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Curly toes

What are curly toes?

They’re when the third, fourth and fifth toe curl under on one or both feet because the tendons are too tight.

Curly toes are quite common and usually present at birth, but can become more noticeable when your child starts walking.


We do not know what causes the tendons to become tight, but children can inherit curly toes from family generations.


Curly toes can be quite visible but in the majority of people they do not tend to cause problems.

Occasionally symptoms such as hard skin, rubbing, or pain can occur and finding shoes to fit may prove a bit difficult.


For the majority of children, they will not need treatment. We recommend stretches to help keep the toes flexible. Your child can do this as part of their bed time or bath time routine.

If the toes remain flexible and moveable but continue to curl, this shouldn’t cause a problem. Sometimes they may become ‘fixed’ in position, but there’s no evidence to show this will cause problems in later life.

When to get further advice

If the curly toe causes pain or discomfort, or impacts on your child’s everyday function, you should get advice from your GP or health visitor.