Winter came early this year, and some places around the country have been hit hard by snow and wintery conditions. Thankfully we haven’t seen those extremes here. Even Texas, though, has felt a bit of an early chill that may have you choosing warm, closed-toed footwear. When you do, be sure to wear shoes that can accommodate any toe problems, like claw toes. Shoes can actually be a factor that makes toe issues worse.
You develop claw toes for a variety of reasons. Often the deformity develops as the result of a nerve condition. Nerve damage from an injury or a systemic condition like cerebral palsy or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease can lead to the problem. Rheumatoid arthritis can damage the joints and bend the digits abnormally. Injuries like fractures may weaken the tendons or nervous tissue and lead to clawing as well.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be related to nerve damage. Shoes that are too tight pinch the toes and strain the tendons. If your digits are consistently squished, the tendons may grow imbalanced, with one side shortening and tightening. This causes your toes to become stuck in the bent position.
The sooner you address whatever is causing or contributing to your claw toes, the easier it will be to eliminate the problem and relieve the discomfort. This may mean investing in more care for neurological problems, as well as accommodating the deformity in your feet. A few treatments work best for reducing the discomfort:
Roomy Shoes – Wear styles that are long, wide, and deep enough for your toes to wiggle without feeling cramped. They shouldn’t rub against the fabric of your footwear, either.
Stretching – Since stiff, shortened tendons can play a role, stretch out your toes to relax the tightened tissues.
Exercising – Toe exercises work the appropriate muscles and supporting tissues to keep them mobile and functioning properly. This also helps combat imbalances that lead to clawing.
Pads or Orthotics – These can help control abnormal biomechanics and adjust how your body weight is distributed to relieve pressure on your toes.
Claw toes can become a permanent problem if allowed to progress and grow fixed. Don’t let your feet control your comfort. Take care of your toes and maintain your mobility and independence. Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, can help. Call (281) 497-2850 or use the website request page to make an appointment with us.