What role does the small toe play in walking?

If I cut off my small toe, would it have any impact on my ability to walk?

What if I cut it all the way to the first joint (removing that joint as well)?

It seems losing just the toe wouldn’t be so bad, but losing the first joint as well would.

I’ve heard of toe to finger transplants which used the toe next to the big toe that the recipient said that the gaining of a useful finger far outweights the loss of a toe, which indicate there is some loss felt at least for that toe, which does include bones into the foot, not just the external parts.

The 5th toe contributes nothing to gait or balance. It’s just there. Remove it all the way down to the MTP joint if you want, no biggie.

The 1st toe plays the largest role in gait. Cut it off and there’s trouble.

Isn’t it the piggy that goes wee wee wee all the way home? You would lose out on that; unless of course that’s what it does after you cut it off.

If you cut your toe off, can you get it to me by 3 o’clock this afternoon?

It plays a role in the realm of creepy pick up lines. As in “I wish you were my little toe, because I’d like to bang you on all the furniture in my house.”

So what would be the down side of amputation of the little toe as a long term solution to a corny, callousy hammer toe?

Risk of pain, bleeding, infection, complications including losing more of the foot, leg, life, etc.

Not real likely, but cut off enough 5th toes, and eventually someone’s going to get those complications, even under ideal conditions.

But, the possibility of those complications exist with the toe intact. I’m venturing into debate territory, but at what point does it become a preemptive measure for a diabetic (with their doctor) to decide the darned is thing going to cause problems eventually. What not just be rid of it now and eliminate the annoying pain at the same time?

What’s the medical ethics of that decision, say compared to Ms. Jolie’s mastectomy?

You asked about the downside of taking that action, I told you.

Everything’s about relative risk. If patient and practitioner feel benefits outweigh risks, (and someone has money to pay for it), the procedure can happen.

That answer was more applicable than you think. I’ve sometimes wondered if an ‘accident’ with an axe while splitting kindling, followed by a quick cauterization, would be acceptable, but then I would have the same question as the OP and wonder how it would affect walking and balance.

I’m not about to ruin a good pair of boots to eliminate a minor source of pain, but it made me wonder if it was the kind of thing a doctor would consider with other circumstances contributing to the decision.

With nail polish?

There’s an urban legend that claims models and other fashion-conscious women were having their 5th toes removed to fit better into pointy shoes. I never heard of any evidence of it.

I don’t know about the little toe, but I recently had the toe next to my big toe get infected and surgically removed. I was walking around a few days later with no gait problems.

My sister had a wart*, its massive root, and the bones removed from one of her little toes. Her toe looks totally normal and the lack of bone hasn’t affected her ability to walk at all. She said that once it finished healing it felt like nothing had ever been done to it.

*She developed the wart in the hospital after giving birth to my nephew. It was finally removed just after his 12th birthday.

I really broke my little toe a while back. It was just flopping around off to the side until I bandaged it back in place. While it was healing I noticed a big difference in my balance while playing basketball. I felt like there was no ‘support’ on that side and that I was going to fall that way.

You’d have much greater difficulty in finding shoes that fit properly.

My son lost a pinky toe when he was 5 years old. As far as we can tell it has made zero difference. He grew up to be an awesome soccer player for example. He rarely runs in circles.

If your toe is a chronic source of pain, infection, or other dysfunction and you’ve tried other methods of solving the problem a doctor would probably be much more open to discussing amputation as an option than if you walked in with a perfectly healthy and normal toe. That doesn’t mean he or she would approve it, just that under such circumstances that option becomes more reasonable.

I don’t know about removing the littlest toe but I do know some women have had toes shortened to fit better into high-fashion shoes, typically the toe next to the largest toe which in some people is longer than the big toe, a condition also called Morton’s toe. It’s debatable whether that’s a “disorder” or just normal human variation, but it is true that many shoes are not designed to accommodate that variation.

Personally, I favor buying shoes that fit my feet rather than paying to make my feet fit my shoes, but clearly other people have different ideas.

Your cite for Morton’s Toe says, “*** Rare** cases of disabling pain are sometimes treated surgically.*” There was no mention of such surgery for vanity

As ol’ Rummy said, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” but still…