Lesser toe problems

Last evidence check March 2011

Principal authors: Jim Barrie and Patrick Whatmough


Typical lesser toe symptoms. Pressure symptoms indicate not enough room in toe box of shoe


Lateral toe crowding symptoms indicate shoe too narrow

It's important to establish exactly what the patient is complaining of. The commonest complaints are pressure over deformed toes, MTP pain and metatarsalgia.

Find out what remedies have been tried. How much has the patient tried to adapt what shoes they wear. Some people only get problems when they wear safety boots, and have been told by work to get their toes fixed - in fact, accommodative safety boots can be provided by the orthotist.

Some people have little or no trouble now, but are concerned they may get trouble in the future and should get their toes straightened now "in case it's too late" (answer: almost always "no"). Others have no trouble but don't like the look of their toes (don't!).

Is there an underlying condition? Always ask about:

Ask about factors which may suggest a high risk of serious problems and may indicate more aggressive management: