Claw toe, also called claw foot, is a deformity that causes toes to bend upward or downward at a joint. The bottom part of the toe bends up from the joints at the ball of the foot, whereas the top part or tip of the toe bends down from the middle joints, taking on the resemblance of an animal’s claw.
Claw toe can be congenital, or it can result from nerve damage due to injuries or diseases such as alcoholism, diabetes, or strokes. It can also happen from arthritis or cerebral palsy. Corns or calluses may develop if footwear rubs against the protruding parts of the bent toes.
Claw toe is best treated when symptoms first arise and the toes are still flexible. Treatment can involve stretching and using the affected toes to keep them limber, as well as splinting or taping the toes in proper position. If you suspect you have claw toe, see your doctor right away.