Claw Toe is a foot deformity that occurs when the bottom part of your toe points up and the top part of your toe curls under, making it look like a claw. Claw Toe is often confused with Hammer Toe, but these are two different conditions. In cases of Claw Toe, the lower toe joint is bent up, while the middle and upper toe joints are curled downward. In cases of Hammer Toe, the lower toe joint is bent upward and the middle toe joint is bent downward.
Signs and symptoms of Claw Toe include:
- Claw-like appearance of toe(s)
- Toe pain
If caught early, your toes will still be flexible. If Claw Toe is left for too long without treatment, the affected toe(s) will harden in this incorrect position.
- Improper footwear (too tight, too short, high heels)
- Ankle injury and/or ankle surgery
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Proper Footwear – If you have Claw Toe, you want to make sure your shoes are comfortable and don’t squeeze your toes at all. Your shoes should give your toes plenty of space. Avoid wearing high heels, as these could cause more stress on your toes.
Physical Manipulation – You should try to manually stretch your toes to their proper position.
Metatarsal Pad – Inserting a metatarsal pad into your shoe can help with weight distribution and relieve the pressure on your toes.
Toe Exercises – Keeping your toes flexible is important. You don’t want them to become rigid. Exercises like Marble Pick-Ups and Towel Scrunches can help maintain the strength of your foot muscles.
NSAIDs – If you are experiencing a lot of foot pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Aleve can help with pain relief.
Surgery – Surgery to correct Claw Toe should only be considered as a last resort if all other treatment methods have failed.