Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

a doctor holding a sign that reads Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome (CTS) is an affliction that affects a variety of bird species. This condition, which is also known as toe-binding syndrome, occurs when a bird’s toes or talons become abnormally constricted due to improper trimming, bandaging or other causes. The result can be painful and deformities may occur if left untreated.

The most common symptom of CTS is an inability to walk normally because their toes become bent and twisted. If a bird is suffering from CTS, it can also appear to be in pain and could limp when walking. In severe cases, a bird’s feet can become deformed and their claws could grow into each other.

Macaws and Parrots are most at risk of having constricted toe syndrome. This problem is much more common with younger birds than older birds.

Symptoms of Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

  • Inability to walk normally
  • Painful or uncomfortable walking
  • Limping when walking
  • Deformed feet and claws
  • Overgrown, curved or twisted toes
  • Redness, swelling, or feet inflammation
  • Toe skin thickening

If left untreated, CTS can lead to more serious issues like infection and permanent deformities. If you suspect your bird has CTS, it’s important to get veterinary care as soon as possible.

Stages of Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome (CTS) can be split into three stages: mild, moderate and severe.


In the mild stage, their toes can become bent or twisted, but there is usually no pain or discomfort. Their feet can look slightly deformed and the claws might grow into each other.


In the moderate stage, their toes may become thickened and a slight gap could form between them. The feet might also appear deformed and your bird might limp when walking. In severe cases, their toes can become completely twisted and fused together. Their toes being twisted can cause significant pain and discomfort, as well as permanent deformity if left untreated.


In the severe stage, their toes can become completely fused together, making movement very difficult and painful. The feet might also become deformed, and infection is possible if left untreated.

Diagnosing Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

Diagnosing CTS can be difficult and time consuming. Your veterinarian might need to take multiple x-rays and perform a physical examination to determine the cause of their problem. They could also recommend blood tests to rule out any underlying infections or other medical issues.

Treating Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

Once the underlying cause is determined, a treatment plan will be created for your bird. Depending on the severity of their condition, treatment could involve trimming or filing down their overgrown claws, bandaging their toes to provide support, or even surgery to remove damaged tissue and reset bones. In some cases, antibiotics could be necessary to treat any associated infections.

Preventing Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome

To prevent CTS, it’s important to keep your bird’s nails and claws trimmed regularly. Trimming their nails can help reduce the risk of overgrowth, which can lead to this condition. It’s also important to keep an eye on any bandages or wraps you may use for your bird’s feet, because these can become too tight and cause constriction if not monitored carefully. Finally it’s a good idea to have your bird examined regularly by a veterinarian to ensure early detection and treatment of any issues.

Additional Information

Avian Constricted Toe Syndrome is a painful condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. With proper care and attention, it’s possible to prevent or manage this condition. If you think your bird may be suffering from CTS, it’s important to get veterinary care as soon as possible.