Lesser toe problems

Last evidence check March 2011

Principal authors: Jim Barrie and Patrick Whatmough

The lesser toes are small structures subject to large forces. It's amazing they don't fail more often.

When they do, the commonest problem is painful deformity. However, sometimes the loss of lesser toe function in late stance phase increses the forces elsewhere, leading to generalised forefoot pain (metatarsalgia). Sometimes we see painful defromity and metatarsalgia together.

We feel the concept of "toe failure" brings together these different problems. How does it happen?