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Claw toe is evident when the metatarsophalangeal joint dorsiflexes and only subsequently is there flexion of the proximal and distal interphalangeal joint. It is very often found in association with Pes Cavus or “hollow foot” due to a probable imbalance between the extensor muscles and the toe flexors.
As with hammer toe, the consequence of this deformation is the end of the toe being bent excessively downwards, or the formation of corns due to the inter-phalangeal joints rubbing against the shoe. Often the outer toes are affected.
Dorsiflexion of the metatarsophalangeal joint can often become quite extreme and if left untreated can lead to a dislocation of the joint and permanent loss of the relationship between the base of the 1st phalanx and the head of the corresponding metatarsal.
First line therapy consists of correcting the deformation of the toe, slowing down the illness and preventing it from progressing. The use of personalised corrective/protective orthoses will provide the patient with benefits and relief. When the use of comfortable shoes, silicone orthoses or other devices to protect the painful area affected do not remedy the problem, the next option is percutaneous surgery which will cure claw toe by means of carrying out small osteotomies (the bone is cut to shorten, lengthen or modify its alignment).
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