Pinky Toe Turned Sideways: Causes and Some Possible Treatments Explained

Is your 5th toe slightly curved? Don’t worry. Sideways turned pinky toes are more common than you think. Genetic and certain environmental factors cause a slight imbalance in the soft tissues. This, in turn, affects the alignment of the bones.

I know this sounds terrifying, but it’s pretty common among people. Experienced surgeons can fix the toe as if it’s a piece of cake. A simple procedure called “De-rotational Arthroplasty” literally corrects sideway turned pinky toe in less than 5 minutes.

But why does pinky toe get turned sideways, and how can it be treated for good? You will learn all these in this article. Keep reading to find the answers.

Why Is My Pinky Toe Turned Sideways?

As already mentioned, the main reasons pinky toes turned sideways are environmental factors and genetic issues. But what’s happening here? 

The problem we are referring to here is called “Tailor’s Bunions.” It occurs in the ligaments that hold all the foot bones together. 

pinky-toe-turned-sideways

The fifth metatarsal bone (or the bone of the outer side connected to the little toe) slowly moves outwards when the ligaments connecting the bones get more flexible with time. And when this happens, the little toe moves inward or toward the fourth toe. 

Now the question is what triggers the main culprit, the ligament, to get flexible. Here are a few possible reasons.

Genetic Issues

If your family has a history with pinky toe displacements, then, chances are, you will end up with one too. 

It is possible that you were born with flexible ligaments to begin with. The case can be something else as well. You probably developed a loose ligament while you grew older. Either way, you will notice your toe turning sideways. 

Another way you can genetically gain sideways turned pinky is by inheriting lousy bone structure. You will eventually have Tailor’s Bunions if your pinky toes bone is in an abnormal position. 

An enlarged toe-bone head can also make the ligaments flexible with time. Apart from this, tight calf muscles, lower fifth metatarsal bone, and outward leaning foot eventually lead to sideways turning pinky. All these physical misalignments come genetically. 

In other words, DNA brings the gene of the loose ligament from the previous generation to the next one. And this keeps going from parents to children. But you can stop it from spreading by fixing your curved pinky.  

Sitting Position Can Curve Your Pinkie Sideways

You are probably wondering, as it is genetics, how the problem showed up in the first victim! Well, the answer here lies in the sitting position. 

Bones are undoubtedly solid and sturdy. But they, too, get deformed if they are put under constant pressure. Noticeable differences in bone structure occur if this applied pressure is targeted toward a specific direction. 

In this case, the ligaments connecting the bones of the foot get flexible due to the sitting position. 

In case you are wondering, sitting while putting pressure on the foot’s outer side is problematic (e.g., sitting cross-legged). Sitting like this for an extended amount of time causes the ligaments connected to the bones to stretch out. 

In other words, if you sit like this for hours straight for many days, your ligaments will loosen up. This will eventually give you a sideway turned toe even if no one in your family has the problem.

This problem is called “Tailor’s Bunions” because it is believed that many years ago, tailors used to sit in such cross-legged positions that they had to put pressure on their tiny toes. 

correct-sitting-position

Sitting like this means you pressed your feet against the ground. This eventually gave them a minor bump or ‘bunion’ on the outer side of the toe. 

However, as you have probably realized, not just tailors but anyone who sits like this for a long time is likely to get their toe turned sideways.

Wearing The Wrong Shoes

Your feet have a closer connection with shoes than you realize. I am not kidding. Your feets’ health almost entirely depends on the footwear you are using. 

Narrow and high heels are a punishment for your feet because these shoes don’t have enough room for the little toes. As a result, the small toe gets pushed into the other one. 

Technically, this is the same as sitting cross-legged on one foot. The only difference is that it’s much worse when the shoe causes the problem. 

wearing-wrong-shoes

Not only is this uncomfortable, but many other issues can arise from wearing such tight footwear. For example, your bones can get cracked, or you can have a mild fracture.

