Social media was ablaze a few months ago with speculation about Kim Kardashian’s toes, and it’s happening again this month. Photos of the socialite and media personality, including close-ups of her sandaled feet, reveal the possibility of a sixth toe on each foot. Or do they? Well, unless Ms. Kardashian were to visit us here at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland for a foot exam, it’s impossible to say exactly what’s going on. But polydactyly is certainly possible.
What is polydactyly?
As a lot of medical terms do, this one comes from the Greek: “poly” meaning many and “dactyly” meaning digits – fingers or toes. So polydactyly of the foot means that a person is born with one or more extra toes. Here are some interesting facts about polydactyly:
- About 1 in 700-1,000 babies in the U.S. are born with an extra digit.
- The most common location for an extra toe is next to the pinky toe. An extra toe next to the big toe is rarer. Most uncommon is an extra toe in the middle.
- It’s more common in those of African descent than in Caucasians.
- It tends to run in families.
What can a podiatrist do about an extra toe?
Having more than the usual 10 toes doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your child – or with any adult such as Ms. Kardashian, for that matter. However, some people are bothered by the way their foot looks and extra toes can make it difficult to fit into shoes. For these two reasons, polydactyly is usually treated with surgery to remove the extra toe. The surgery is scheduled sometime before a child begins to walk.
Our expert podiatrists, Dr. Meghan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey have years of experience in treating children’s feet. We encourage parents with concerns about their son’s or daughter’s feet to make an appointment for us to evaluate them. For expert pediatric foot care and foot surgery of any kind in the areas of Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties, call us in Solon, Ohio at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.