What do you see when you look down at your feet? Though you probably can't tell just by looking at them, the structures within the feet rely on a complex system of pressure distribution, balance attainment, and tissue tensile strength that work in tandem to allow for motion. It is only when one of these systems breaks down that you begin to see trouble.
A series of events can cause tissues and bones to wear unevenly due to unequal distribution of weight and pressure, and many foot deformities can develop as a result. The field of biomechanics closely studies these foot conditions and their effects on human health and development. Let's take a closer look at how foot deformities develop and how the expert podiatrists at Advanced Foot Care can help you get back on your feet.
Some Foot Deformities Develop Over Time
In some cases, foot deformities come about as a result of mishaps and accidents. These incidents often lead to degradation of the tissues and joints within the foot or ankle, which, in turn, present themselves as foot deformities.
Neuromuscular deformations like Charcot foot, for instance, can weaken the structures of the foot and pave the way for other foot problems to arise. Many patients also develop foot deformities due to direct trauma to the joints and tissues in the feet and ankles. Peroneal tendon dislocation and posterior-tibial tendon dysfunction are examples of injury-induced deformities. Without proper treatment, these problems can develop into more serious conditions. You should always seek timely medical attention following a traumatic foot or ankle injury to ensure you haven't sustained any lasting damage.
Other Times, Your DNA Is to Blame
On the other hand, there are many foot conditions and deformities that arise from congenital defects and hereditary predispositions. While some of these problems may not be present at birth, they are often detected during childhood development.
Genetic foot deformities are typically acquired through slow changes in the foot structure over an extended period of time. Minor inconsistencies and abnormalities in the muscles and tendons of the foot can have a great impact on the overall function of these tissues. Here are just a few examples of common foot deformities that occur primarily as a result of hereditary factors:
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Hallux rigidus
- Mallet toes
- Claw toes
- Haglund's deformity
Though these conditions affect different areas of the feet, there is one thing that applies to each and every one: Getting proper treatment as soon as possible is your best course of action, as doing so will prevent the deformity from progressing and allow us to correct the problem much more easily. In fact, in many cases, conservative treatment is all patients need to improve the health of their feet.
How We Can Help
Treatments, of course, will vary depending on the type and severity of the deformity. In order to prescribe an optimal treatment course suited to your unique needs, we will examine the extent of the damage using various diagnostic procedures.
As many deformations are caused by the misalignment of structures and uneven distribution of pressure, custom orthotics have proven to be especially useful in alleviating pain and preventing the deformity from getting worse. Some conditions may require immobilization of the affected area and physical therapy in order to achieve recovery—and we can provide these treatments, too.
When conservative options are not sufficient, surgery may be the best choice for your deformity. If this is the case, we will thoroughly discuss what surgical options are available to correct your condition. During this conversation, we will make sure to answer all questions you may have so that you can move forward with treatment feeling confident.
The good news is, many foot deformities can be easily corrected or accommodated when caught early—but, remember, when these conditions are allowed to linger, more serious complications arise, and more invasive treatments will be necessary to correct the problem.