These Toes Ain't Loyal
June 8, 2016 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I have an issue that leads to foot pain, but I can't seem to identify the problem. Hope my toes?

It seems the fourth toe on both my feet is getting stepped-on/squished by the third toe. All the toes in question are straight, not hammer or mallet toes. It's just the meaty flesh on the underside of the fourth toe that's rolling under the third toe. This forms a crescent-shaped callus on the fourth toe that can become very painful & blistered with extensive walking, which makes urban vacations excruciating. It's not a crowding issue, since it happens even when I'm wearing sneakers.

Is there a name for this condition? I have a trip to NYC planned, what can I do to mitigate the issue? I've tried wrapping the toe with a bandaid, which didn't help. Is there some specialized device for this that I can wear in my shoes?
posted by Kitty Stardust to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Two things I can think of: first, work on the callus, either with a scrubber or with careful use of the razor implement. I just started using the razor on the callus I get below my pinky toes, and it makes a pretty big difference in walking comfort.

Second, toe PT, so that your toe muscles are naturally more robust in positioning your toes: Grab a dozen marbles, put them on the floor, then pick them up one by one with your toes and put them on a plate. Also, use a towel to do toe curls.
posted by Dashy at 12:10 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Can you wrap that toe with tape to keep it contained? The image I'm having is of trussing a roast (haha, sorry!) to keep the toe shape cylindrical instead of flattened out. Medical paper tape is nice- not too sticky, not too sweaty-making, and a little slippery so it will move easily inside your shoe.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

The term for your condition is 'pinched toes' and the callus is a 'soft corn'. Use toe caps, toe spacer cushions and toe separators to keep your toes apart.
posted by srboisvert at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I also wrap my affected toes in tape to stop them from doing this on long hikes. Vaseline between the toes also seems to help, plus properly fitting boots.
posted by kadia_a at 1:21 PM on June 8, 2016

My toes do the same thing and often after hiking I would have blood in my socks from rubbed off blisters. Gross and OUCH. I hike a lot and wearing Injinji toe socks has drastically reduced the problem.
posted by cecic at 2:24 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

seconding Injinji toe socks.
posted by gregr at 2:31 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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