What is a claw toe?
A claw toe is contracted at the PIP and DIP joints (middle and end joints in the toe), which can lead to severe pressure and pain. Tightened ligaments and tendons cause the toe’s joints to curl downwards. Claw toes may occur in any toe except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe that rubs against the shoe, and at the end of the toe that is pressed against the bottom of the shoe.
Claw toes are classified as flexible or rigid, based on the mobility of the toe joints. In a flexible claw toe, the joint has the ability to move and can be straightened manually. In a rigid claw toe, movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This restricted movement can lead to extra stress at the ball of the foot, possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.
What causes a claw toe?
Claw toes result from a muscle imbalance, which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joints curling downwards. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including claw toes.
How do you treat and prevent claw toes?
Changing the type of footwear worn is a very important step in the treatment of claw toes. When choosing a shoe, make sure the toe box is high and broad and the uppers are made of soft leather or flexible materials to accommodate the claw toes. A shoe with a high, broad toe box will provide enough room in the forefoot area so there is less friction against the toes.
Other conservative treatments include using forefoot products to relieve claw toes, such as toe crests and hammer toe splints. These devices will help hold down the claw toe and provide relief to the forefoot. Gel toe shields and gel toe caps are also recommended to eliminate friction between the shoe and the toe, while providing comfort and lubrication.
If the problem persists, consult your doctor. Your Fit Specialist at Stan’s will advise you on appropriate footwear for your condition.
Courtesy of foot.com