Toe deformities often get blamed on wearing shoes that are too tight or too small, which can be the case in
hammertoes and mallet toes. However, claw toes are the result of nerve damage from diabetes or alcoholism, which weakens the muscles in your foot. Claw toes claw at the soles of your shoes, creating painful calluses. Without treatment this deformity can become worse over time, even becoming a permanent problem.
Symptoms of claw toes include:
- Toes that are bent upwards from the joint at the ball of the foot.
- Toes bend downward at the middle joints towards the sole of your shoe.
- Toes may also bend at the top joint, curling under, like mallet toes.
- Corns on the top of the foot or on the ball of the foot.
A podiatrist can effectively diagnose a claw toe, using tests to determine if the cause is neurological, or trauma or inflammation.
In the early stages of a claw toe deformity, the toe will be flexible. However, the longer the condition progresses, the more rigid it will become. If the deformity is caught at an early stage, simple taping or splinting may be prescribed to retrain the toe to the correct position. Your podiatrist may also recommend:
- Wearing shoes with roomy toe boxes and avoiding tight shoes and high heels.
- Use your hand to stretch the affected toe to the correct position.
- Exercise your toes by performing towel pick-ups or marble pick-ups with your feet.
Claw toes at an advanced stage will require other, more complex treatment:
- A special pad to redistribute your weight and relieve pressure on the ball of your foot, like an orthotic.
- Extra deep shoes with additional space in the toe box to accommodate the claw toe.
- Have your shoes stretched.
- Surgery to correct the deformity.
If you believe have a foot problem and do not currently see a podiatrist, call one of our six locations to make an appointment.
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT