Toe: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Toes on the foot. The innermost toe (bottom-left in image), which is normally called the big toe, is the hallux.

Toes are the digits of the foot of an animal. Animal species such as cats that walk on their toes are described as being digitigrade. Humans, and other animals that walk on the soles of their feet, are described as being plantigrade; unguligrade animals are those that walk on hooves at the tips of their toes. The toes are, from medial to lateral:

  • Hallux (big toe)
  • Index toe
  • Middle toe
  • Fourth toe
  • Little toe (Colloquially known as the Pinky toe or the Baby toe in the USA)[1].


Toe anatomy and physiology

Bones of the left foot. Plantar surface.
A stubbed pinky toe.

The anatomy of the human foot consists of numerous bones and soft tissues which support the weight of the upright human. The toes specifically assist the human while walking[2], providing balance, weight-bearing, and thrust during the gait. Toe bones articulate around the metatarsal bones which make up the central portion of the human foot. The joints between bones of the toe are known as interphalangeal joints. Movements are generally instigated via tendons actuated by muscles in the lower leg.

The hallux (large toe) is primarily flexed by the flexor hallucis longus muscle, located in the deep posterior of the lower leg, via the flexor hallucis longus tendon. Additional flexion control is provided by the flexor hallucis brevis. It is extended by the abductor hallucis muscle and the adductor hallucis muscle. The remaining toes are primarily controlled by the flexor digitorum brevis muscle and the extensor digitorum brevis muscle. Finally, the fifth toe (the smallest toe) has a separate set of control muscles and tendon attachments, the flexor and abductor digiti minimi. Numerous other foot muscles contribute to fine motor control of the foot. The connective tendons between the minor toes accounts for the inability to actuate individual toes.

Humans typically have five toes. Exceptions include polydactyly (too many toes), and syndactyly or amputation (too few toes). The four smallest toes consist of four phalanx bones, while the largest consists of three phananx bones and two sesamoid bones. Many of the flexor tendons are shared, making it impossible to move individual toes independently; however, some prehensility, or grasping capability, does exist for most humans.

Forefoot shape, including toe shape, exhibits significant variation among people; these differences can be measured and has been statistically correlated with ethnicity[3]. Such deviations may affect comfort and fit for various shoe types. Research conducted by Freedman for the U.S. Army[4] indicated that larger feet may still have smaller arches, toe length, and toe-breadth. Specifically measurable toe and forefoot metrics for humans include[3]:

Each of these metrics has been correlated to particular ethnic groups, but absolute deviations in dimensions are relatively small; such deviations may or may not be practically significant from the ergonomic or comfort standpoint.


A sprain or strain to the small interphalangeal joints of the toe is commonly called a stubbed toe.[5] A sprain or strain where the toe joins to the foot is called turf toe. A bunion is a structural deformity of the bones and the joint between the foot and big toe, and may be painful.[6] Long-term use of improperly sized shoes can cause misalignment of toes, as well as other orthopedic problems.

See also


  1. ^ Physical Rehabilitation Medicine - The Pinky Toe
  2. ^ Janey Hughes, Peter Clark, & Leslie Klenerman. The Importance of the Toes in Walking. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol. 72-B, No. 2. March, 1990. [1]
  3. ^ a b Ethnic differences in forefoot shape and the determination of shoe comfort. Hawes, Sovak, Miyashita, Kang, Yosihuku, and Tanaka. Ergonomics, Vol. 37, No. 1, Page 187. 1994. Available at [2]
  4. ^ Freedman, A., Huntington, E.C., Davis, G.C., Magee, R.B., Milstead, V.M. and Kirkpatrick, C.M.. 1946. Foot Dimensions of Soldiers (Third Partial Report), Armored Medical Research Laboratory, Fort Knox, Kentucky.
  5. ^ Your Health - Toe Sprain
  6. ^ American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. "Bunions". Retrieved 2008-03-05. 


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Human toes



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Old English , from Germanic *taihwōn. Cognate with Scots tae, Dutch teen, German Zeh, Zehe, Icelandic and Swedish .





toe (plural toes)

  1. Each of the five digits on the end of the foot.
  2. An equivalent part in an animal.
  3. That part of a shoe or sock covering the toe.
  4. Something resembling a toe, especially at the bottom or extreme end of something.
    (golf) the extreme end of the head of a club.
    (cricket) the tip of the bat farthest from the handle
  5. An alignment of the wheels of a road vehicle with positive toe (or toe in) signifying that the wheels are closer together at the front than at the back and negative toe (or toe out) the opposite.


  • (an equivalent part in an animal): hoof


  • (each of the five digits on the end of the foot): heel


Derived terms

Coordinate terms

  • (each of the five digits on the end of the foot): finger


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


to toe

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to toe (third-person singular simple present toes, present participle toeing, simple past and past participle toed)

  1. To touch or tap with the toes.
  2. (golf) To mishit a golf ball with the toe of the club.

Derived terms

See also






  1. Adverbial form of the preposition tot; to
    Het doet er niet toe. - It doesn't matter.
    Note: Only occurs as separable part of some compounds, not as a single word.

Derived terms


toe (used only predicatively)

  1. closed (esp. as part of a compound verb like toedoen)
    De deur is toe. - The door is closed.
    Doe de deur toe. - Close the door.



  1. come on!, go on! (used when trying to coax someone into doing something)
    Toe maar!

Derived terms




  1. (rare) A small dam, usually made of logs.




  • lohitoe
  • siikatoe

See also

Simple English

. The innermost toe (leftmost in image) is called the big toe.]]

Toes are the digits of the foot of an animal. Many animal species walk on their toes, and are called digitigrade. Humans, and other animals that walk on the soles of their feet, are plantigrade; hoofed animals are unguligrade.

In humans, the bones of each toe continue all the way to the heel, although in from the base of the toes they come together in the body of the foot. The inside toe is by far the thickest, and is called the big toe, great toe, or hallux.

The one on the other end is short and thin. The toes, especially the big toe, play an essential role in walking, although a loss of the smallest toe will not affect the way people move.

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