Claw Toe

Claw Toe Specialist in Kansas City, MO

What is Claw Toe?

Claw toe is a common deformity of the toes, that presents as abnormal bending of the joints in the middle and end of the toe. This condition normally affects the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes leading to a claw-like appearance where the toes are bent downward at the end joint. Claw toes can make it difficult to walk, and find proper footwear. Ill-fitting shoes can worsen the condition and lead to additional problems and pain.

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What causes Claw Toe?

Claw toe can be caused by an untreated injury to the foot, nerve damage such as a stroke, or the cause can be genetic, meaning it’s inherited. Claw toe can also be caused by arthritis or other conditions such as polio or cerebral palsy.  In some instances, they may be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem.

What are the symptoms of Claw Toe?

The most obvious symptom of claw toe is the clawed appearance of the second, third, fourth, and fifth toe, with your toes bent downward into the soles of your feet. Other symptoms are:

  • Pain and discomfort, especially wearing shoes or walking/standing for long periods of time.
  • Tightness and limited range of motion
  • Muscle weakness as the affected muscles weaken over time, contributing to the deformity and making it harder to control the position of the foot and toes.

How is Claw Toe Diagnosed?

Your foot doctor will perform a physical assessment of the appearance of the toes and their range of motion. They’ll also inquire about your medical history and symptoms to determine the underlying cause of the condition. Your doctor may order X-rays to assess the severity of the deformity and rule out other potential causes.

Treatments of Claw Toe:

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and if your physician suspects any specific underlying cause. Common treatment methods are:

  • Physical therapy and specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles of the toes and improve your range of motion.
  • Wear appropriate footwear with a wider toe box to alleviate pressure on the toes and reduce pain. It’s important to avoid wearing high heels and ill-fitting shoes.
  • Orthotic devices such as custom-made inserts provide additional support and cushioning to the toes, for pain relief and to keep the toes in alignment.
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend splinting or taping the affected toes to encourage them to straighten.
  • Manage any underlying conditions that could contribute to claw toe like nerve disorders or arthritis

If you’re experiencing symptoms of claw toe, you should seek prompt medical attention to receive early intervention and prevent the condition from worsening. Surgical intervention may be necessary if the deformity is severe. Surgical options include:

  • Releasing tight tendons
  • Fusing the joints
  • Realigning the bones of the foot/toe

Claw Toe Care in Kansas City

Call Orthopedic Health of Kansas City to schedule an appointment with one of our foot specialists in Kansas City if you’re experiencing the symptoms of claw toe. We will make sure you get back on your feet and back to enjoying the things you love. We serve patients from Kansas City, MO, Lenexa, KS, and Independence, MO.