What is a foot and ankle deformity?
Individuals with injuries or congenital conditions (that are present upon birth) may have foot and ankle deformities. Ankle fractures or other foot trauma can change the shape and function of the foot and ankle. These injuries can disrupt normal walking and make daily activities painful or nearly impossible. Conditions such as clubfoot, polio, spinal cord injuries, tendon ruptures, failed previous surgery and others can create significant limitations that make walking difficult.
How is a foot and ankle deformity treated?
If you feel you have a previous condition that requires correction to improve walking and appearance of the foot and ankle, your doctor can perform an evaluation to determine what intervention is necessary. Surgery may not always be necessary. We can only determine an exact treatment plan after a thorough evaluation.
Types of Foot Deformities
- Bunions. A noticeable bump forms at the inside of one or both feet around the joint at the base of the big toe. The toe itself drifts out of position and may even cross over the second digit.
- Hammertoes. Toes contract at the middle joint, causing them to curl downward like a hammer. It starts out relatively flexible, but the joints become more rigid with time. Related conditions include mallet toes (bent at the tip joint) and claw toes (bent at all toe joints).
- Bone spurs. Bony, calcified deposits can form on top of normal bone tissue.
- Flat feet. Some people inherit a naturally flat foot, while others may suffer from arches that slowly collapse over time due to wear and tear.
- High arches. Inherited foot structures as well as neurological disorders can produce arches that are extremely elevated.
- Charcot foot. A very serious condition usually only experienced by diabetes patients with severe nerve damage. Bones in the feet break and disintegrate, and may eventually give the foot a rocker-like appearance.
- Joint dislocations. Sudden impacts or repetitive trauma can push joints out of alignment, which can be very painful (especially when walking).
- Clubfoot. A congenital condition where one or both of baby’s feet are severely twisted. Although a newborn won’t feel any pain from their clubfoot, it’s crucial to get started with treatment right away so that the damage can be reversed before the child begins walking.
Types of Ankle Deformities
- Varus Ankle This ankle deformity is where the foot turns sideways toward the opposite foot. It is in the direction of a typical ankle sprain.
- Valgus Ankle This deformity is where the foot turns sideways away from the opposite foot.
- Talolisthesis This deformity is where the talus translates forward or backward relative to the axis of the leg.
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