What Are Claw Toes?

Do the end two joints of your toe bend like a claw and become inflexible? Then you may have a claw toe!

Claw toes, which are frequently confused with hammertoes and mallet toes, can be genetic. That can be caused by ill-fitting shoes, muscle imbalances, or an indication of a neurological condition. They can be uncomfortable and make walking and running difficult.

What are Claw Toes?

A close-up of a man's toe

Toes that are bent into an unusual claw-like shape are called claw toes. All four smaller toes of your foot are the most affected, and indeed the central and end joints (those closest to your ankle) bend. Clawed toes get frequently linked to a high arched (cavus) foot, muscular irregularities. In rare cases, a mental problem. Insulin-dependent people may develop ulcers as a result of diminished foot hypersensitivity.

If your claw toes exist untreated, they may become permanently stiff. When toes get forced down into the bottoms of your shoes, claw toes can cause pain.

The stress and friction on the bottom shoe or the top of the toes can cause corns or calluses. Diseases are a rare occurrence!

Stages of A Claw Toe

  • Flexible: It is the first stage of a claw toe, the beginning! Even though your toes are rigid, they flex at the joints.
  • Stiff: It is the stage where your toes have become locked and are unable to move.

The Cause of Claw Toes

The focal cause of claw toes is a muscular imbalance in the foot.

Your toe muscles, in particular, contract excessively, causing tendons to tighten and joints to bend. However, more factors cause claw toe imbalances in foot muscles:

  • Genetics.
  • Shoes that don’t fit properly.
  • Damaged nerves
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.
  •  Tumors of the spinal cord.
  • Blisters
  • Traumas

Symptoms of Claw Toes

A man pressing on a transparent sheet with symptoms written on it

The common misperception about symptoms of claw toes is that they are curled toes. Whereas there are other signs and symptoms of claw toe, and they include:

  • Corns: Corns are typically tiny and spherical. Corns get most commonly found on the tops and sides of your toes.
  • Calluses: Calluses are thick, hard skin patches. Calluses are bigger than corns and have a more uneven (spread out) shape than corns.
  • Blisters: They are bubbles that form when fluid gathers in pockets under your skin’s top layer.
  • Swelling: Swelling gets defined as a rise in the size or form of a physical part. Swelling can result from a buildup of bodily fluid, tissue growth, or aberrant tissue movement or position.
  • Ulcers (rare): Ulcers are lesions on the stomach or small intestine lining. It’s also possible that you have sores on your esophagus (throat). The majority of ulcers occur in the small intestine. Duodenal ulcers are the name for these ulcers.

Diagnosis Of Claw Toes

A pair of feet with pitch-black background

When looking for a diagnosis of claw toes, your healthcare professional will examine your toes physically, possibly touching them to see how they move. In the diagnosis of claw toes, they might get you checked for neurological issues. Some neurological problems can cause the muscles in your foot to weaken, causing the toes to bend.

Moreover, a podiatrist and a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon may get recommended by your primary healthcare provider.

Treatment Of Claw Toes

A foot being massaged on white sheets

Treatment of claw toes can exist non-surgically as well as surgically.

  • Non-Surgical Treatments of Claw Toes

The majority of treatments are simple and might get practiced at home.

  • Footwear with large toe boxes, low heels, and hard added comfort is endorsed.
  • Wear shoes that are wider, deeper, with soft bottoms and few seams in the toe box.
  • To cushion the toe, use pads, arch supports, or other shoe inserts.
  • Exercising toe muscles to strengthen and stretch them.
  • To keep your toes where they should be, use a splint or tape.
  • Make sure you avoid high heels.
  • Shoes that are too small should get avoided.
  • Surgically Treatment of Claw Toes 

The sort of surgery you will get depends on the degree of your claw toes. Our doctor will determine whether your claw toe is in the early or late stages and whether it is flexible or rough.

  • Tendon lengthening and rerouting is a procedure that involves the lengthening and rerouting of tendons.
  • The phalanx’s bones are becoming shortened.
  • Placing a steel pin in the toe to keep it in the correct position until it heals
  • Fusion of the toes

Risks of Surgery

Every surgery entails some level of risk. The following are the dangers of claw toe surgery in particular:

  • Nerve injury.
  • Stiffness.
  • Infection.
  • Recurrence. Your claw toes may reappear following treatment. Inquire with your doctor about strategies to avoid this.

Prevention of Claw Toes

The prevention of claw toes is one of the most effective ways. Below are some standard methods mentioned for the prevention of claw toes:

  • Exercise Your Toes: To extend your toes, use your fingers. Then use your toes to pull objects up off the ground to strengthen them. The following items are recommended:
  • Towels.
  • Marbles.
  • Small balls.
  •  Wear Sensible Shoes: If you are prone to claw toes, look for shoes with arch support, short heels, and a wide toe box.
  • Pumice Stone: File down your corns and calluses using a pumice stone.

Bottom Line

Claw toes can be easily dealt with if you wear proper shoes, file down corns and calluses, and exercise your toes to take care of your feet. Moreover, seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms of claw toes, as the article states. The article further provides you with information on the prevention of claw toes!

We recommend checking out interesting facts about feet!