Claw toes are a result from the toes clawing and gripping down at the tips, they are bent down in the middle and up from the ball of the foot joints along with retracted tendons on the top of the foot. Claw toes and tight tendons can be a symptom of the muscles in the foot working hard to try to stabilize the feet during gait due to unbalanced foot mechanics and are common with either pronated (flat) feet or supinated (high arched) feet. The tops and tips of a clawed toe are more at risk of pressure related corns and callus.
Clawing and retraction can also be a symptom of nerve damage in conditions such as diabetes. Treatment options include corn and callus removal, toe padding and exercises to stretch the tendons and footwear advice.
Children can grip with their toes when standing and walking and this can often be an early sign of an unbalanced and unstable foot. Orthotic therapy can be indicated for both adults and children to stabilize the feet and remove the need for toes to grip and ease or prevent tendons tightening and retracting.