Claw Toe

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Although claw toe can result from shoes that confine the toes, this foot problem can also be a byproduct of certain health conditions. The deformity of claw toe manifests from the toe bending in such a way that it often resembles a bird’s claw. The good news is that the condition is treatable.

At OrthoAspen, our foot and ankle specialists help devise the best solution to address symptoms associated with claw toe. We strive to ensure that all of our patients have an exceptional, high-quality experience with each and every visit.

Causes & Symptoms

Claw toe is a result of the toe bending upward from the joint at the ball of the foot, and downward at the joints in the middle—the tip of the toe-curling under the foot. It’s not uncommon for hard, thick skin called corns to develop under the ball of the foot or on the top of the affected toe.

In addition to wearing high-heeled shoes or the wrong type of shoes, claw toe may be present at birth or acquired later due to other disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cerebral palsy or brain injury.

Symptoms of claw toe include:

  • Toes that bend upward from the joints at the ball of the foot
  • Toes that bend downward at the middle joints (near the sole of the shoe)
  • Toes that bend downward at the top joints (curl under the foot)
  • Toes that form over top of another toe or beneath the ball of the foot

At OrthoAspen, our fellowship trained foot and ankle orthopedic specialist will conduct a physical examination to determine the presence of claw toe. Additional diagnostic tests may be ordered to determine the severity of the conditions and to rule out other nerve disorders that can weaken muscles in the foot.


Whenever possible, your OrthoAspen physician will attempt to treat claw toe utilizing conservative methods, which include:

  • Stretching of the toe and toe joints routinely
  • Wearing soft, comfortable shoes with a broader toe box
  • Splinting or taping the toes to align them in the correct position

Surgical options will only be discussed if conservative treatments are unsuccessful in relieving symptoms.

No matter what option your OrthoAspen orthopedic specialist recommends for claw toe, you can rest assured knowing we will always pursue the safest, most effective solution to addressing uncomfortable and painful symptoms.

If you would like to request an appointment, simply click here to get started, or call us at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400