Claw Toes

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What is Claw Toes?

Claw Toes are a common toe deformity. Treatment of Claw Toes may require surgery to correct a muscle imbalance—usually the cause of the claw toe.

A Claw toe is simply a toe that is contracted at the middle and end joints in the toe (it looks similar to a clenched fist), and can lead to severe pressure and pain in the foot. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe’s joints to curl downwards. Claw toes may occur in any toe except for the big toe. There tends to be discomfort at the top part of the toe that is rubbing against the shoe and at the end of the toe that is pressed against the bottom of the shoe.

There are two classifications of claw toes: flexible, and rigid. In a flexible claw toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of claw toe can be straightened manually. A rigid claw toe does not have that same ability to move. Toe movement is very limited and can be very painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted, leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.

Symptoms of Claw Toes

  • Toes bent upward from the joints at the ball of the foot.
  • Toes bent downward at the middle joints toward the sole of your shoe.
  • Corns on the top of the toe or under the ball of the foot.


With early detection Claw Toes are easier to repair, however, they harden into place over time. Splint or tape is used to hold toes in correct position.

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