Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why is one of my toes smaller than the others?"
I am 32 years old. When I was in third grade (age 9) I noticed the toe next to my little toe on my left foot seemed to be smaller than the same toe on my other foot. Afterward, it never seemed to grow at all and is still smaller than the rest. I spoke to some family members and learned that I had cousins that had the same issue. My toe was not broken that I can recall. Is something like this genetic?
One of the amazing things about the human body is that one cell can replicate over and over, then differentiate into every single body part that makes up our body. As it does this, it follows the blue print that is encoded in our DNA, which is incredibly complex and subject to errors in the reading and copying. These small errors, if not serious, can be passed on to our progeny, and it can end up becoming a family trait. Your toe sounds like it is more of a curiosity than a medical issue. If it is significantly shorter than the adjacent toe and you have relatives with the same finding, than it is quite possible that it is a family relic that you owe to a great grandpa somewhere along the line. It would be significant if there are any other medical conditions that are associated with the smaller toe, but otherwise would likely be more of a curiosity than anything else. If you have further questions or concerns, your primary care doctor will be able to answer them or refer you.