Foot and Ankle Deformities

Foot and ankle deformaties

What Are Different Kinds of Foot and Ankle Deformities?

Foot and ankle deformities can cause a great deal of pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. This article will help you understand the nature of different foot and ankle deformities and how they can be treated with proper medical attention.

Cavus foot deformity

What causes cavus foot deformity?

Cavus foot is a condition that causes the foot to arch steeply upward. It often emerges as the result of neurological conditions that attack the nerves or muscles—like Charcot Marie Tooth disease, cerebral palsy, or muscular atrophy. Others inherit cavus foot as a genetic structural abnormality.

What are the symptoms of cavus foot deformity?

The most noticeable symptom of cavus foot is a very high arch that puts extra pressure on the ball and heel of the foot. This extra pressure can contribute to hammertoe, which means the toe may start to bend and curl downward.

Both of these can lead to an awkward gait. Associated symptoms include pain or discomfort walking around, calluses on the foot from friction against shoes, and general foot and ankle instability.

How is cavus foot deformity diagnosed?

Since the signs of cavus foot tend to be physically obvious, a doctor can usually diagnose cavus foot from a physical exam and an observation of walking and balance. The doctor will likely ask for your medical history since cavus foot often develops from an underlying neurological condition.

To further examine the extent of the deformity, the doctor may conduct an X-ray. A more comprehensive neurological evaluation may be necessary, as well.

How is cavus foot treated?

Often, orthotic devices can help those with cavus foot preserve their balance and better support their foot shape. Sometimes braces can offer extra stability, too. In more extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pain and restore the foot’s strength and stability.

Flat foot deformity

What causes flat feet?

Flat foot, or pes planovalgus as it is medically known, is a condition in which the arch of the foot falls and flattens out the foot. This flattening of the arch leads the ankle to roll inward and the heel to bend outward. Often, flat foot emerges as an inherited predisposition based on foot shape, bone and ankle alignment, and leg muscle tightness. People with shorter Achilles tendons are more likely to develop flat feet.

For those with adult acquired flat foot deformity, the posterior tibial tendon, which passes from the ankle to a bone in the instep of the foot, begins to weaken. The posterior tibial tendon supports the arch of the foot during normal activity. Over time, this tendon begins to wear down from the wear-and-tear of daily life, contributing to a fallen arch and a rolling inward of the ankle.

What are the symptoms of flat feet?

Pes planovalgus can develop in children, adolescents, or adults. It is not always symptomatic beyond the physical appearance of the foot and ankle but can sometimes cause pain, an awkward gait, and strain on the heel or the ankle joint. It often develops in childhood and is noticeable around ages 3-5 when most children have developed an arch.

How are flat feet diagnosed?

Flat feet are generally diagnosed from a doctor’s physical examination of the foot, ankle, and lower leg. The doctor will ask about pain or discomfort and will examine the shape and structure of your foot. X-rays or other imaging tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

How are flat feet treated?

Treatment for flat feet depends heavily on its presentation and accompanying symptoms. An orthopedic specialist will determine the best course of treatment for your individual case.

When flat feet do not cause pain or affect your mobility, flat feet may not need to be treated. Other conservative treatments include orthotic devices, immobilizing braces, and physical therapy exercises to relieve pain and tension.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity.  Flat foot correction surgeries generally involve lengthening the calf muscle, repairing or realigning a mispositioned tendon, or cutting and repositioning part of the bone in the foot to restructure its arch. 

Depending on the severity and location of the deformity, an orthopedic may perform a fusion operation, which fuses together the bones connected by a joint to eliminate the deformity and provide greater stability.

Treating foot and ankle deformities at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants

At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we understand that no two feet are alike, especially when it comes to painful or concerning foot and ankle deformities. We are prepared to meet each case with effective, innovative treatments so that you can say goodbye to pain.

If you’re dealing with symptoms of a foot or ankle deformity, schedule an appointment with us today to meet with our supportive team of orthopedic specialists!