Has your child been diagnosed with curly toes? The cause of why children develop curly toes is not always known, and it is believed to be hereditary. The good news is that this condition can be treated by wearing the correct pair of shoes and in some cases, depending on the degree of the condition, orthotics as well.
If your child has been diagnosed with curly toes, don’t panic! Did you know that curly toes are one of the most common foot problems in childhood? After going through several studies I found out that only 1 in 10 cases of curly toes causes trouble.
Curly toes are quite common and are usually present at birth, and are also referred as overlapping and underlapping toes. This condition tends to affect the third, fourth, and fifth toes.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms include open sores, inflammation and redness, burning sensation on the affected toe, toe pain or irritation when wearing shoes, and a thickening of the skin between the toes, on the ball of the foot, or elsewhere.
Did you know that wearing shoes that are too narrow or too shallow are one of the most common causes of curly toes?
I have seen several cases of children with curly toes, and the one thing that you must make sure is that you provide your child with shoes that don’t constrict the toes. The correct type of shoes and in certain cases orthotic insoles will help prevent the progression of the deformity.
When children wear shoes that are too narrow, the toes get cramped inside the shoes and start rubbing against one another or the side of the shoes.
The curly toe can be quite visible, but this condition might go unnoticed until the child starts to walk. You will have a better chance of noticing if your child has a curly toe by looking at the toes while your child is weight-bearing rather than off weight-bearing.
It’s important that we work on moving the toes apart and aligning them correctly, which will help prevent problems with the foot later on. If you leave this condition untreated, your child might have to deal with joint deformity, calluses formation, or skin breakdown due to the constant rubbing. Your child will also be more prone to develop calluses, blisters, ingrown toenails and corns.
Before trying a more invasive option, I always recommend fitting the child in the correct pair of shoes, and if needed, shoe inserts with a toe rise to help the toes align correctly. Toe spacers that go between the toes are not as effective in holding the toes apart, but they are another option you might want to try.
It’s really important that you provide your child with the correct pair of shoes in order to help treat the condition and prevent it from getting worse, since shoes that are too narrow and/or too shallow can be a contributing cause for curly toes.
Most doctors don’t recommend any treatment before the child reaches the age of 5, since this condition can improve spontaneously with growth between the first 6 years of life.
I also don’t recommend any intervention as long as your child is not complaining about pain with activity. If you notice that your child starts having stability issues, excessive pronation, or complains about foot pain, then please make sure that your child is wearing the correct pair of shoes.
I am not a doctor, but I have a lot of experience when it comes to fitting children’s shoes. I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. Our store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. From my experience fitting hundreds of kids, I have become familiar with the best shoe brands for children with curly toes and the best styles among those brands.
There is one thing I am always emphasizing to parents of children with foot issues: Addressing your child’s foot conditions from an early stage can prevent future foot, knee, leg, back, and neck problems. I don’t recommend taking the “wait and see approach” since this can only lead to your child’s foot condition getting worse. Be proactive!
When it comes to treating curly toes, I don’t recommend any type of intervention, but I do strongly recommend making sure that your child is wearing the correct pair of shoes.
One of the biggest issues that parents of children with curly toes face is finding shoes that fit properly.
There are 2 key features that you kids’ shoes must provide in order to help treat and prevent this condition from worsening:
✅ Extra Depth: Shoes that provide extra depth will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes, and prevent the top part of the feet from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. Most importantly, shoes that provide extra depth will prevent your child’s toes from rubbing against one another or the top part of the shoes.
Let me show you what I mean by shoes that provide extra depth. Let’s compare a shoe that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t. For better visualization purposes, there is an orthotic fitted inside the shoes. Do you notice how the orthotic is fitting deeply inside the shoe of the first image?
✅ Rounder Toe-Box: Shoes with rounder toe-boxes will also help prevent your kids’ toes from rubbing against one another or the side of the shoes.
Let’s compare a shoe with a round toe-box versus one with a pointier one. Do you notice how the shoe in the first image has a much rounder toe-box?
Parents are often confused as how they are supposed to find shoes that provide extra depth and a rounder toe-box is shoes don’t come labeled that way. The only way to tell if a shoe provides those 2 features is from having fitted the shoe before.
In addition to finding shoes that provide those two key features, we also need for the shoes to be supportive, lightweight, and flexible.
I am going to make things easy for you and provide you with a selection of shoes that provide all of those features, but please keep in mind that if you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
This is why I always recommend parents to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes at their specialized children’s shoe store. The issue is that most stores have been closing down, and parents don’t know where to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes.
Start by taking a look at a map I created where I showcase the best children’s shoe stores by state. Go to the link below:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, then take a look at an article along with a video thatI created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home:
Now that you know what features your child’s shoes need to provide and how to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home, you are ready to take a look at a selection of the best shoes for kids with curly toes.
The Best Shoes for Children with Curly Toes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Please note that I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made and supportive they are, as well as how they fit.
I always recommend providing children with a half a size longer (3/8 of an inch) of their actually foot size in order to allow for growing room in their shoes. However, you might have to provide your child with a longer shoe size depending on how that particular shoe style fits. Let me explain this in more detail…
Shoes can fit short, long, narrow, wide, or true to size, which means that depending on how the shoe fits you need to adjust the amount of growing room that you will provide for your child. For example, if your child measures a foot size 5 and the shoes fit true to size, you will provide your child with a shoe size 5 ½ in order to allow for growing room. However, if the shoes happen to fit short, you will have to provide your child with a shoe size 6, a whole size longer instead of a half a size longer. Makes sense?
These are the deepest shoes with the roundest toe-boxes that I have fitted before, and they are also available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.
Shoes for Children with Curly Toes – Babies Learning How to Walk
The first selection of shoes is for babies who are learning how to walk or in the process of already walking unassisted.
Shoes for Children with Curly Toes – Toddlers and Older Children
This second selection of shoes is for toddlers who are already walking and older children.
One common mistake parents make is to focus solely on the footwear and ignore the importance of wearing the correct type of socks. Just like shoes, the wrong type of socks can constrict toe movement and make your child’s curly toe condition worsen.
I recommend parents to provide their children with socks that are seamless, since seamless socks will reduce the likelihood of your child’s toes from rubbing or overlapping against one another.
I have written several articles on the importance of children’s socks, but you can take a look at a particular one that covers everything you need to know. Go to the link below:
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble finding a particular shoe style for your child’s feet.