Pinky Toe Pain Treatment | Seattle Podiatrist

Author: Foot & Ankle Center of Washington

Hi. Today I want to talk about a problem that can cause a lot of pain but doesn't seem that big right off the top, and that is Little Toe Pain or often called Pinky Toe Pain. So here is your little toe. We call it the 5th toe, but a lot of people call it the pinky toe, and the problem with this toe is, over time it often starts to curl in. Real quick, the reason for that is a lot of us roll in or pronate more than we should, and that makes the foot unstable, and then what we want to do is we want to grab at the ground try to stabilize the foot. Well, the muscles that do that grabbing actually come from the inside of the foot and so they crossover the foot like this, and on the 4th and 5th toes, they pull at an angle. So over years where these toes, the 2nd and 3rd toes, may pull straight down, the 4th and 5th toes pull at an angle, and so you can get several areas of pain on that 5th toe.

So number one is, as it curls, it can push against the outside of the shoe that can rub on here. Now it can cause a number of problems. It can cause increased pressure on the bone, over time can cause enlargement of the bone. So you can get a bone spur under there that presses on the shoe that can cause just pain and irritation and redness. And over time the skin can thicken, and you can get a corn in that area, and that can actually be really painful. It's like having a rock in your shoe all the time. Often one of the more painful things is that as this toe hits on to the 4th toe, the toe next to it, it causes what's called a Soft Corn in between.

It's called a Soft Corn, because it's kind of moist in there, and the corn never gets as hard as it does on the outside. But they're often really quite painful. I mean, it can cause really shooting, stabbing, burning type of sensation in this area and unless you kind of pull your toes apart, really look down at the base, you may not even see anything in there. A lot of people that do see something that looks just like wet skin, some people think its Athlete's Foot but in fact, if you look closer, there's a corn in that area. So if you actually have a corn present deep in there, I would suggest seeing a podiatrist and having that scraped down. Get rid of the corn initially. Then there are some good things you can do to prevent it from coming back again.

One of the easiest things is just to keep these toes straight. By the way, sometimes surgery is done. Our philosophy is surgery really should be the last resort. Sometimes it's necessary, but most of the time we can treat this conservatively. So there's some interesting pads on the market that you can use to help keep those toes straight. Now there's different types out there, and it's hard to predict from one patient to another which is going to be the best.

Pinky Toe Pain Treatment | Seattle Podiatrist

One of my favorite is this one. It's called a Little Toe Buddy, and you slip this on the little toe and...let's see if we can get it on the skeleton here...and then we slip it on the toe next to it, and when you wear that thing, it keeps those two toes straight so they don't hit on to each other. Really works quite well.

This is a fairly new little device, and I've been recommending that a lot. What I like about is compared to the pads or what are called Toe Separators you put in-between the toes, this tends to stay in place and does a great job of keeping these toes separated and keeping them a little bit straighter. Another pad I like is this one here, and what it does is goes around the little toe and then it has a pad that goes over the outside of the foot. If you have what's called a Tailor's Bunion, an enlargement of the 5th metatarsal head, that will cushion that area and will keep that toe separated. So these are just two of them. If you go to our website and do a search for Little Toe Pain or Pinky Toe Pain, you'll find a whole list of different little pads you can try. These are all really quite inexpensive, $5 to $7 usually.

I'd try several of them and see what which one works best for you. Make sure also to get your shoes stretched over this area. Make sure they're wide enough, because if the shoe is pressing in on that area, that will certainly make that problem worse. So again, don't have surgery until you at least try some of these more conservative treatments.

Again you can find a whole list of them on the website. Just search for Little Toe Pain or Pinky Toe Pain. You can find all kinds of suggestions there. That's it for this video. If you like these videos, please subscribe.

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