is claw foot?
Claw foot is also known as claw toes. It’s a
condition in which your toes bend into a claw-like position. Claw foot can
appear from birth, or your feet can become bent later on. It’s usually not a
serious problem on its own, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also a sign of
an underlying medical condition, such as cerebral palsy or diabetes.
If you suspect you have claw foot, make an
appointment with your doctor. To prevent claw foot from getting worse, it’s
important to get an early diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of claw foot
When you have claw foot, the toe joints
closest to your ankle point up, while your other toe joints bend down. This
makes your toes look like claws.
In some cases, claw foot doesn’t cause any
pain. In other cases, your toes might hurt, and you might develop corns or
calluses or ulcers on parts that rub against your shoes.
Claw toes are sometimes mistakenly referred
to as “hammer toes,” but they’re not the same
thing. While the two conditions share many similarities, they’re caused by
different muscles in your foot.
Causes of claw foot
Claw foot can develop as a result of several
different conditions. For example, you may develop claw foot following ankle
surgery or ankle injuries. Nerve damage can weaken your foot muscles, leading
to imbalances that force your toes to bend awkwardly. Inflammation can also
cause your toes to bend into a claw-like position.
Underlying disorders that can cause claw foot
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an
autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack healthy tissues in
your joints. As a result, the lining of your joints becomes inflamed, which can
lead to joint deformities.
palsy: This condition can affect your muscle tone,
resulting in muscles that are either too stiff or too loose. It can be caused
by abnormal brain development before birth or injury during delivery.
- Diabetes: This condition occurs when your body has high levels of blood
sugar due to insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production. Nerve damage,
especially in your feet, is one of the complications that can result from
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: This
is a rare inherited disorder that can affect your nervous system. If you have
this condition, it can cause weakness in your feet and toe deformities.
- Stroke: This condition occurs when
blood stops flowing to an area of your brain due to a blood clot or weak blood
vessels. Strokes can cause serious nerve damage and affect your muscles,
including muscles in your feet.
In some cases, the underlying cause of claw
foot is never identified.
When to see your doctor
Call your doctor if your toes show signs of
becoming clawed. They may be flexible at first, but they can become permanently
stuck in a claw-like position over time. Treatment is necessary to prevent this
Your doctor will also check for underlying
disorders that can cause claw foot, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Early
diagnosis and treatment may prevent serious complications and improve your
quality of life.
Treating claw foot
To treat claw foot, your doctor may recommend
a combination of medical interventions and home care.
If your toes are still flexible, your doctor
might tape them or ask you to wear a splint to keep them in the right position.
They may teach you how to perform home care exercises to maintain your toes’
flexibility. They may also encourage you to wear certain types of shoes, while
If these treatments don’t help or your toes
have become too rigid, your doctor might recommend surgery. Your surgeon can
shorten the bone at the base of your toe, giving your toe more room to
If your claw foot is linked an underlying
disorder, your doctor may prescribe medications, surgery, or treatments to help
If your toes are still flexible, performing
regular exercises may help alleviate your symptoms or prevent them from getting
worse. For example, your doctor may encourage you to move your toes toward
their natural position, using your hands. Picking up objects with your toes may
Wearing shoes with plenty of room can help
alleviate discomfort. Don’t wear shoes that are too tight or shoes with high
heels. If your toes are becoming more rigid, look for shoes that have extra
depth in the toe area. You can also use a special pad to help take pressure off
the ball of your foot.
Outlook for claw foot
Home care measures may help improve your
symptoms, especially if your toes are still flexible. In some cases, you might
need surgery to stop your toes from becoming permanently clawed. If you have
surgery, your toes should heal within six to eight weeks.
Ask your doctor for more information about
your specific condition, treatment options, and long-term outlook.