A claw toe is bent at both the middle and end joints and curled downward like a claw with a muscle deformity at the metatarsal phalangeal joint.

Claw toes may be caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes, but are often the result of nerve damage caused by diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or foot and ankle trauma that weakens the muscles in the foot.

Aside from the visible deformity, claw toe can cause corns or calluses to develop on the affected toe. This is a result of the toe rubbing against the shoe or neighboring toes, and can make it difficult to find comfortable shoes. In more severe cases, the toes may be bent so rigidly that it affects one’s balance and ability to walk.

The foot and ankle team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group can help you find relief from claw toes. In the early stages, tape or splints may be recommended to hold your toes in their proper positions, accompanied by exercises to recondition and strengthen your toe muscles.

Treatment for more advanced stages of claw toe may include custom orthotics to redistribute pressure along your feet and toes. If conservative treatment does not provide relief, surgical intervention may be considered.