What is claw foot?
Claw foot is also known as claw toes. It’s a condition in which your toes bend into a claw-like position. Claw foot can appear from birth, or your feet can become bent later on. It’s usually not a serious problem on its own, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as cerebral palsy or diabetes.
Claw toes are sometimes mistakenly referred to as “hammer toes,” but they’re not the same thing. While the two conditions share many similarities, they’re caused by different muscles in your foot.
How common is claw foot?
Claw foot is common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Which signs and symptoms can claw foot usually be associated with?
Related signs and symptoms include:
What causes claw foot?
Causes of claw foot can include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack healthy tissues in your joints. As a result, the lining of your joints becomes inflamed, which can lead to joint deformities.
- Cerebral palsy: This condition can affect your muscle tone, resulting in muscles that are either too stiff or too loose. It can be caused by abnormal brain development before birth or injury during delivery.
- Diabetes: This condition occurs when your body has high levels of blood sugar due to insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production. Nerve damage, especially in your feet, is one of the complications that can result from diabetes.
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: This is a rare inherited disorder that can affect your nervous system. If you have this condition, it can cause weakness in your feet and toe deformities.
- Stroke: This condition occurs when blood stops flowing to an area of your brain due to a blood clot or weak blood vessels. Strokes can cause serious nerve damage and affect your muscles, including muscles in your feet.
Claw foot can develop as a result of several different conditions. For example, you may develop claw foot following ankle surgery or ankle injuries. Nerve damage can weaken your foot muscles, leading to imbalances that force your toes to bend awkwardly. Inflammation can also cause your toes to bend into a claw-like position.
In some cases, the underlying cause of claw foot is never identified.
The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of claw foot. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
What increases my risk for claw foot?
There are many risk factors for claw foot, such as:
- Nerve damages
- Fractures or surgery
Please consult with your doctor for further information.
When to see your doctor
When should I see my doctor?
Call your doctor if your toes show signs of becoming clawed. They may be flexible at first, but they can become permanently stuck in a claw-like position over time. Treatment is necessary to prevent this from happening.
Your doctor will also check for underlying disorders that can cause claw foot, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent serious complications and improve your quality of life.
On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage claw foot?
These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with claw foot:
- If your toes are still flexible, performing regular exercises may help alleviate your symptoms or prevent them from getting worse. For example, your doctor may encourage you to move your toes toward their natural position, using your hands. Picking up objects with your toes may also help.
- Wearing shoes with plenty of room can help alleviate discomfort. Don’t wear shoes that are too tight or shoes with high heels. If your toes are becoming more rigid, look for shoes that have extra depth in the toe area. You can also use a special pad to help take pressure off the ball of your foot.Ask a shoe repair shop to stretch a small pocket in the toe box to accommodate the deformity.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
What Causes Claw Toe? https://www.healthline.com/symptom/claw-toe. Accessed February 15, 2019.
Claw Toe. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/claw-toe/. Accessed February 15, 2019.
Claw foot. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003168.htm. Accessed February 15, 2019.
Review Date: February 15, 2019 | Last Modified: February 15, 2019