How to avoid jammed toes, that lousy buildup between your toes 2022-05-01 05:03:20


Even jammed toe, dirt and debris between your toes, turned into a Beatles song.

But it was unlikely that John Lennon was thinking about foot hygiene when he wrote the words for the second stanza of “come together“:

He’s not wearing shoe polish, he’s got a soccer ball
He got monkey finger, shot Coca-Cola
He said: I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is that you should be free.

Jam toe is not a medical term. There is no official medical term to describe the dead skin cells, sweat, sock tissue, and dirt that coalesce into the small, often narrow spaces between our toes.

Finger jam can have the consistency of soft cheese or cake crumbs. It can smell or be odorless. Its color can range from white to gray and brown.

Toe jam is more likely to form if you wear closed shoes when it’s hot, or gum shoes Do not allow sweat to evaporate.

Poor foot hygiene is sure to increase your likelihood of developing bunion toes. This is because sweaty debris builds up between the toes if you don’t take care to clean these areas in the shower or bath.

Crowded toes may be more likely if your feet perspire a lot for other reasons. For example, we know Sweaty feet It can be a problem for children and teens who have overactive sweat glands. Some people have a serious medical condition called excessive sweatingWhere they sweat excessively.

Does toe jam like athlete’s foot?

The pooling of sweat and dead skin between the toes provides an opportunity for bacteria that live on the skin to thrive.

These bacteria, which include those in the genus Brevibacterium, feed on sweat, releasing molecules that give the distinctive “cheesy” characteristic. The smell of sweaty feet. Brevibacterium is also used to ripen some cheeses.
This warm and humid environment is also an ideal location for tinea pedisA fungal skin infection you may know as athlete’s foot.
Signs of ringworm may be white, moist skin between your toes, which can be itchy, and red areas, which are a sign of skin damage. damaged skin Between the toes, small, fluid-filled blisters may appear and may bleed if the weakened skin ruptures.

So, while toe jam doesn’t look like ringworm, it may provide the perfect conditions for the fungus to grow.

How dangerous is toe jam?

In general, toe jam is a minor health problem. You can manage it with clean feet. And if you have ringworm, you can use a short course of antifungal treatment that you can buy at a pharmacy (see below).

It’s a completely different possibility, however, for someone who has a chronic disease like diabetes, someone who has low vision (so they can’t see crowded toe or its complications) or may be unable to reach their feet due to limited mobility.

Diabetes that is not well controlled by diet, exercise or medications increases the risk of decreased blood flow (peripheral arterial disease) and decreased feeling in the feet (sensory neuropathy).

The broken skin between the toes due to ringworm can quickly become infected, increased risk from:
  • Spread of infection to the foot and leg (cellulitis).
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • gangrene (dead tissue due to lack of blood flow)
  • Amputation of a toe or part of the foot or leg.

So early identification of ringworm of a vulnerable person is especially important to prevent complications.

4 ways to avoid problems

Here are four tips for avoiding toe problems, including ringworm and its complications:

  1. Carefully wash and dry the spaces between your toes after bathing or showering and after swimming. Gyms and swimming pools are a common place to catch a fungal infection on your feet, so it’s a good idea to wear a thong to reduce the risk of ringworm.
  2. If possible, avoid wearing shoes that don’t allow sweat to evaporate (eg, closed-toe shoes made of synthetic materials and gum boots). Also, going barefoot, when there is no risk of injury, will allow sweat to evaporate.
  3. Treat sweaty feet with an antiperspirant containing aluminum chloride. More severe cases of hyperhidrosis can be treated with medications, such as Botox injections into the feet. Fungal infections (tinea) should be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams such as terbinafine or clotrimazole. Resistant infections may require a course of prescribed antifungal medication.
  4. Pay attention to signs that the infection is spreading from the foot. This could be pain and swelling in the toes, or red streaks along the foot and up the leg. This requires an urgent visit to a podiatrist or a doctor.


The Beatles Exhibition 2009 in Hamburg, Germany.  on & quot;  monastery road & quot;  Cover, Paul McCartney goes barefoot.

Lennon mentions the “gumboot walrus” in the third verse of Come Together. The last line of the second verse says “You must be free.” The cover of the Beatles album “Abbey Road” shows Paul McCartney walking barefoot (second from left).

The Beatles probably knew a thing or two about crowded toe and foot health.


Caroline Robinson, Assistant Professor of Podiatry Charles Sturt University in Australia. Luke Donnan is a lecturer in podiatry at Charles Sturt University. Robinson and Donnan are affiliated with the Australian Board of Podiatric Deans and the Australian Podiatric Society. Charles Sturt University offers funding as a member of The Conversation.