Feet come in all shapes and sizes. Big and small, wide and narrow, high and low—your feet are truly as unique as you are!
But there’s a downside, too. Your feet have a very specific job to do, and the unfortunate reality is that not all feet do it equally well. Whether it’s the result of genetics, injuries, or just wear and tear, foot deformities can gradually develop and worsen over time.
If you notice bones, joints, or toes becoming misaligned, don’t wait for them to start hurting before you contact our office! Early intervention with conservative treatment options can often help you avoid substantial pain and eventual surgery.
Common Foot Deformities
Examples of common foot deformities we see and treat at our Lee’s Summit podiatry office include:
- Bunions. In this condition, two main things happen. One, your biggest toe is gradually pulled out of alignment, with the tip of the toe moving toward the other digits. Two, a prominent, bony bump forms on the side of your foot, at the base of the toe joint. In very serious bunions, the great toe may become very stiff from arthritis, or even cross over the second toe.
- Hammertoes, mallet toes, and claw toes. These related conditions all feature toes that get “stuck” in a bent position at one or more of their joints. At first, you can usually still manipulate the toes with your fingers. In time, however, the digits become much more rigid and painful.
- Flat feet and high arches. Arches are designed to help you cushion the weight of your steps, as well as put a “spring” in each step when you push off. Arches that are too low or high, however, may tire easily and lead to pain when walking or running. Congenital bone defects, neurological disorders, injuries, and wear and tear can all contribute to issues with arch height.
- Charcot foot. If you’ve experienced significant circulation reduction and nerve damage in your feet—often as result of diabetes—your bones and joints may become very weak and brittle, and you may not be able to feel when they’ve broken. Over time, this can lead to severe collapse and deformity in one or both feet.
Deformities Don’t Get Better on Their own
Almost all foot deformities are progressive conditions that slowly get worse over time. Ignoring them will not make the problem go away. As they worsen, you may develop a number of difficult issues:
- Foot pain
- Difficulty wearing shoes or walking
- Secondary complications—such as blisters, corns, calluses, or wounds—where the deformities create friction against a shoe or the ground
- Poor posture and alignment (and thus, pain) throughout the legs, hips, and back
- Embarrassment or lack of self-confidence due to malformed feet
Foot Deformity Treatment in Lee’s Summit
Obviously, the specific treatment recommendations will depend on factors such as the type and severity of the deformity, what caused it, and how it is affecting your life. That said, there are two basic approaches: nonsurgical or surgical.
In general, we prefer to manage foot deformities with conservative treatment methods whenever possible. These techniques are more likely to be effective if your condition is still relatively mild.
Conservative treatments, unfortunately, will not correct your deformity. However, our main concern is restoring your ability to walk, play, and get through your day without pain or obstruction. If we can do that without surgery, we will.
Some of the most common options include:
- Prefabricated or custom orthotics
- Shoe gear modifications
- Padding or splinting misaligned toes
- Physical therapy
If conservative treatments cannot provide the relief you require, surgical reconstruction to correct the deformity may be required.
Fortunately, Dr. Joel Foster is trained in minimally invasive surgical techniques that can often be employed for deformity reconstruction. These procedures require only very small surgical incisions—just large enough for specialized tools to operate—and can usually be closed with a single stitch.
Minimally invasive surgery provides a range of benefits over traditional open surgeries, including faster healing, lower risk of complications, less scarring, no requirement for internal fixation hardware, and lower cost (since you never have to walk through a hospital door).
Dr. Foster is a board-certified foot surgeon with more than 20 years of experience surgically correcting foot deformities of all types. Although we always try to avoid surgery if possible, rest assured that if it is necessary, you will be in good hands.
Don’t Let a Foot Deformity Slow You Down
If your foot or toes look misshapen, please make an appointment with Dr. Joel Foster in Lee’s Summit, MO. We are dedicated to listening to your concerns thoroughly and providing the widest possible range of high quality treatment options to you. Give us a call today at (816) 246-4222, or fill out our online contact form.