Your feet are incredibly complex and dynamic structures. They contain 28 bones each, making up for roughly 25% of all the bones in your entire body. They also have 29 muscles that help support the ankle and legs and provide mobility.
Although they are extremely durable, feet still need care like any other part of our bodies. They can also develop unique problems, many stemming from just how much we rely on these structures to carry us throughout our lives.
While foot pain and deformities can be intrusive, they are also highly treatable. At our Berkeley, California podiatrist practice, we treat a variety of foot deformities with personalized, science-backed treatments.
Common Foot Deformities
These are some of the most common foot deformities that can affect patients of all ages.
Bunions are bumps of bone that form on the base of your big toe joint. They can occur naturally due to your foot structure, but other causes include wearing shoes that are too small or too tight, pointy shoes that force your toes together, standing for long periods of time, and arthritis.
Posture can also affect bunions. If you place too much weight on your big toe joint, the bone can become misaligned.
Treatments for bunions include toe spacers, wearing wide shoes with ample support, and having our podiatrist tape your toes into a natural position. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, can also help alleviate pain and discomfort.
Hammertoes occur when some of the muscles and ligaments around your toes become misaligned. This shift causes the middle joint of your toe(s) to buckle or curl. Babies are more likely to get curled hammertoes.
Most cases of hammertoes affect the middle three toes. They can be either rigid or flexible. Wearing shoes that are ill-fitted or having flat feet can all lead to hammertoes. A wide range of other conditions can also increase your risk of hammertoes, including a history of heart attack or stroke, alcohol use disorder, bunions, and arthritis.
Treatment for hammertoes includes performing special exercises to restore proper alignment, wearing roomier shoes, and toe taping or splinting to restore proper alignment.
Flat feet, or fallen arches, are one of the most common foot deformities. They can be caused by factors such as obesity or injury, arthritis, diabetes, and aging. Some people are born with flat feet and have the condition their entire lives.
Treating flat feet requires crafting ample foot support, usually through high-quality shoes with good padding and possibly prescription inserts. Changing your daily routine, including your diet and exercise, can also improve symptoms.
Generally, surgical correction is not a standard treatment for flat feet. However, it may be discussed in serious cases that are not responsible to alternative therapies.
Whereas flatfoot entails having low arches, cavus foot is a condition of high, rigid arches. The condition causes supination, which means the foot does not rotate to the degree it is supposed to during the portion of the step that happens between the heel strike and push from the toes. This causes excessive forces to be placed on the outer foot edge.
This is a range of congenital (present at birth) abnormalities wherein a baby’s foot is twisted into an unusual position. Clubfoot is caused by shortened tendons, which connect muscles to bone, and is a common condition. It is often treated successfully without surgery, but surgical intervention is needed later in some cases.
There are basically three different conditions that can cause intoeing for a child – metatarsus adductus (curved foot), tibia torsion (twisted shinbone), and femoral anteversion (twisted thighbone). Intoeing can seem concerning for new parents, but these conditions do not normally cause pain and usually correct themselves over time.
Foot Deformities and Diabetes
Abnormal foot structures are a source of concern for diabetic individuals for two different reasons.
First, having an existing deformity (such as a hammertoe) increases the risk of calluses, corns, and other seemingly minor issues that have the potential to break down over time and become dangerous foot ulcers.
Second, impaired circulation and diabetic neuropathy can combine to cause a deformity known as Charcot foot.
Charcot foot is a severe deformity that starts developing when weakened bones in the foot—which are deprived by impaired blood flow of the essential nutrients to keep them strong—break, even from normal use. Peripheral nerves damaged by the diabetes are unable to transmit the painful sensation that would normally indicate a problem. As such, an affected individual is unaware of the damage and continues performing normal activities, which leads to further breakage. This cycle repeats until the deformed foot is severely misshapen.
Contact Us Today to Find Relief
If you or someone you love lives with a foot deformity and are seeking treatment, we are happy you’re here. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Miyazaki at our Berkeley, California podiatrist office. You can call us at (510) 647-3744, or You can request an appointment online by filling out our contact form.
During your appointment, Dr. Miyazaki will conduct a comprehensive assessment and create a personalized plan to alleviate your pain and improve your foot function. Do wait any longer to get the relief from the pain that you need!