O.K. all kidding aside, well maybe not all kidding, let’s talk about claw toe!
People often blame the foot deformity on wearing shoes that squeeze or crowd your toes, like high heels. However, claw toe normally is caused by nerve damage from diseases like diabetes or alcoholism, which can lead toe a muscle imbalance which weakesn the muscles in your foot
Having claw toe means your toes “claw,” or dig down into the soles of your shoes and create painful calluses. Claw toe, which is essentially the same deformity as a hammertoe, gets worse over time without treatment and becomes a permanent problem!
Common symptoms include:
- 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.
Claw toe deformities are easier to repair when detected early, but they harden over time. Splint or tape is used to hold your toes in correct position in the early stages. If painful, I may recommend a gel toe crest to help alleviate pain.
If you have claw toe in later stages and your toes are fixed in position, I may consider the following to treat claw toe:
- A special pad to help redistribute your weight and relieve pressure on the ball of your foot.
- Surgery to correct the deformity. If the toe is flexible, sometimes a simple procedure using no scalpel and no stitiches can relax the toe into a straight position. When the toe becomes rigid, bone needs to be remodeled and corrected, which is done as an outpatient in the OR.