Curly toes factsheet


Curly toes are a common, usually harmless childhood condition of the feet. Babies are usually born with it, but they may only become noticeable once your child begins walking. 

This condition primarily affects the third and fourth toes of both feet. When the tendons are too tight, the toes curl under, causing one toe to pull under the next one.

 Signs and symptoms

You will be able to see your child’s toes curling towards the underside of their foot.

Most children with curly toes do not have any symptoms. 

If there are symptoms, they can include:

  • flat or thickened toenails
  • regular sores or blisters from pressure
  • difficulty wearing some styles of shoes
  • pain or discomfort with certain activities.

If your child has symptoms that are causing pain or limiting their movement, speak to your local doctor as soon as possible.

An illustration showing the bone structure associated with curly toes.


Your child’s doctor will be able to diagnose curly toes by checking the feet and toes. 


Curly toes are usually harmless and do not require treatment unless they cause pain or limit movement. They often improve on their own within the first five years of a child's life. If needed, treatment may involve special shoes or a simple surgery after the age of five.

Last updated Tuesday 16th April 2024


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024