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Will I Lose My Toes?

Posted by Andrea A. on 2/17/05 at 05:45 (169239)

I've always had this habit of curling my toes and walking on them. They are now really hard, callused, and numb at the tips a couple even have a brownish color beyond the calluses. I have also broken a couple of toes and they grew back destorted. I now have arthritus in my toes so bad they swell up like sausages and the pain is awful I can't stand or walk around more than 3 or 4 hours without my feet and toes just throbbing with pain.
I seen a Doctor a year ago and she told me I would be crippled by the time i'm 60. I'm only 30 years old with 2 young children ages 3 and 5 and I need my feet. I haven't been back to doctor because I lost my insurance and my job. I can't stand at a register for 8 hours anymore. Will I ever be able to stand or walk more than 3 or 4 hours? Will I lose my toes?

Re: To Andrea

Julie on 2/17/05 at 09:06 (169244)

Andrea, I am sorry to read about your problem.

I am not medically qualified to answer your specific question, and this may be a shot in the dark. I am wondering if some muscle tightness or imbalance led to the habit you developed of walking on your flexed (curled) toes. It would help to see a foot doctor: a podiatrist, or an orthopaedic doctor who has specialised in feet and ankles. Such a doctor would be in a much better position to evaluate your feet than the one (presumably your PCP?) who (rather unkindly, in my opinion) told you you would be crippled by 60!

Please don't take that prognosis on board. Rather, decide you're going to do all you can to turn the tables on your toes and improve. For starters, please take a look at the yoga foot exercises I have posted here (click on the word yoga: it's a link to the post). They will all benefit you and do no harm, but the first one - curling and stretching the toes - is the one I think might particularly help you. It will be difficult at first, because your toes are used to curling and the muscles that stretch them (the extensors) are not used to being used and will take persuasion and patience to come to life again. But if you try, and keep trying, I think the exercise may help you. Even if you don't see immediate improvement in the movement in your toes, they will improve your circulation, which is very important. I have had good results in my teaching with people with arthritis in their feet - people in their 80s and 90s. You are young and have a good head start!

Finally, I know you don't have insurance, but I would urge you to spend the money to consult a foot specialist. It's your health, and the rest of your life you have to think about. I am sure that you want to change the situation, and the way to do that is to take charge of it.

Let us know how you get on.
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Re: Will I Lose My Toes?

John H on 2/18/05 at 09:31 (169323)

There is a disease that causes curling of the toes and fingers. I think it is genetic. Make sure this is not just a habit.