Claw toe is caused by nerve damage and weakened muscles in the foot. This damage is usually due to diseases like diabetes or alcoholism, and results in a claw-like foot with the toes arching downward into the soles of the feet, or upward away from the soles. This deformation can cause painful calluses and corns to develop on the top of the toes and on the ball of the foot. If not treated, it can become permanent. Claw toe is most effectively treated in its early development, when splints or tape can be used to keep the toes in the correct position. Lifestyle adjustments such as switching shoes and wearing shoe inserts are also recommended. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to fix the deformation and prevent further damage from occurring.