Do you find it difficult finding shoes that don't rub on the top or your toes? We can help.
Hammer, mallet and claw toes are all terms used to categorise the misalignment of the smaller toes of your foot. Depending on which joint is bending will depend on which toe has the issue. This issue usually starts as a soft tissue deformity in your toes, but they can still be easily straightened with a bit of force. However, over time this may lead to a more fixed deformity which is more difficult to address and can begin to impact your quality of life - something as simple as putting on your shoes and going for a walk can become a discomfort.
Try it now... stand up and see if you can straighten your toes? The longer you leave this issue, the harder it will be to resolve, so if you are having difficulty straightening your toes, we encourage you to take action now and have your feet looked at.
Why do I have this problem?
There are many different causes of claw toes:
- Inappropriate footwear:
- Shoes that are too big can lead to your toes clawing to hold the shoe on to your foot;
- or shoes that are too tight can lead to your toes being squished into the end of the shoe
- Nerve changes from diabetes, alcoholism etc may lead to retraction of the toes
- Compensation for biomechanical issues (stabilising the foot, weakness of core foot muscles)
- Bunions often lead to clawing of the 2nd toe
What treatment options will work for me?
Many people attend our clinic initially because they want a painful corn on the toe removed. For immediate relief we remove the corn or callus and use different offloading or cushioning techniques. However if we don't remove the underlying cause of the corn then it will return. Usually this underlying cause is that shoes put pressure on the clawed toe and the body puts down more skin to protect itself.
There are many different treatment options available including both conservation and surgical options. The underlying cause must be addressed in order to properly manage the clawing. Treatment options include:
- Footwear changes
- Removal of corns and padding options
- Strengthening of core foot muscles
- Orthotic therapy
We strongly recommend NOT purchasing corn pads as these can lead to damage of surrounding healthy tissue and damage the very close by structures (bone, tendon) underneath the corn. If conservative therapy doesn't not work then surgery can be explored with a podiatric or orthopaedic surgeon, however this would be seen as a last resort. If you take action to address the issue soon enough, the above treatment options have been shown to have a high success rate.