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Mallet toe / Retracted toe / Claw toe treatment

Clawed toes
Clawed Toes
How do you treat a mallet toe/retracted toe / claw toe?

Please refer to the previous questions, What are claw toes and how are they formed.

Obviously, no matter which of these factors is the cause of your clawed toes, the fit of your shoes is vital to your comfort.  Short court shoes that cover only your toes and leave the instep naked are the worst style to choose as the shoe has nowhere to hang on to you except your toes.  A shoe that fits well around your instep will stop your foot from sliding forward into the toebox of the shoe when you are walking downhills or downstairs.  Further, a shoe that is well fitted around the instep will stay on without needing your toes to bunch up to ‘hang on’ to the shoe.

Apart from shoes,  there is often a mechanical reason for the toes to claw and this can be directly addresses by a podiatrist. The most common example of this is an overpronated / rolled in foot that causes the shin muscle to have too much work to do.  This in turn can cause the long muscles on the top of the foot to pitch in to help, clawing the toes in the process. An orthotic support can be made to reduce the shin muscles job to a more normal level that will stop the long toe muscles having to do this abnormal job. More can be done mechanically to help a toe that is still able to be straightened out rather than one that is already locked into an arthritic clawed position, so don’t delay in seeking help.

Corns are best treated by a visit to your podiatrist who will trim them away painlessly. Protective devices such as silicon gel sleeves are available and have a varied amount of success, dependent on the cause of the problem. It is very important not to puncture a fluid filled sack on the top of a clawed joint (called a bursa), as you might do if you thought is was a blister, as bursae have poor resistance to infection and can be painful and difficult to treat if irritated.

To view this group of Q&As about claw toes as a single document  in downloadable and  printable format, please browse to out Claw Toes Info Sheet. Alternatively, use this link to return to out Podiatry FAQs Blog.

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