Crossover toe is a common foot problem that can inhibit physical activity for older Americans, but outpatient surgery can correct the deformity and keep senior citizens active and on their feet.

Individuals with hammertoes, bunions or a second toe that extends beyond the big toe are most susceptible to developing crossover toe as they age, according to Dr. James M. Cottom DPM, FACFAS, a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and founder of Florida Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center.

“It’s a common problem among older people in which the second toe gradually moves across the big toe,” he says. “It can be painful and, therefore, difficult to walk comfortably or pursue an active lifestyle.”

Cottom says the first symptom of crossover toe is pain in the ball of the foot. A tear in the joint makes the second toe unstable. It falls out of alignment and eventually drifts.

Doctors normally check the ball of the foot for a possible plantar-plate tear when an older patient complains of pain in the area. Dr. Cottom says pre-existing forefoot problems combined with normal wear and tear or possible trauma can cause the plate to tear over time.

“If the pain persists and the toe starts to drift, surgery may be recommended to suture the plantar plate or replace it through a tendon-transfer,” he says.

Surgery to correct crossover toe is an outpatient procedure performed with a local anesthesia. Patients with bunions or hammertoes are advised to have those deformities corrected during the surgery. Recovery time varies but, most patients are able to walk on their operated foot the next day.

“If you’re an older adult with persistent pain in the ball of your foot, it’s in your best interest to see a doctor,” says Cottom. “If your foot hurts, you aren’t exercising, and your cardiovascular health nosedives.”

Contact Dr. Cottom’s office for more information on foot pain, or visit our contact page.

Call Us Text Us
Skip to content