Foot Deformities

One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet, which are also comprised of 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. On average, we take about 5,000 steps every day, so foot deformities might be more common than you think. Not only can foot deformities cause uncomfortable symptoms in the feet, but they can also lead to skeletal misalignment and cause problems in the hips, back or knees. Let’s take a look at some of the more common foot deformities.

Flat Footed

Normally, you would see an arch on the bottom of your foot, which is created by tendons pulling on your feet. Those with flat feet have “fallen arches”. This could mean they have little to no arch at all, which can cause pain and discomfort in the sole of the foot, as well as problems in the knees and back. Besides congenital deformities, weak ligaments and muscles are primarily responsible for fallen arches.

Skew Foot

Many infants have skew foot deformity in either one or both feet. This means that the shape of the foot is characterized by a flattening of the longitudinal arch and the foot bending inward when walking. It often looks like a “C” shape. In most cases, the skew foot corrects itself.

Claw Foot

Claw foot is the opposite of flat foot, in that the inside and outside longitudinal arches are considerably more prominent. This leads to overloading of the forefoot and heel. A claw foot can be hereditary or it can develop following paralysis or nerve damage in the muscles of the feet. A claw foot is not necessarily harmful and may not require treatment, but it can cause pain or result in the development of other disorders.

Splay Foot

Splay foot (pes transversovalgus) is a very common foot deformity that is also known colloquially as "flat foot". The underside ball of the foot is flattened, causing the forefoot to broaden. Obesity, overstrain in sports, and poorly trained muscles of the feet can cause splay foot. This condition often results in load-dependent pain while walking and standing and usually dissipates while resting or relieving weight from the foot.

Calcaneal Spur

A calcaneal spur (heel spur) is a bony outgrowth from the heel bone. They are often painless but they can cause heel pain and are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis. If a heel spur is painful and left untreated, even walking is very painful. The causes include wearing the wrong footwear, obesity, excessive loading during sports or long periods of standing.

Hallux Rigidus

Hallux rigidus is a disorder of the joint located at the base of the big toe. It can cause pain and stiffness in the joint which, in time, becomes increasingly harder to flex the joint. It is an arthritic condition caused by wear and tear. The disorder can be inherited or caused by injuries and harmful stress.

Hallux Valgus

Hallux valgus is also known as a bunion and is a very common forefoot deformity. A hallux valgus is when the first metatarsal bone deviates outwards towards the outside of the foot. This widens the area around the ball of the foot, while the tendon pulls the big toe to the side due to its short length.

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