What are Curly Toes?

A curly toe refers to the condition in which either the third or fourth toe curls underneath the adjacent toe. The third toe may come close to touching the first. It is a congenital condition, meaning that it is present from birth but often only gets noticed when your child learns to walk. In infants, the condition causes no pain or discomfort with most parents primarily concerned about the appearance of the toes and the risk of long-term effects. Curly toes can resolve spontaneously if they are mild. Other times or when the condition is more severe, it can become troublesome with shoe wear and require an intervention.


With Curly toes, the toes curl under because the tendons that flex them are too tight. This causes the toe to be pulled under the adjacent toes towards the underside of the foot. It is thought that the condition may be a hereditary trait as it seems to run in families. Children are more likely to be more with curly toes if one or both parents have it.


  • Overlapping of the toes when standing
  • Toes that point down and curl towards the 2nd toe (typically 3rd or 4th toe is affected)
  • Difficulty wearing some style of shoes
  • Pain or discomfort with activities
  • Persistent issues with blisters on the toes
  • Significant cosmetic deformity
  • Flattening or thickening of the toenails


Understanding the underlying causes and properly diagnosing your condition is the first step to treatment. We then provide a holistic approach to helping patients and their families through their surgical journey. Properly supporting you and/or your child, while educating you on the details helps us ensure the most successful outcomes possible. Our hands on, team approach makes patients feel supported throughout the whole treatment process.

To learn more about your condition and receive a diagnosis, schedule a virtual consultation with one of our experienced orthopedic doctors. During this consultation, all your questions will be answered as our specialists guide you through the evaluation process.

Conservative treatment

  • Shoe wear modification
  • Toe spacers

Surgical treatment


Flexor tenotomies for curly toes

Case studies


Are you experiencing an orthopedic condition and would like to improve your physical capabilities?

Or you simply would like to achieve your long-lasting dream of improving your height?

Let us help you achieve your optimal health and wellness in a professional setting.

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Highly specialized expert care at CLLC

At the Canadian Limb Lengthening Centre we offer complex deformity correction and limb lengthening surgeries performed by experienced surgeons with the most up to date technologies. When it comes to your care, and treatment of deformity and limb length discrepancy, our surgeons have extensive training and experience.