The term "claw foot" is generally accepted to mean a foot with exaggerated arch, prominent metatarsals and hammer toe, with corns on the toes, and callosites on the sole of the foot over the distal end of the metatarsals.
The cause of this deformity may be either a limit to dorsal flexion, or an impairment of the intrinsic muscles of the foot from paralysis, or both. In cases in which there is only a limit of dorsal flexion — "muscle bound feet" — especially in children, a marked change in the position of the tarsals, metatarsals and toes may be prevented from developing by a restoration of freedom in dorsal flexion. In cases in which a gross change has taken place in the position of the tarsals and metatarsals, with shortening of the plantar structures, exaggerated arch and hammer toe, a much more complicated problem is encountered. The shortening of