Common toe deformities are hammer toes and claw toes. These involve the lesser toes (2nd through 5th toes). In a hammer toe, the toe is bent at the middle knuckle of the toe, while in a claw toe the
toe is bent at both the middle knuckle and tip of the toe. Claw toe can affect the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. Your forefoot is made up of 4 phalanges (smaller toes) and 1 hallux (big toe).
Your phalanges have 3 bones as well as 3 joints (MTP joint - nearest base of foot, PIP joint ?- middle, and DIP joint - tip of toe); your big toe only has 2 bones and joints. Your midfoot (metatarsal
bones) and hindfoot (tarsal bones) make up your foot arches, instep, heel and ankle; these are responsible for weight bearing and propulsion. Your arches contain bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons
of your foot, which require a lot of stability and flexibility.
People often blame the common foot deformity claw toe on wearing shoes that squeeze your toes, such as shoes that are too short or high heels. However, claw toe also is often the result of nerve
damage caused by diseases like diabetes or alcoholism, which can weaken the muscles in your foot. Having claw toe means your toes "claw," digging down into the soles of your shoes and creating
painful calluses. It causes your MTP joint to bend up, your PIP joint to bend down and your DIP joint to curl under. This often affects all your small toes at one time; however it can affect just
one. It can be flexible (joint has ability to move) or rigid (joint has limited and/or no ability to move).
Failure to treat it can breakdown tissues which affect the way you walk and lead to serious toe, foot, knee, or hip ailments, and/or infection. A claw toe deformity is most seen in people over 65
years of age, the chance of suffering from claw toe increases by 2 - 20% with age. Both men and women are at risk; however women are 5 times more likely to experience it than men.