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Treatment of dislocated and mal-aligned toes

Conservative care options for toe dislocations and poorly aligned toes

It never ceases to amaze me how many people come into my office with different shapes and sizes of toes. Why do our toes change over time? What are the forces that contribute to these changes? Let’s take a closer look at how we can use conservative care to treat these toe deformities.

Most of us start our lives with beautifully aligned toes that fit like a glove into our shoes. But in time, things change. You need to think about your toes as a dynamic part of walking. Toes act as an anchor for several of the tendons that act to stabilize the foot during gait. As such, the toes act as an anchor for several tendons in the foot. The primary function of these tendons is to stabilize the foot as the body passes over the foot with each cycle of gait.

As a dynamic anchor for these tendons, toes will respond and move in response to the pull of these tendons. If any imbalance exists at the junction of the toe and the foot, toes will begin to bend and curve.

Toe dislocation-Copy

All foot and ankle surgeon know that you can have a perfect correction of a hammer toe that is straight as an arrow on the OR table. But over weeks to months, those same dynamic changes that affected the toes before surgery are back at work. And in many instances, the curvature of the toe will recur in time.

Trauma can also be a contributing factor in toe alignment. Toe fractures and toe dislocations can result in a number of different toe deformities. The attached image shows a complete rupture of the medial collateral ligament of the proximal phalangeal joint, 5th toe left foot.

How do we treat toe deformities like hammer toes, toe fractures or toe dislocations? Let’s take a quick peek at some of the tools podiatrists use for correction of toe deformities.

Products for broken toes and mal-aligned toes

The toe product section of show a number of different solutions for hammer toes, toe fractures and toe dislocations.  For instance, a common and frustrating problem is when the second toe deviates from it’s home position and overlaps the great toe.

The Visco-Gel Toe Buddy Bunion Guard uses the great toe joint as

an anchor and aligns the second to back to it’s home.

Is the third toe as troublesome as the second?

In that case you’d want to try a Toe Straightener-Double Toe.

Fractured toes?  My go to is Coflex 1” Bandage.  Coflex is a self-adherent material that can be used to buddy splint or gently wrap the toe to compress and stabilize the fracture.

I think you’ll be surprised to see how many configurations of toe pads that are offered by  Used by podiatrists world-wide, offers these unique mdeical grade pads and cushions directly to you.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor