Medical Issue

Crossover Toe (Capsulitis)

Crossover Toe

A crossover toe occurs when a toe or multiple toes are positioned over another toe.  In most cases, it’s the second toe that crosses over the big toe. 



Although there may be pain when the issue first appears, it can reduce over time as shoes expand or other looser fitting shoes are worn. Wearing shoes often becomes uncomfortable because the toe box is too small to accommodate the overlapping toe.

Risk Factors

Crossover toe may result from abnormal foot mechanics or an injury, where the ball of the foot beneath the toe joint takes an excessive amount of weight-bearing pressure.  This may be more likely in some sports such as tennis. If the second toe is longer than the big toe, crossover toe a more likely issue.  Steroid injections can increase the risk of crossover toe.


Crossover toe is caused when the ligaments supporting a toe are damaged, causing a muscle imbalance.  This can lead to a slow dislocation and eventually a crossing over of the toe.


If treated when the condition first appears, taping the overlaying toe into the correct position may be enough to reduce symptoms although it is unlikely to resolve the issue. Another option is to use a prefabricated device to hold the toe in the ideal position.  Stiff shoes and an orthotic may be useful.  In more severe cases anti-inflammatories combined with physical therapy may resolve inflammation and a possible partial tearing of the ligament.  In most severe cases, a surgical option may be recommended.

The Concierge Podiatry Advantage

Crossover toe treatment is better if started early. We can show each patient how to tape their toes, explain which anti-inflammatory medications work effectively and provide instruction on selecting proper shoes. With our Perfect Posture Orthotics, we can correct the mechanics of the foot to decrease stress on the joint. We offer an outpatient surgery option to correct crossover toe which allows patients to resume walking immediately.

At Concierge Podiatry we specialize in treating all podiatric issues. We take the time needed to diagnose and explain any treatment options before beginning any course of treatment.

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