Treating bursitis
Step 1. Take care of pain relief
Bursitis is a chronic sprain and inflammation of the joint of the big toe, caused by the toe constantly pressing against the rest of the toe due to uncomfortable or too tight shoes (for example, high heels with narrow toes). Flat feet are also one of the causes of bursitis, which often, due to the accompanying inflammation, redness, swelling and aching pain, resembles rheumatism and osteoarthritis. As the disease progresses, the thumb becomes more and more bent and the pain intensifies, which can result in lameness and other joint problems in the ankle and knee.
- The swelling and pain caused by bursitis can be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) and pain relievers (such as acetaminophen).
- For severe pain, your family doctor or podiatrist may prescribe stronger medications, such as selective COX-2 inhibitors or morphine-based drugs.
- Injections of steroids directly into the joint can also help relieve pain and inflammation.
Step 2. Change your shoes
In the vast majority of cases, bursitis occurs in women who wear too tight shoes. Change shoes for a wider toe and with better support for the foot (insole), and this will surely stop the further development of bursitis and relieve pain; however, this is unlikely to be sufficient to straighten the thumb. If, after replacing your shoes with more comfortable bursitis, it still hurts and limits your mobility, consider surgery.
- Shoes should be such that you can wiggle your toes in them.
- It is necessary that at least 1.25 cm of free space remains between the front edge of the toe of the shoe and the thumb.
- Athletic shoes and loose sandals are good choices.
Step 3. Apply the splint
Tie a piece of plastic, wood, or metal to the crooked toe to help reduce pain and even straighten the joint if the bursitis is not very long-standing. In some cases, joint pain can also be relieved with inserts made of silicone or felt pads. An orthopedist, physiotherapist or chiropractor can help you with shoe inserts and splints.
- Orthopedic insoles (instep supports) and inserts will help to straighten the foot, give it balance and correctly distribute the load on the toes and muscles of the foot.
- Massages, gentle stretches, and cold baths can also help ease pain and develop a crooked joint.
Step 4. Consider surgical treatment for bursitis
For bursitis, surgery often involves scraping the bone and / or fracturing it gently to straighten the joint. When healing in the postoperative period, pins and wires are often used to hold the bones in the correct position. In case of serious damage to the joint, it can be fixed with an implant, or the joint can be completely removed and replaced with an artificial one. The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and improve joint mobility, not create a more "beautiful" foot or renew the ability to wear high heels. If you start wearing tight, tight shoes again after surgery, the bursitis is likely to come back.
- Surgery to correct bursitis is performed on an outpatient basis. After the surgery, you will be given a large fixation bandage on your foot.
- Postoperative bone healing usually takes about 6 weeks, during which special safety shoes should be worn. Try not to walk a lot during this period.
Method 3 of 4: Treating dislocations
Step 1. Straighten your finger
Sprained toes are common with foot injuries that can occur in a wide variety of circumstances, from an accidental fall to a bad hit on a soccer ball. A sprained toe usually hurts and looks crooked, but a dislocation does not necessarily result in a bone fracture. Most often, manual actions and non-invasive adjustments carried out by therapists, orthopedists or chiropractors are sufficient to restore a dislocated toe. Often, the pain goes away immediately after the joint is repositioned.
- As a rule, dislocations do not go away on their own, without medical attention.
- The longer the joint is left out of alignment, the more likely it is to seriously damage the ligaments or tendons, so seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Step 2. Fix the finger for the healing time
After the dislocated toe has been set, secure it with a splint or stiff bandage, as the ligaments and tendons that support the joint could be weakened and stretched, leaving the straightened toe unstable for several days until its tissues harden.
Apply a splint from an ice cream stick by attaching it to your finger with adhesive tape
Step 3. Strengthen your finger with exercise
Soon after the dislocation has been repaired, it will be necessary to develop the finger through special exercises. Exercises such as crushing a towel and lifting it off the floor with your toes work well for strengthening the tendons and muscles of the foot and toes (small balls can also be lifted).
- Always check with your doctor before starting exercise, especially if you have arthritis or diabetes.
- If you experience pain with exercise and it does not improve, seek advice from a physical therapist or podiatrist.
Method 4 of 4: Eliminate other defects
Step 1. Get rid of the hammer toe
This disease consists in deformation of the second, third or fourth finger in the near joint, as a result of which the finger acquires a shape resembling a hammer. As a rule, hammer curvature is easily corrected in the initial stages, but in advanced cases, the finger is firmly fixed in the curved position. Wearing shoes that are too tight or too narrow, as well as shoes with high heels, leads to this curvature, as a result of which the toes are exposed to excessive pressure.
- Hammer curvature can be treated with surgery, which involves cutting and stretching the compressed tendon and then securing the joint with a metal pin or wire, or daily vigorous stretching. Splints and orthopedic pads are also helpful.
- Massage around your toe, then stretch it over the hammer curve for a few seconds; repeat this several times. Do these exercises several times a day for several weeks, or until you see a noticeable improvement.
Step 2. Correct the clubfoot
With this injury, your toe bends towards the sole due to compression and bending of both the proximal (inner) and distal (outer) joints. At the same time, painful calluses and skin lumps develop at the end of the finger. It can be caused by wearing too tight shoes, injuries (such as strained tendons), and certain medical conditions such as diabetes.
- A clubfoot can also be corrected with the surgical techniques used to treat hammer curvature (incision and stretching of compressed tendons).
- Try walking on your toes to stretch tight tendons and joints.
Step 3. Get rid of the club-like curvature of the toe
It is similar to a clubfoot, but the toe is bent only at the outer joint (at the end of the toe). As a rule, such a curvature of the toe develops due to wearing too tight shoes or high-heeled shoes. These shoes put unnecessary pressure on your toes.
- Such curvature of the toes can also be corrected with surgical methods similar to those used to treat hammer curvature and clubfoot, that is, by cutting and stretching the compressed tendons.
- Do your best to effectively stretch your foot and toes. Use spacers between your fingers to make them as natural as possible.
- Curvature of the toes is usually accompanied by the following symptoms: pain in the toes (often accompanied by numbness and burning), swelling and redness, calluses, tendon numbness, curved toes, and lameness.
- To prevent joint inflammation, place soft tissue between your toes to prevent them from rubbing against each other.
- If the bursitis causes callus to form, soak your foot in a warm Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes to soften it, then gently scrape off the callus with a pumice stone. It will take 3-5 such procedures over several weeks in order to completely remove the hardened calluses.