Claw toes is named for its similarity to the claw of an animal. The toe is bent upward at the joint at the ball of the foot, and then downward at the middle joint and joint at tip of the toe. It typically occurs in the lesser toes. The deformity is caused when an imbalance occurs between the two sets of muscles that cause the toe to flex or extend. When one set over powers the other the deformity occurs. The deformity is flexible initially and over time becomes rigid or non-reducible.
Claw toes can present with variety of symptoms due to the position of the toe. Pain can be at the tip of the toe due to pressure and can affect the nail. Pain due to shoe pressure can also occur on the top of the toe. Because the toe is extended on the joint at the level of the ball of the foot, increased pressure can occur in the joint or on the bottom of the foot.
Treatment is designed to limit irritation of the toe. An extra depth shoe will allow plenty of room for the toes. Inner soles with a metatarsal pad such as the Tri-Performance arch support by Scott will help decrease stress on the ball of the foot which is associated with claw toes. Topical pads made of foam, felt or silicone can be applied directly to the toe to decrease inflammation. The All Gel Toe Crest works well in preventing the tip of the toe to hit the shoe.
Avoid use of chemical corn removers or the cutting of corns especially if you are diabetic, have circulation or immunity problems.