What is Claw Foot?
Claw foot is a foot deformity that causes the foot to have a claw-like appearance. It occurs due to a high arch in the forefoot and toes that point downwards. It is also sometimes referred to as claw toes. Patients with claw toes experience bends at the middle and end joints of the toe, as well as deformity to the dorsiflexion muscle at the metatarsal joint.
What Are the Causes of Claw Foot?
Patients with claw toes experience this deformity due to:
- disorders such as diabetes or high alcohol intake
- peripheral neuropathy
- congenital disability
- wearing shoes that are too tight or high
- high arches
- foot rotates inward while walking
- osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis
- Charcot foot
- cerebral palsy
What Are the Symptoms of Claw Foot?
Claw foot or claw toes can result in the following symptoms:
- trouble walking
- pressure on the rest of the toes
- development of corns and calluses on the tops of the toes from constant friction against the footwear
- infections (if left untreated)
- ulcers or open sores (especially in patients with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and poor blood circulation)
What to Expect During Treatment for Claw Foot at the Podiatrist
Regular checkups are key to managing and preventing the worsening of symptoms for patients with claw feet. If you have diabetes or nerve damage, proper foot care, and daily foot exams are recommended. Claw toes are best treated in their early stages when they are still flexible. As time goes on, it's common for claw toes to harden and become difficult to treat without the use of surgical intervention.
Your podiatrist may recommend one or several forms of treatment such as:
- proper footwear with wide toe boxes and good arch support custom-fitted orthotics shoe inserts and padded insoles physical therapy to strengthen foot muscles
- surgical treatment—if the pain is severe and other forms of treatment have not worked.
- lengthening of tendon
- shortening of bone
- insertion of steel pin to correct toe alignment