Warning Signs Of Claw Toe

Claw foot and claw toe are different names for the same condition. This condition occurs when the toes become bent into a position like a claw. Claw toe is sometimes apparent from the moment of an individual's birth. In other cases, the feet become bent at a later point. The problem doesn't tend to be serious by itself, but it often causes discomfort. In addition, it might point to underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or cerebral palsy. Claw foot can get worse if it isn't treated. Because of this, patients should make an appointment with their doctor if they notice the warning signs, as doctors can recommend a treatment option that will help. Doctors may also refer their patients to a podiatrist or orthopedist if the condition is severe. There are quite a few warning signs of claw toe to look for. Get familiar with them now.

Pressure And Pain In The Toes


Claw toe doesn't tend to be serious, but it can cause uncomfortable symptoms, particularly quite a bit of pressure and pain in toes. When a patient has claw toe, their low toe joints typically rise up, and the other joints in the toe bend downward. This makes the toes have the appearance of claws. Patients might have pain in the toes because of the way the toes move when they walk because of the positioning. They might drag along the ground or fail to fit properly in shoes. If a patient has ill-fitting footwear and they suffer from claw toe, the friction from the shoes might also make their toes hurt more. Patients might feel pain similar to cramping.

Corns Or Calluses

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A patient's feet might develop corns or calluses in response to claw foot. If they wear ill-fitting footwear, the friction might cause the development of calluses and corns. Corns can be found between the toes, usually at the joint, and they tend to resemble warts and are often surrounded by inflamed skin. Calluses, on the other hand, are more likely to occur on the soles of the feet or sides of the toes. They form to protect the tissue beneath the skin from becoming injured. These large, irregular, and thick patches of skin don't tend to be painful, though corns can sometimes be painful. Patients will want to make sure their footwear is adequate to help with this symptom. Claw toe is often confused with hammertoe, a condition that tends to be caused by improper footwear. Unlike hammertoe, claw toe is most often caused by an underlying condition.

Toes That Look Like Claws

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The biggest indicator of claw toe is the presence of toes that look like claws, which is where the condition gets its name. Claw toe may look similar to hammertoe, but it is caused by different muscles. With claw toe, as stated, the bottom toe joint will move upward and the other toe joints downward, creating a curved shape that resembles a claw. There are quite a few different things that might contribute to claw toe. It sometimes occurs after an individual sustains an ankle injury or has ankle surgery. If a patient experiences nerve damage, the muscles in their feet may become weaker, causing an imbalance in their weight distribution, which then forces awkward bending of the toes. In addition, inflammation may contribute to the development of claw toe.

Painful Ulcers

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Painful ulcers on the feet can also be associated with claw toe. In many cases, a foot ulcer will be a complication of diabetes, which can cause claw toe as well. With diabetes, the body is either resistant to insulin or doesn't adequately produce insulin, which causes abnormal blood sugar levels. Diabetes has quite a few common complications, one of which is nerve damage in the feet. This damage can lead to foot ulcers and claw toe, which is why when ulcers occur along with claw toe, diabetes should always be considered as an underlying cause. Ulcers form when the skin tissue breaks down and exposes hidden layers beneath. Most commonly, individuals get ulcers in the balls of their feet, and with claw toe, patients might find ulcers under your big toes. It's possible for ulcers to cause problems all the way to the bone of the foot.

Abnormal Gait


Another common issue with claw toe is an abnormal gait, which occurs because the clawed position of the toes makes it difficult for an individual to distribute their weight evenly. It may also make it more difficult for them to balance. In some cases, claw toe was initially caused by abnormal weight distribution. Treatment of claw toe can often help with an abnormal gait. Patients should get in contact with their doctor if they suspect they might have claw toe. If the toes are flexible, a doctor may splint them to make sure they stay in the correct position. With rigid toes, surgery might be recommended. Generally, doctors only recommend surgery if the claw toe is causing significant pain or difficulty walking. It may also be helpful to perform exercises at home.


    HealthPrep Staff