Stiletto heels or shoes that have long, thin heels are even more dangerous. Walking with them requires habit. You may bend your ankle and hurt your ligament if you are not used to them. If this happens, you will probably have a bigger problem than just a sideways turned pinky toe.

In all cases, you may notice your toe is turning sideways by the time you reach your 40s. This is likely to happen if you have a family history of Tailor’s Bunion. In other cases, if you have been wearing narrow shoes or high heels, you will have the problem earlier. 

The problem can literally occur overnight in case of accidents, such as fractures. But don’t worry, because it takes 3 minutes to fix the bent toe.

How To Treat Pinky Toe Turned Sideways: Are Home Remedies Good Options to Have?

As complicated and horrible tailor’s bunion sounds, it’s a relatively simple problem. You can treat it at home with zero hassle. But unfortunately, you can’t get rid of the bump with home remedies. 

However, some methods are quite efficient in relieving the pain of curved toes. You can hope to be pain-free if you can adequately maintain the following techniques.

Use Bunion Pad

Bunion pads are very effective in relieving pain caused by a curved toe or two. They look like anklets with soft cushioning pads stuffed in them. The sizes of bunion pads differ depending on where you are putting them.

But how do they relieve pain? A bunion pad creates a barrier between your feet’s bump and the shoe. As a result, your bunion or the spot doesn’t directly rub against the shoe’s surface.

However, you should be aware that this thing doesn’t realign your toe bone or get you rid of bunions. You can wear them only for pain relief. The best thing about this over-the-counter product is its affordable price. You can use one till you get your pinky fixed. 

Wear The Right Pair of Shoes

Your feet’s health largely depends on the shoe you wear. As you know by now, tight, narrow shoes and shoes with high heels are harmful to your feet. They can give you more trouble than just curved pinky. 

If you have to wear shoes for an extended period of your day, choose a flexible and loose shoe with a sufficient toe box. This will give your toe enough space to breathe and spread. Your toe should be healthy as long as nothing is suffocating or pressuring it. 

This shoe will reduce the contact between the painful bump and your shoe. Therefore, you will have much painless experience walking or standing. 

Applying Cold Compression Helps

Ice is a great healer. A cold compression constricts blood vessels. This, in turn, reduces the blood circulation in that particular area. As a result, you eventually don’t feel much pain. You can completely numb the aching area by putting extremely chilling ice there.

This same thing happens when you put ice on the bunion or the painful bump on your feet. Hold the ice bag to your foot for about 5 to 10 minutes daily. 

Repeat the process 3 times a day, and you should be okay for the next 24 hours. If you want, you can adopt this method to avoid pain until getting the actual treatment.

Taking Anti-Inflammatory Drugs at Home Accelerates the Process

Sometimes the pain can get excruciating. In those days, ice packs and bunion pads were useless. When nothing works, you can take the help of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin can be great medicines to give you instant relief. Unfortunately, these drugs don’t come without side effects. You can have gas or many other problems. This is why I suggest consulting a doctor before taking such tablets.

However, painkillers are only temporary solutions. If you think you can avoid the pain in your feet just with these pills, then you are wrong. You should immediately consult a doctor if nothing but painkillers can give you relief. 

Calf Exercises Provide Us Some Form of Relief

Moving around with a bump on your feet can give you pain. But with a simple exercise, you can effortlessly ease that agony. The exercise I am talking about is calf stretch.

If you don’t know what calf stretch is, it’s an exercise of the leg. All you need for this exercise is a wall or a chair.  

Firstly, stand facing a chair or a wall with your toes pointing toward the chair or the wall. Now, while holding the chair/wall, keep one leg backward with the knee straight and the heel flat on the floor. Once you get into this position, slowly bend your elbows and the front knee. 

Move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf (back muscle of the lower leg / the muscle behind the shin bone). Hold this stance for around 30 seconds to a minute. 

Repeat this exercise 3 times a day, and you should get relief from the pain of the curved toe.

However, none of the methods mentioned here can give you permanent results. But these temporary solutions are a great life saver when you are in unbearable pain from bunions.

