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    Claw foot

    Claw toes

    Claw foot is a deformity of the foot. The toejoint nearest the ankle is bent upward and the other toe joints are bent downward. The toe looks like a claw.

    Considerations

    Claw toes present at birth (congenital). Thecondition can also can develop later in life because of other disorders (acquired). Claw toes may be caused by a nerve problem in the legs ora spinal cord problem. The cause is unknown in many cases.

    Claw toes are not usually harmful in themselves.They may be the first sign of a more serious disease of the nervous system.

    Claw toes may cause pain and lead tocalluseson the top of the toe over the first joint, but may also be painless. The condition may createproblems wearing shoes.

    Causes

    • Ankle fractures or surgery
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
    • Other brain and nervous system disorders
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call yourhealth care provider if you think you may be getting claw toes.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will do an exam tocheck for muscle, nerve, and spine problems. The physical examination will probably include extra attention to the feet and hands.

    You will be asked questions about your condition such as:

    • When did you first notice this?
    • Is it getting worse?
    • Does it affect both feet?
    • Do you have other symptoms at the same time?
    • Do you have any abnormal feelingsin your feet?
    • Do any other family members have the same condition?

    The abnormal shape of the toe can increase pressure and cause calluses or ulcers on your toes. You may need to wear special shoes to ease pressure. Claw toes can also be treated surgically.

    References

    Wang D. Claw toe. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 78.

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    • Claw foot

      illustration

      • Claw foot

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Claw foot

            Review Date: 1/17/2013

            Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang

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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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