Common Problems in the Feet
Some words or phrases carry a distinctly negative connotation. We hear or read them and feel uncomfortable just thinking about them. The phrase “foot deformities” is one of those—we hear it and picture warped and uncomfortable feet. While problems that seriously distort the foot do exist, most of what are considered deformities are common conditions that affect the comfort and mobility of thousands of people every day.
What Are These Deformities?
Foot and ankle problems that affect the position of bones or their connective tissues are considered foot deformities. Most of these problems are very treatable using conservative, noninvasive measures. Dr. Sanjay Patel has years of experience relieving and resolving a number of these issues, carefully approaching each and taking into account your unique needs. Some common problems include:
This bone deformity develops when your big toe becomes displaced inward toward the smaller toes. The metatarsal at its base leans away from the others, so the joint bulges outward, rubbing against footwear and putting extra pressure on the ball of the foot.
Sometimes the tendons and ligaments controlling your toes become unbalanced. The connective tissues on the bottom of the foot tighten and pull on the digit. The toe then curls downward and under into a clawed position. This can occur in any of the small toes and often develops in more than one. If not addressed, this condition can become permanent.
This is usually present at birth. The foot turns sharply inward, like a club. Often the tendons or muscles in the affected foot are shorter on one side than the other, causing the abnormality. With prompt care, the foot can be straightened and the child can learn to walk normally. Left alone, however, the foot will set in the curved position and prevent normal movement.
Another result of tendon imbalance, this causes the middle joint of one or more toes to become stuck in a bent position. Often it results from the toe being cramped in too-tight footwear. The affected joint rubs against shoes and can get stuck if not treated.
Related to hammertoe, this condition causes the top joint of one of the small toes to bend sharply downward and press toward the ground. It also rubs against shoes and causes significant discomfort.
Peroneal Tendon Dislocation/Dysfunction
The peroneal tendons run along the outside of the ankles and pull on the outer edges of the foot. Connective tissue holds them in place. Repeated ankle injuries can tear that connective tissue, allowing the tendons to slip out of position. Movement over the ankle bones irritates them and causes pain on the outside of the ankle and weakness in the foot.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
Your posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of your ankle, connecting to the underside of your arch and helping to hold it in place. If it becomes irritated or torn, it isn’t able to support the inside of the foot, allowing the arch to roll inward. This can lead to painful flattening and instability in the foot.
This is a deformity that develops in teenagers and children. As the foot grows, the tarsal bones begin to fuse together, limiting flexibility and movement. This can cause pain and make it more difficult to walk. It’s important to have this condition examined and treated right away to maintain or restore the foot’s range of motion.
Other common foot deformities exist, too, like flat feet, Haglund’s deformity, hallux limitus (stiff big toe) and rigidus, hallux varus, sesamoiditis, and bone spurs. Some less common ones include amniotic band syndrome, dysplasia, enchondroma, Gordon syndrome, Jackson Weiss syndrome, and osteomyelitis.
The important thing to remember is that pain and changes in the feet and ankles are not normal and can be addressed. You don’t have to live with your discomfort. You can find relief. Contact Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. for an appointment or more information and take care of your lower limbs. Call either of our two convenient office locations—(203) 876-7736 for Milford, or (203) 288-4055 for Hamden—or visit our website contact page to reach us.