Medical Treatments for a Sideways-Turned Pinky 

As you probably guessed by now, home remedies can’t fix your curved pinky for good. 

Fortunately, some medical procedures ensure 100% recovery almost all the time. A doctor will see your condition and prescribe a specific method of treatment. 

Here, I will be discussing the few most common and effective medical treatments for tailor’s bunions. Knowing about these processes can help you get ready for what’s coming.

Corticosteroid Injection

Doctors usually apply corticosteroid injections in case of more pressing issues. This injection is given around your little toe joint. It basically deals with the swelling. However, the injection can’t cure bigger bumps. 

Nevertheless, your bunion may hurt a couple of days after the injection. In that case, the doctor may recommend wearing custom-made shoes with cushions inserted. 

Don’t worry. These shoes are not going to be around for long. You will have to wear this shoe only for a specific duration. If you had a minor bunion, you would probably return to your everyday life within a week or two. 

Osteotomy/De-Rotational Arthroplasty

I know these are a bunch of fancy words, but you will know what they mean in a second. 

Osteotomy is a surgical procedure where the tissue that sticks out from your feet is cut off. Parts of the toe’s bone are also slightly modified to straighten it up. 

osteotomy

When Osteotomy is applied to realign your pinky toe, the appropriate term for this process is de-rotational arthroplasty. The purpose here is to alter the position of the toe. 

Here’s how it’s done:

  • The surgeon will first apply anesthesia to make the process completely painless.
  • After that, the surgeon will identify and mark the proximal interphalangeal joint (the nearest joint to the tip of the toe).
  • The surgeon will now remove a small portion of skin and cut the flesh if necessary. The goal here is to reveal the bone.
  • Once the bone is visible, the surgeon will locate the capsule and tendon to cut them.
  • Then the joints and the head of the proximal phalanx (closest bone to the foot) will be freed up with a blade.
  • The proximal phalanx bone’s head will be curved to give it a smooth surface.
  • The proximal phalanx will then be dissected. A large portion of the bone will be eliminated so there aren’t any noticeable deformities.
  • At this point, the capsule and the tendonous structures will be joined together.
  • After that, the skin will be sewn back on.

You probably noticed that a large bone was removed in this process. That was the bone that caused the bunion or the bump. As that’s out of the way, you shouldn’t have a pinky toe turned sideways.

By the look of it, this process seems like a big deal. But in reality, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. Moreover, you can walk normally from the same day you get the surgery. Although, you have to be cautious not to get the area wet because there is the risk of infection. 

But despite everything, De-Rotational Arthroplasty is the best cure for curved pinky toes. Not only is it fast, but it also promises 100% recovery. In addition, the surgery costs only about $600 to $800. Isn’t that just great! 

My Last Two Pennies on the Topic

Is there anything to worry about if your pinky toe is turned sideways? Now you know the answer. Sideways-turned pinky toe, popularly known as “tailor’s bunion,” can be a literal pain in the ‘foot.’ But, as you have already realized, it isn’t nearly as dangerous as it seems or sounds. 

A simple procedure of a few minutes can get you rid of all the suffering. If you have read the whole article thoroughly, nothing should bother you any longer. 

Here you get to know why it happens, how to avoid the pains it brings, and finally, become familiar with the possible treatments. So, what’s there to worry about? Go to an expert surgeon and get your pinky fixed as soon as possible.

Dr. Rimita Farid

Dr. Rimita Farid

Hi this is Dr. Rimita Farid. I have completed my MBBS from MAHSA University in Kuala Lampur , Malaysia and currently a registered doctor in Bangladesh. I am training in Dermatology and Venerology and writing for me has been a hobby, even before i decided to be a doctor. I believe our lives are getting stressful with every moment and i believe writing is the solution to all our problems. The power of pen and paper is highly underestimated by many, and i am blessed that i realized how stimulating writing can be for my well being. Hope my articles are relatable and can reach as many readers as possible.

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