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Worldwide Ace » The Sixth Toe

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The Sixth Toe

22 March, 2011 (15:33) | Skiing

I seem to be developing a sixth toe.

For most of my life, I’ve gotten along fine with just ten toes. Recently, however, my left has decided to get greedy; five toes just aren’t enough.

It began a few weeks ago while I was in the mountains. Each night, I would pry my boots off and find this small, bulbous deposit of hard flesh growing next to the MTP joint by my pinkie toe. Though it extruded slightly, it wasn’t obtrusive or bothersome.

At first, it appeared innocuous. I drew a smilie face on it to accentuate how happy it seemed, climbing its way out of the side of my foot. I think I may have angered it, cause after washing off in the shower, it turned red with anger. The next day, it started hurting. Just a little twinge here or there, but I was too scared to draw another smilie lest I raise its ire once more.

I gave my foot some time to rest, in hopes that my sixth toe would decide  that life on my foot was too boring and maybe, just maybe, it would decide to go away. It seemed to dissipate a little, but as soon as I tossed my boots back on, it was right there needling me once more.

My sixth toe just wasn’t going away.

With nothing else to do, I figured I should make it comfortable. I took my boots into the shop and got them “punched.” This left a little more room for my sixth toe to hand around in without feeling cramped. I also replaced my footbeds, letting my foot sit a little easier while going through this difficult pubescent time. For a few days, my sixth toe seemed much happier, but every once in a while it would poke me painfully and remind me that it was still there.

I did some research on the internet to figure out how to deal with a sixth toe. Most people either live with them or cut them off. Mine wasn’t quite a full grown toe yet, so cutting it off would’ve been like child abuse.

Then I found out the truth.

My sixth toe isn’t a toe at all.

I remember seeing people asking for bunion rubs on TV and finding it gross, but other than something on a foot, I didn’t actually know what a bunion was. It turns out that my sixth toe is also called tailor’s bunion or a bunionette. Bunions are an inflammation of the MTP joint between the metatarsal bone and the phalanges. Over time, it can calcify, becoming a bone spur and causing an improper alignment of the toes, but I’m not there quite yet. Tailor’s bunion happens near the pinky toe because tailor’s would sit cross-legged and apply pressure on the outside of their foot. Most bunions, however, are due to tight shoes (think high heels) that squeeze the toes, and they more commonly occur near the big toe.

Mostly, what my foot needs is rest. The inflammation will subside and my foot will return to normal. Since my job as a ski instructor goes for another month, I won’t get to really rest my foot until then. If I’m unlucky, the inflammation will become calcified and I’ll need surgery down the road.

Apparently, having wide feet is often a cause of sixth toes, and I certainly fall into that category. For the time being, my sixth toe and I are attached at the MTP joint. Soon though, we’ll need to separate. Quite frankly, I think it’s been altogether too rude.

I’ve decided I’m no longer talking to my sixth toe. At least that way, people may stop doubting my sanity.