Claw Toe


Claw toe is often blamed on wearing shoes that squeeze your toes or shoes that are too small or have heels that are too tall. But claw toe is most often caused by nerve damage caused by diseases such as diabetes or alcoholism, which can weaken the muscles in your foot. Having claw toe means that your toes dig down into the soles of your shoes, creating painful calluses. The condition can get worse without treatment and may even become a permanent deformity over time.



Symptoms of claw toe are easy to observe and include:

  • Toes that are bent upward from the joints at the ball of the foot.
  • Toes that are bent downward at the middle joints toward the sole of your shoe.
  • Toes can also bend downward at the top of the joints, curing under the foot.
  • Corns can develop over the top of the toe or under the ball of the foot.

If you have symptoms of claw toe, you will want to see one of the sports doctors at the FHCH Sports Medicine Program. They will evaluate the condition and perform additional testing if required to rule our neurological disorders that can also be responsible for weakening your foot muscles. Trauma and inflammation can also cause claw toe deformities.



Claw toe deformities remain flexible at first, but they harden into place over time. That's why it's important to seek the advice of a doctor early on when it's easier to correct the problem using a splint or tape to hold the toes in their proper positions.

Additional options include:

  • Wearing shoes with soft, roomy toe boxes and avoiding high heels and tight shoes.
  • Stretching your toes and toe joints with your hands toward their normal positions.
  • Exercising your toes by using them to pick up marbles or a crumpled tow on the floor.

If these measures do not help, doctors at the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Sports Medicine Program may recommend foot surgery to correct the issue.

If you have questions about claw toe or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.