The claw toe is a common deformity of the toes where the middle region of one or more toes gets an excessive upward protrusion. The claw toe may be genetic, a result of a disease, surgery, or due to something as simple as wearing tight shoes. Understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment for this condition can help you identify it and work towards finding a solution for this unsightly condition that causes discomfort too.


  • Inherited predisposition to acquiring the condition
  • Diseases such as arthritis
  • Constant inflammation of the toes
  • An ankle injury
  • A foot or an ankle surgery
  • Constant inflammation of the toes
  • Wearing high heels or tight shoes
  • Nerve damage to the feet Trauma


  • Flexed toes, that is, toes bent towards the floor starting from the middle joint.
  • Extended toes, that is, toes bent upwards from the ball of the foot
  • Toes going downwards at the top joint
  • Prominent corns at the toes or the ball
  • Discomfort while putting shoes on
  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Swelling at the toe joint

Treatment – A claw toe is quite curable in its initial stages but gets increasingly rigid over time and consequently harder to cure.

If your condition is just in the very initial stages you can begin taking preventive methods by trying to wear soft cushiony shoes and exercising the toes. You could also stretch the toes to their original position using your hands for a fixed period of time on a regular basis which will restore them to the correct position and help heal the injury.

If the pain is constantly present and you have discomfort in walking you should visit an ankle surgeon who will recommend a cure based on the extent of damage you have already incurred.

If the injury is still in its early phase and your toes are flexible, the foot injury surgeon may suggest using tapes or splints at first to help you hold the toes in their actual position.

If however, the damage is extensive, surgery might be needed to achieve a permanent comfortable solution. Surgery is kept as the last resort and only recommended in severe cases. The surgeon might also prescribe pain killers if necessary and give instructions about the recovery period after the surgery.