What Does It Mean If You Have Hairy Toes?

Hair can be found nearly everywhere on the body from the tip of our scalp down to the tops of our feet — and yes, this includes our toes too. For some people, hair growth on the toes may be more pronounced, particularly if hairy toes run in the family. While some people may not have any toe hair visible to the eye, experts say that it's often an indication of good health if your toes are sporting a hairdo of their own.

"Having hair on your toes is a good sign because it means that you have good circulation," podiatrist Dr. Dan Michaels tells The Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Institute. "You can't produce hair on your toes without having a blood supply." Our extremities are more susceptible to poor circulation since they reside further away from the heart. Hair growth on the toes, however, signifies that blood is reaching your digits and circulating as it should be.

Alternatively, toe hair growth may be tied to the use of certain medications. While medication-related hair growth is less frequently observed on the toes compared to other regions of the body, drugs such as Prozac, anabolic steroids, or corticosteroids can have this side effect (via Healthline).

Let's take a look at some other possible causes of hairy toes and what it may mean if the loss or growth of toe hair occurs suddenly or unexpectedly.

Loss of toe hair

What does it mean if you experience changes in toe hair growth? If you've had hair on your toes for most of your adult life and suddenly notice that it's starting to disappear, you might be wondering what the deal is. However, this isn't always cause for concern. The explanation may be that you're simply wearing shoes that are too tight for your feet and the friction is causing the hair to rub off, according to experts at Louetta Foot and Ankle Specialists.

In other instances, however, loss of toe hair may indicate a blood flow-related health condition, such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Loss of toe hair can also be a symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in which an accumulation of plaque in the arteries hinders circulation to the extremities (per the Mayo Clinic). In the event of any abrupt changes to hair growth on the feet, be sure to see your doctor promptly.

Sudden toe hair growth and removal methods

Just as toe hair loss can occur, so can unexpected toe hair growth. While highly unlikely, in serious cases, the sudden emergence of excessive hair on the toes can be a symptom of cancer (via Louetta Foot and Ankle Specialists). However, cases of toe and foot cancer are very few and far between. While it's been challenging for experts to narrow down the exact statistics, a 2017 scientific review published in Efort Open Reviews outlines how less than 5% of all soft-tissue sarcomas can be traced to the foot or ankle. Therefore, patients should consult with their doctor before assuming cancer may be the cause of toe hair growth.

For those interested in toe hair removal, there are many remedies that can be implemented from home, such as shaving or use of a topical depilatory (per Healthline). Alternatively, some people may prefer to utilize a waxing or threading service. However, these hair-removal methods are temporary and will require routine maintenance. More long-lasting methods of toe hair removal may include electrolysis or laser treatment.