Fetal positioning in the uterus is a possible cause of overlapping toes, and the condition is likely inherited, according to Foot Vitals. As of 2015, doctors are not certain of the cause of overlapping toes, but the condition is congenital, meaning it is present at birth.
Overlapping toes often resolve on their own as a child gets older and begins walking, but sometimes the condition worsens and makes walking difficult or painful, notes Foot Vitals. Doctors use conservative treatments for six to 12 weeks, including binding or taping the toes, modifying footwear, and stretching and exercising. These treatments are usually ineffective, so surgery is the alternative.
The surgery involves the release of a tendon at the base of the affected toe, states Foot Vitals. In some cases, the surgeon inserts a pin temporarily so that the toe remains in the proper position. The patient must wear a removable cast or a special post-operative shoe following the procedure, notes American Health Network.
The surgeon removes the pin after a few weeks, indicates Foot Vitals. Following surgery, the patient must stay off his feet for a period of time to allow healing to take place. Once the surgeon removes the pin, the patient must typically use a toe splint for another few weeks.