In order for these muscle groups to tense up and move their toes, they require electrical signals (commands) from nerves in the spinal cord. Two nerves, the tibial nerve and the fibular nerve, are particularly important in this respect. The toe flexor muscles, the muscles responsible for spreading the toes and the muscle groups that cause the spread toes to close, receive electrical signals from the tibial nerve and its branches. The toe extensor muscles, on the other hand, are supplied by the nervus fibularis. The sensitive sensations of the toes, such as pain, heat or cold, pressure and vibration are also transmitted by the tibial and fibular nerves.
In addition to an electrical signal, which they receive via various nerves, the various muscle groups of the toes also require a supply of blood. This takes place via various branches of the arteria tibialis anterior, which runs along the front of the lower leg, and branches of the arteria tibialis posterior, which is located on the back of the lower leg.
If there are deformities or malpositions of the toes, this is called toe deformity. Toe deformities can be congenital, i.e. present from birth, or acquired. Acquired toe deformities develop only in the course of life, usually due to unsuitable footwear.
Examples of congenital toe deformities are shortened toes (brachydactyly), the absence of one or more toes (oligodactyly) or the presence of an additional toe (polydactyly). Acquired toe deformities are common. Examples are the hallux valgus, in which there is a painful deviation of the big toe to the outside, and the hallux rigidus, in which there is a stiffening of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.
The most common toe deformity is the digitus malleus, in which there is a claw-like bending of a toe. Some of the deformities mentioned above can be corrected by surgery.