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Claw Toes

Claw Toes

Claw toes are a toe deformity similar to a hammertoe but with a few distinguishable differences. Claw toes, like hammertoes, describe the bent position of the toes that looks like the toe is curling down. Unlike a hammertoe, claw toes have a closer resemblance to a hook where the joint starts curling beneath itself. Here both of the toe joints (proximal interphalangeal and distal interphalangeal joints) are flexed to resemble a more marked claw. The joint at the ball of the foot (metatarsophalangeal) is extended.

Tight fitting shoes that squeeze your feet are the most common cause for toes curling and digging into the sole of the shoe. Diabetes, trauma, excessive inflammation and alcoholism also are culprits that may trigger the condition of claw toe. The process behind diabetes and alcoholism is resulting nerve damage that weakens the muscles of the foot, leading to the clawing of the toes. Certain neurological conditions can also cause weaken the foot muscles and these need to be ruled out with specific tests. Symptoms of claw toe include:

  • Toes that bend upward
  • Toes that bend downward
  • Toes that curl under the foot
  • Calluses or corns

When symptoms of claw toe first appear, the toes are still flexible and the use of tape or a splint may correct the position of the toes. Properly fitted shoes with a deep toe box are recommended. Specific stretching and strengthening often form the cornerstone of the treatment plan outlined by your podiatrist. Prescription orthoses may be used to decrease pressure and reduce biomechanical factors.

Toes become rigid during the later stages of claw toe and medical grade footwear is often indicated. Only as a very last resort should you consider surgery. Claw toes are often associated with bunions and other alignment problems.

Two weeks with Calcaneal Spur and finally got to see Doc. He sent me to Kevin @ Eleven and with One Appointment, he had me walking without Crutches. Yes! It still hurt. Did the Stretching, Rolling my Foot on a Spikey ball and Iced it occasionally. Return visit, after he had his Holiday, and I' am walking fine. They do NOT want to see me again, unless it deteriorates. Which it has not :-)
- Ivan CooKe