Monday, 25 May 2015

Getting Claw Toes Treated

Claw toe is one of the most common foot diseases that people suffer from. This condition is triggered by wearing shoes that squeeze your toes. Wearing extremely high heels is also a reason of developing claw toes. This condition often occurs as a result of nerve damage that is caused by alcoholism or diabetes. Apart from weakening the muscles of your feet, claw toes also causes unbearable pain. If left untreated, it can get worse and may also cause permanent deformity.

What are the symptoms?

There are certain symptoms that can tell whether you are suffering from claw toes or not. These include if your toes are bent downward or upward at the middle joints or at the ball of the foot. Sometimes, corns may develop either under the balls of the foot or over the top of the toe.

What are the causes?

This condition can be caused by cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, brain and nervous system disorders, any kind of ankle surgery or fracture, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Wearing a shoe that is too tight for your feet may also lead to claw toes. If you wear pointed shoes, the situation may get even worse. In case you wear pointed shoes with high heels, the foot will get constantly pushed downwards to a wall, which may cause severe pain and eventually lead to claw toes.

How to treat claw toes?

Although claw toes get cured normally in case they are at the initial stage, they might gradually turn out to be extremely hard in some cases. In the initial stage, it's advisable to use a tape or splint to hold the toes in the correct position. Additionally, you should make sure to wear shoes with roomy and soft toe boxes.

It’s important to wear the appropriate shoes for any activity that you may be involved in. Some foot doctors may recommend using non-medicated hammer toe pads that fit around your toe joint’s pointed top and help ease painful pressure.

To relive pain and swelling caused by claw toes, you can gently massage the affected area or apply ice packs wrapped in cloth.

Exercising and stretching your toes will help combat the condition. Try crumpling a towel laid flat on the floor or consider picking up marbles with your toes.

Surgical methods

If a claw toe doesn't get cured with the non-surgical methods, surgery is often recommended. The usual procedure followed for curing this ailment is called arthroplasty. This refers to the process of replacement or reconstruction of a joint. There are different types of surgery procedures followed to cure claw toes, which include: 

  • PIP Joint arthroplasty – It is performed on the PIP joint. In this process, an incision is made over the joint.
  • DIP Joint arthroplasty – It is suggested mainly for correcting hammer toe. This method is performed through a small incision on top of the toe over the DIP joint.
  • MTP Joint arthroplasty – Foot doctors recommend this method when it becomes difficult to cure claw toes with other methods. This is performed by making an incision over the MTP joint.
After the surgical methods are performed, patients are usually advised to wear a post-op shoe with a wooden and stiff sole that prevents the foot from bending.
So, the moment you notice any symptoms of claw toes or experience pain in the toe joints, consult a foot doctor immediately.