Claw Toe


This is a common foot deformity. With it, one or more toes buckle and curl into a claw shape. Over time, a claw toe can become locked in this position. It can dig into the sole of your foot. You may have trouble finding comfortable shoes.


Claw toe can develop in a few ways. It can be caused by shoes that don't allow enough room for your toes. This leads to an imbalance in the muscles of your foot, causing your toe to curl. Claw toe can also be caused by damage to nerves in the feet. This can happen if you have a condition such as diabetes or arthritis. It can result from alcoholism, stroke, or other factors.


This deformity most often affects the small toes. It can affect all four. A claw toe bends up at its base, and the middle joint bends downward. The joint at the end of the toe may bend as well. A claw toe can cause pain. You may develop corns or callouses as your toe rubs against your shoe.


Treatment options depend on the severity of your deformity. In its early stages, a claw toe can be treated with splinting or taping, shoes that give you more toe room, and stretches and exercises. If it is locked in the bent position, you may need special shoes or pads. You may benefit from surgery. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that's right for you.