Medically reviewed & written by Dr. Neha Sawant (PT) — Research Associate Masters in Neurophysiotherapy

Medically reviewed & written by Dr. Jude Dsouza (PT) — Research Associate Masters in Neurophysiotherapy

Claw Toes



A claw toe is a deformity that causes the toes to bend (at the middle and end joints in the toe) and can result in severe pressure and pain. Tightness of ligaments and tendons cause the joints of the toes to curl downwards. Claw toes may be seen in all toes, except the big toe. There is discomfort at the top of the bent toes as it is rubbing against the shoe and at the end of the toe that is pushed against the bottom of the shoe.

Claw toes are classified based on the joint mobility and are of two types – flexible and rigid. In a flexible claw toe, the joint is able to move and this type of claw toe can be straightened manually. A rigid claw toe does not have enough mobility and movement can be extremely painful. The pain and friction propagates the development of corns and calluses.



Claw toes result from imbalance in muscles which cause the ligaments and tendons to become stiff. This results in the joints curling downwards. Claw toes can be also seen in many conditions example arthritis, stroke etc.


Treatment and Prevention



footwear modification and foot exercises are essential in treatment of claw toes. The shoes should have wide toe box (toe area) which can accommodate the claw toes and reduce the friction against the toes. Other treatments include using orthosis designed to reduce claw toes, such as Gel toe shields and gel toe caps, toe crests and toe splints.


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