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Foot Health: For the love of your feet …
get help for those painful crossed toes

By Dr. Sarah Voelkel

KyForward columnist


We love our feet. They get us place to place.

But sometimes… We hate our feet. They hurt, they swell and some just aren’t pretty. The feelings we have with our feet can get pretty complicated.


Love is a battlefield, eh?

The truth is, we need to love and take care of our feet. If you have foot pain during everyday tasks or walking, that is not normal. If foot pain is the “normal” for you, you may be suffering from a condition called pre-dislocation syndrome.


This condition involves the toes, most commonly the second toe.  The stabilizing tissues become inflamed and may eventually rupture causing significant deformity of the toe. Sounds pretty gruesome, right?


As this condition progresses, there is pain and swelling associated and difficulty wearing shoes, especially high heels or wedges for women. The toe can eventually begin to drift upwards and to the side eventually crossing over the big toe, especially if there is a bunion present as well… Ouch!


This condition can be caused by injuries, especially in athletic individuals, but it is usually a structural and biomechanical issue. This condition can be diagnosed in the office by clinical exam, X-Ray and possible ultrasound evaluation. 


Pre-dislocation syndrome is treatable without surgery if addressed early on, but surgery may be needed if the condition worsens during conservative treatment.


Initial therapy may include:

  •  Taping
  • Offloading padding
  • Orthotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Possible boot immobilization depending on pain and inflammation
  • Avoiding barefoot walking and high heel shoes for women is important for healing
  • Wearing a more stiff-soled shoe

If the condition continues to be painful and further progression of the deformity to the toe is present, surgical intervention will be necessary. Surgery involves stabilizing and repairing the soft tissues and addressing any other structural abnormalities that may cause the condition to return at a later date.


This relationship gets serious when problems are ignored – sounds a lot like life, right? Do yourself a favor and listen to your feet. You will save time, pain and money and end the battles you have with your feet!



Dr. Sarah Voelkel is a foot and ankle surgeon atLexington Podiatry and the Kentucky Heel Pain Center




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