Clawed Toes: Orthotics and Conservative Treatments
Dr. Julien Lopez specializes in the management of clawed toes, orthotics, and other conservative treatments.
Clawed Toe: Treatment and Definition
Discover what clawed toe really is and the possible treatments to better understand this deformity.
A clawed toe is a deformity of the forefoot in which the affected toe bends downward, and the toe joints deform to form a claw shape.
Most clawed toes develop spontaneously over time, with the deformity gradually progressing due to tendon retraction and imbalance.
Clawed toes or hammer toes can also result from a nerve condition such as peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves controlling the muscles of the feet and legs. People affected may experience pain, numbness, or tingling in the foot, as well as difficulty walking normally. Treatment for clawed toe may involve muscle-strengthening exercises, shoe orthotics, or surgical interventions to correct the toe's position. It's important to consult a healthcare professional if you experience clawed toe symptoms, as it may be a sign of an underlying medical issue requiring immediate attention.
Clawed Toe: Customized Natural Treatment for Each Patient
To relieve clawed toe, a customized natural treatment is implemented.
Dr. Lopez specializes in treating forefoot pathologies, hindfoot issues, and sports-related injuries. Regardless of the foot condition you're experiencing, the surgeon will support you throughout the entire treatment process, from the initial consultation to achieving a pain-free and functional foot.
Because each patient is unique, Dr. Lopez adapts his approach and treatment techniques to provide the most suitable solution for each individual. Every foot condition is a unique combination of physical factors, including foot shape, medical history, walking abnormalities, and chronic illnesses. The surgeon takes all these factors into account to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. If necessary, Dr. Lopez may also adjust his techniques based on the patient's condition or response to treatment. This approach ensures the correction of the deformity and full recovery in the majority of cases.
The Importance of Early Management for Non-Surgical Correction of Clawed Toes
Non-surgical correction of clawed toes is only considered if the deformity is managed early with mild clawing.
Early management of the condition is crucial to improve healing chances and prevent potential complications. Early symptoms are often easier to treat, and treatments can be more effective before the condition progresses. Therefore, it's important to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you experience symptoms such as foot pain, stiffness, friction when wearing shoes, walking problems, or foot deformities. Early intervention, whether medical or surgical, can not only improve treatment outcomes but also reduce costs and recovery time associated with managing the condition.
In cases of mild deformity, Dr. Lopez may recommend non-surgical treatment for a clawed toe to halt or slow down the deformity. In contrast, for more advanced cases, the doctor may suggest percutaneous clawed toe surgery.
Orthotics for Clawed Toes to Slow Down Deformation
Orthotics for clawed toes are one of the many conservative treatments available.
Indeed, for patients with clawed toe deformities, conservative treatment is often the first step.
In cases of conflict between the foot and shoes, the foot can be adjusted to the shoe. Alternatively, the shoe can be adjusted to the foot by choosing soft, wide, and comfortable shoes. Narrow or high-heeled shoes should be avoided as they can worsen symptoms and cause additional pain for the patient.
In some cases, the use of orthopedic shoes may be recommended (for advanced clawing with surgical contraindication).
Dr. Lopez may also refer you to a podiatrist for the non-surgical treatment of clawed toe. This healthcare professional is invaluable in the non-surgical treatment of clawed toes. Care provided by the podiatrist, such as corn and callus removal, can often significantly relieve painful symptoms.
There are off-the-shelf orthotics available for clawed toes at pharmacies.
The podiatrist can also create custom orthopedic appliances, such as clawed toe orthotic insoles, foot orthotics, or splints to better distribute pressure.
Clawed toe insoles help distribute pressure on the forefoot. It's important not to use overly thick insoles that could compress the foot in the shoe. These clawed toe orthotics also act as protection against pressure and friction.
Silicone orthotics or nighttime splints for clawed toes can be used to partially reduce the deformity, but they are more effective for flexible toes. Foot orthotics for clawed toes and all these appliances may not completely eliminate the deformity but can slow its progression and reduce the patient's pain.
Dr. Lopez may also refer you to a physiotherapist to initiate a clawed toe rehabilitation program. Physiotherapy sessions aim to maintain joint flexibility by reducing musculoskeletal tension. The exercises typically involve stretching the toes through flexion and extension movements. These rehabilitation exercises help maintain toe flexibility and strengthen the muscles. They can also significantly reduce the pain caused by the deformity and sometimes even reduce the deformity itself if it's flexible at the beginning of treatment.
These exercises can be done at home 3 to 5 times a week for about ten minutes.
In case conservative treatment fails, Dr. Lopez will discuss minimally invasive foot surgery and the expected results with you.