A claw toe is when your toe bends downward at both joints, the one closest to you, and the one farthest from you. The toe also bends upwards where it attaches to your foot, giving a resemblance of an animal claw. Claw toes are due to a muscle imbalance between the tendons of the top of the toe and the bottom of the toe. This can be hereditary in nature. You may have been born with a foot structure that promotes this condition. Trauma injury to the toes an also result in claw toes.
Certain arthritic processes can also result in claw toes, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis. Certain neuromuscular diseases can also cause a claw toe, namely diabetes, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and a stroke.
Claw toes are quite painful, in that they are difficult to fit into shoes. We often see irritation at the top and the tip of the toe, as well the ball of the foot. We get pain in the ball of the foot because the pressure is pushed backwards from the toe onto the ball of the foot and it can become quite painful.