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Podiatry/big toe joint


The big toe on my right foot has seemingly been out of joint for years after wearing ill fitting shoes in my youth.  Now it is overlapping the next toe and the joint is sticking out to the side and making walking uncomfortable.  I have purchased a device to keep the toes from overlapping.  Is this a good idea or not?

Hello, Mary,

Thank you for your question.  It sounds to me like you are describing a bunion.  This can be caused by tight-fitting shoes, as you have described, but may also have a hereditary component.  Did either of your parents have this problem?  It typically has to do with an imbalance of muscles or the structure of the bones themselves, and as you have said, the joint can go out of place.

I see no harm in wearing a device that keeps your toes from overlapping, especially if it makes your feet feel better when you walk or stand.  If it has straps, make sure the straps aren't too tight, and check your feet to make sure it doesn't cause blisters.  

Just know that in a case like yours (and in most cases), the device will not fix your problem.  For long-term relief, I strongly recommend that you see a podiatrist to discuss your options.  He or she will probably take X-rays to see what the bones look like, do a complete exam of your feet, and then sit with you to explain what can be done to fix it.

I hope this helps!

Wishing you health, happiness, and peace,
Dr. Bodart


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Dr. Amy Bodart


Questions relating to podiatry: medicine and surgery of the foot, ankle, and distal leg


Associate at Advanced Podiatry, 2919 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33609


Graduated from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, OH 3-year forefoot and rearfoot residency training from Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami, FL

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