Whether you were born with a foot deformity like Club Foot or developed a bunion or hammertoe slowly overtime, we can help!
The healthy structure of a human foot allows us to balance our body weight when we stand and walk in an upright posture. Our feet are made up of a unique combination of hard and soft tissues, which include the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. These structures keep everything in its place and keep the foot stable and flexible to carry out different movements.
However, certain factors can lead to the disturbance of these structures resulting in foot deformities. There are seven common forms of foot deformities, some of which may develop from environmental factors, and the others may be present from birth.
Bunions are the hard bony protrusions or lumps that form on the side of the big toe. The enlargement of this bony lump starts to cause the foot's big toe to lean inwards and point towards the other toes over time. This causes pain around the base and sides of the feet, which worsens as the individual walks or wears tight shoes. Even though a procedure like Lapiplasty is the most common definitive treatment for Bunions, the initial therapy may be more focused on slowing down the progression of bunions and reducing their associated pain.
Equinius foot is another form of foot deformity which is associated with a downwards tilting of the foot, preventing the heels from touching the ground. This means when an individual with Equinusfoot stands up or walks, only the front or middle half of their foot is touching the ground, while the heel stays in the air. Individuals at the greatest risk for Equinus foot include those with brain injury, recent ankle injury, or bedridden for a long time. Treatment for this condition includes a recommendation of night splints, heel lifts, arch support devices, and regular physical therapy.
The base of the foot in a typical foot structure is slightly arched upwards. However, individuals with a flat foot have a flatter arch, which is why this condition is also known as a fallen arch. Due to the flat arch, every time these individuals walk, their foot's front, middle, and heel touch the ground. While they may pose no immediate pain or discomfort, over the years, individuals with flat feet may encounter pain while putting weight on their feet. Therefore, the doctor may recommend arch support of orthotic devices, supportive shoes, stretching exercises, and physical therapy for the management of flat foot.
Pronated feet are a foot deformity that characterizes the heel of the foot leaning inwards. This condition is most commonly seen in individuals with flat feet and arises in childhood. Similar to flat feet, the painful symptoms associated with the deformity may not be evident from the start but develop after several years. Individuals with pronated feet may be recommended to use overpronation shoes, which act as a supportive or motion control system. Patients are also advised to lose weight through exercise and diet changes.
Hammertoe, as the name suggests, is a condition affecting the toe rather than the entire foot. This deformity affects the second toes of feet and is characterized by the toe joint taking a hammer shape. Claw toe is a similar condition where the toes bend downwards and take the form of a claw. In its early stages, when the toe is still flexible, the doctor may suggest switching to a more broad and comfortable footwear that includes supportive inserts. Patients may also be recommended stretching exercises to strengthen the toe muscles. When the conservative treatments remain ineffective, the doctor may advise surgery to release the tendon keeping the toe from lying flat.
Individuals with high arch feet have arches that are higher than those seen in normal feet. This also causes theupper surface of the feet to be more arched, causing the toes and balls of the feet to carry the majority of the weight. Over time, excessive pressure on this area causes skin thickening and callus formation. Some individuals may also encounter significant pain every time they walk. The conservative treatment options for high arch feet include wearing ankle braces, getting shoe inserts, or undergoing regular physical therapy. However, when these fail to work, the patient may be recommended to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Individuals with club feet have their feet shaped in such a way that they can only stand on the outer edges of their feet. This is because the foot itself starts to bend inwards and downwards, which can lead to significant pain in walking. Individuals with this foot condition are usually born with it due to a lack of development of certain muscles during pregnancy. The treatment of this condition may start as early as 7 to 14 days after the baby is born. The primary treatment method for clubfoot is known as the Ponseti method, which is repeated every week for at least eight weeks.
External factors like injuries or diseases can cause foot deformities or be present at birth due to a lack of development of some of the structural foot elements during pregnancy. The external factors for foot deformities may not only include injuries or diseases that may lead to an immediate deformity, but it may also include factors like wearing tight footwear that may lead to a deformity over time. The diseases that may lead to foot deformities include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and certain brain diseases.
Internal factors which may play a role other than developmental problems during pregnancy include genes of the individual, which may predispose them to injuries. In addition, specific individuals have weaker connective tissues as compared to others, which would put them at a greater risk for foot deformities after minor trauma.
Yes! Foot deformities may affect how an individual stands or walks and may also be associated with significant pain and discomfort if left untreated. The change in posture and weight distribution on foot may also lead to skin changes in areas under more considerable stress. As a result, the skin of the weight-bearing regions becomes thick and hard and may also be associated with pressure sores and calluses.
The unequal and unbalanced weight distribution on foot also has an impact on the muscles and tendons, which may become inflamed and undergo a tear. Moreover, over time, the foot deformity may also affect the surrounding structures, including the legs, hips, and back, due to the postural changes associated with it. This is why it is imperative to get any form of foot deformity evaluated by a doctor, no matter how minor it may seem.
Get your Foot Deformities treated at Signature Foot & Ankle in Loxahatchee, Florida now!
If your foot deformity is causing you distress, pain, and discomfort every time you walk, you might want to get it checked as soon as possible. It is essential to seek medical intervention for a foot deformity as early as possible to prevent it from getting worse and improve the chances of successful treatment.
We are looking forward to helping you with all your foot and ankle-related needs!