The foot is a very important organ of the body that is poorly understood. Problems with the toes are very common and can be due to either pain or deformity. This can subsequently lead to problems of footwear, ulceration, decrease ability to walk and imbalance.
The increase in incidence is attributed to high-fashion foot wear and is predominantly seen in females. The incidence is relatively low in the male population. While ill fitting shoes may contribute to the majority of problems, other associated conditions with toe deformities include inflammatory arthritis, trauma, congenital deformities and neuromuscular disorders.
Inflammatory arthropathies such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis and non specific synovial inflammatory disease may be precursors to deformities of the toes. Isolated or repeated trauma may lead to deformities such as mallet toe, hammer toe or Frieburg infarction. Congenital deformities include crossover little toe, contracted lesser toes and malalignment of metatarsophalengeal joint. Neuromuscular disorders that lead to toe deformities include muscular dystrophies, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, poliomyelitis and even lumbar disc disease.
The toes can be broadly divided into the Hallux (Big toe) and Lesser toes (other smaller toes). Common deformities of the hallux include hallux valgus, hallux varus and halux rigidus.