What are claw toes?

Claw occur when the muscles in the foot pull the smaller toes into the floor. This happens when some of the longer muscles from the leg pull more than the smaller muscles in the foot. It can also happen after an injury to the tendons in the foot. This problem usually does not affect the big toe but can happen to the four smaller toes. Often the second toe is the worst-affected.

Claw toes can make fitting into tight shoes uncomfortable.

Claw toes can cause problems if:

  • the top of the toes rub against the shoes
  • the tips of the toes jam into the soles of the shoes
  • there are changes to the joints at the base of the toes

Are ‘claw toes’ different than ‘hammer toes’?

The names ‘claw toes’ and ‘hammer toes’ are often used to mean the same thing. The main difference between these two problems is the position of the joint at the base of the toes.

What can I do about my claw toes?

Most problems caused by claw toes can be treated with the right footwear and by protecting any bony areas from too much pressure and irritation.