Curly Toes

What is it?

“Curly toes” describes a condition in which the toes have a bent or curled appearance. The condition may be hereditary.

Who gets it?

Curly toes are most often experienced in young children below the age of 3 and most cases resolve spontaneously. Sometimes the condition persists and can become troublesome.

How does it present?

The condition is usually observed while the child is standing or walking. The third and fourth toes will curl inwards and, in some cases, the resulting abnormal contact with the ground and pressure from shoes may produce skin and nail changes or general discomfort.

How is it diagnosed?

By placing the child in both a weight bearing and non weight bearing position, the doctor or physiotherapist will determine the relative flexibility of the toes.

How is it treated?

Given that most curly toes do not cause problems, treatment is usually not required except for cosmetic reasons. However, in cases of tightness and discomfort, surgery may be an option for children aged four and older.

When should I see my doctor?

In some cases, there may be a requirement to see your doctor, particularly if your child develops:

  • Nail changes such as discolouration, flattening or thickening of the nail
  • Discomfort or pain associated with activity; or
  • Persistent issues with blisters on the toes
  • Significant cosmetic deformity
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