The podiatrists at the Foot and Ankle Associates, Inc. has compiled a list of their most frequently asked questions in response to the large number of patients who need help with foot and ankle pain, treatment and overall health in Northern New Mexico. If you are facing issues with any of these subjects, read on to learn how to protect your mobility and quality of life.
What is clawfoot? Is it serious? What are my risks?
If you look at a cat’s paw, you’ll notice that its knuckles are unusually bent. The first knuckle (top knuckle) is slightly higher than the curvature of his foot and the second knuckle (the one that has the claw) is also bent upward.
For felines, this anatomy of the toe is extremely important. Both knuckles are elevated to brace the elastic tendon that controls the cat’s ability to protract (lengthen) and contract (pull in) its claws. If the tendons were secured lower on the feet, the cat’s claws would drag while walking, limiting his agility.
Now, you may be wondering what this learning opportunity has to do with human feet? Well, a foot deformity known as clawfoot (or claw toes), causes the knuckles of the inflicted to behave in much the same manner. However, unlike cats, a clawfoot deformity will not give you increased mobility or agility. In fact, it will give you the exact opposite—difficulty walking, decreased balance, and considerable discomfort.
Claw toes may be present at birth, but they can also develop later in life as a result of other acquired disorders and injuries. A condition where your toes bend into a claw-like position, this type of deformity occurs when the bottom half of your toe contorts upward while the top half pushes downward. The resulting curvature makes your toes resemble a cat’s paw or claws. The very top of your toe might curve under as well.
Besides the obvious misshapen positioning of the toes, clawfoot can also trigger additional symptoms like these:
Pain. Toes will often cramp, and the irregular shape can cause shoes to fit improperly.
Corns and calluses. Painful corns and calluses can develop as a result of abrasive rubbing from shoes and footwear on the parts that stick up or out.
Psychological distress. In some cases, claw foot does not cause any pain. However, the embarrassment over the contortion of the toes can lead to anxiety problems and depression.
Clawfeet are uncomfortable, but with proper treatment, they aren’t necessarily a serious problem—that is, unless they are caused by an underlying disorder like a stroke or diabetes. However, clawfoot does require medical attention to stop the condition from worsening or becoming permanent.
If you suspect you have claw foot, make an appointment with us today. InMotion Foot and Ankle Center has been helping people in your community walk taller, prouder, and healthier for over four decades. Isn’t it time our exceptionally experienced podiatrists helped you? Schedule your appointment now by calling 505-982-0123.
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