The Little Toe Triangle

February 6, 2010 by
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

The little toe triangle? Huh? The what?

A recent post on blisters resulted in an email from a reader asking what this was. So I decided to answer his question by posting the explanation out of Fixing Your Feet (4th edition).

We each have two. Little toes that is. The number of problems with these little appendages has impressed me. “What problems?” you ask. It’s all about that little triangle of skin where most problems occur.

If you look at your little toes, your toes may be well rounded and soft. Or they may have the often-typical triangle look where the skin on the bottom of the triangle is hard and callused. The skin on the bottom of the toe forms the point of the triangle. The problem is that on many of our little toes, this bottom point is hard and callused skin. The hard skin is prone to blisters forming underneath as pressure from the toebox creates friction. Often this hardened skin is partially under the skin of the next toe, another pressure area. The outside of the foot, the little toe area, is often more wet and damp than the inside of the shoes, leading to macerated skin. Once softened, this skin can easily blister underneath, or worse yet, the skin can separate, leading to major skin problems.

One of the last runners whose feet I patched at Primal Quest had struggled for the whole event with macerated skin on his feet. When he came into a transition area, the skin had stripped off the bottom point of this triangle-of both feet. I’m sure it was painful and very uncomfortable. Once patched, he continued on as best he could.

The little toe is so small that it is hard to patch well. The use of Micropore or Kinesio tape is a good choice. Even better, in my opinion, is reducing the hard callused skin. Injinji toe socks can also be helpful. Good shoes are vital too. Shoes with a good toebox that allows the toes room to wiggle are best. Once the skin has blistered, 2nd Skin is good to use as a patch. Cut it to fit the blister. Too much and it becomes bulky and rubs on the neighboring toe.

During a race or hike, be watchful of your little toes. This small but potentially troublesome triangle of skin deserves special care. While this common problem happens most often to our pinky toes, it can affect other toes too.

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Comments

10 Comments on The Little Toe Triangle

  1. Jessa on Wed, 16th Feb 2011 2:20 pm
  2. but how do I make the little toe triangle go AWAY? I get mine from dress shoes, not hiking!

  3. John Vonhof on Wed, 16th Feb 2011 9:34 pm
  4. It starts with callus and can get thicker and harder over time. Use a pumice stone or callus file to reduce the hard skin, and a callus cream to moisturize and soften the skin. Of course, continuing to put the toe in tight shoes where pressure continues to build, will make it harder to get rid of them.

  5. Maari on Sun, 6th Dec 2015 7:59 pm
  6. I’ve had this weird triangle toe thing ever since I was born. Is this something u can inherit from ur parents? I know that sounds weird but my mom has the same thing, her mom has the same thing and even her mom (my great grandmother) has the same weird triangle shaped toe. I’ve always asked my mom why we all have that weird pointy bit under the little toe and she said it’s probably inherited cause we have the same triangularish toes

  7. John on Sat, 12th Dec 2015 10:32 am
  8. Yes, you can inherit certain body characteristics from your parents. That’s why bunions, hammertoes, height, body type and more follow us down the family tree. Work at it if there is a callus at the bottom of the toe. Reduce the callus and try to keep the skin soft.

  9. Nancy on Fri, 26th May 2017 3:32 am
  10. Can you use a pumice stone to soften the ‘pointed’ part on the bottom of your toes, and is there any certain lotion that can help keep this area soft?
    My shoes don’t feel tight, but I still have this pointed area on bottom of some toes.
    Thanks.

  11. Denisha on Fri, 26th May 2017 9:47 pm
  12. My husbands little tows are flat on the inside. Is that normal? If not what do we need to do

  13. John on Mon, 5th Jun 2017 9:05 pm
  14. It’s normal when the foot inside a shoe with pressure on the toes. If they are squeezed together, they will flatten because of the lack of space. Try wider shoes in the toe box.

  15. John on Mon, 5th Jun 2017 9:08 pm
  16. The pointy part is because of the press of the shoes against the toes in the too tight toe box. Yes, use the pumice stone after showering or bathing. they any lotion made for feet will help the skin soften and stay soft. Often it’s an ongoing battle until you get shoes that are wider in the toe box.

  17. Franklin on Sun, 16th Jul 2017 2:57 pm
  18. Mine are triangle shaped and the bones on both have angled in toward the next toe,yet bottoms are soft

  19. Drudy on Mon, 17th Jul 2017 4:13 am
  20. If you keep cutting them with a sharp object for example a nail clipper or a razor, them come back bigger thicker and harder, I made this mistake during the years and now mine are permanet very hard and very pointed, but they dont bother me I keep them and I dont touch them at all.

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