Hammertoes

All About Your Foot Deformity and How to Treat It

by Edward Williams, DPM

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Dr. Edward Williams DPM of Foot and Ankle Associates

Foot Conditions

There are a number of conditions that will cause your feet to form incorrectly and can cause pain. The Santa Fe podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Associates have listed a number of these conditions, their causes and how to treat them.

Amniotic Band Syndrome

Amniotic band syndrome (ABS) is an uncommon, congenital fetal abnormality that causes disfigured feet.

Some researchers believe that ABS is caused by early amniotic rupture, which leads to the formation of fibrous strands that entangle limbs and appendages.

Contact our office to discuss treatment options, which may include surgical excision of the fibrous band and any necrotic tissue.

Bunions

Bunions are misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward, and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot and toe. Surgery by a podiatric physician is frequently recommended to correct the problem.

Claw Toe

Claw toe normally is caused by nerve damage from diseases like diabetes or alcoholism, which can weaken the muscles in your foot, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Having claw toe means your toes "claw," digging down into the soles of your shoes and creating painful calluses. Claw toe gets worse without treatment and may become a permanent deformity over time.

Common symptoms include:

Toes bent upward from the joints at the ball of the foot.
Toes bent downward at the middle joints toward the sole of your shoe.
Corns on the top of the toe or under the ball of the foot.
Claw toe deformities are easier to repair when detected early, but they harden into place over time. Splint or tape is used to hold your toes in correct position.

Clubfoot

Clubfoot is one of the most common non-life threatening major birth defects. It affects your child's foot and ankle, twisting the heel and toes inward. It may look like the top of the foot is on the bottom. The clubfoot, calf and leg are smaller and shorter than normal. Clubfoot is not painful, is correctable and your baby is probably otherwise normal.

Approximately one in every 1,000 newborns has clubfoot. Of those, one in three have both feet clubbed. The exact cause is unknown.

Two out of three clubfoot babies are boys. Clubfoot is twice as likely if you, your spouse or your other children also have it. Less severe infant foot problems are common and are often incorrectly called clubfoot.

The goal of treating clubfoot is to make your newborn's clubfoot (or feet) functional, painless and stable by the time he or she is ready to walk. Doctors start by gently stretching your child's clubfoot toward the correct position. They put on a cast to hold it in place. One week later, they take off the cast and stretch your baby's foot a little more, always working it toward the correct position. They apply a new cast, and one week later you come back and do it again.

This process (called serial casting) slowly moves the bones in the clubfoot into proper alignment. Doctors use X-rays to check the progress. Casting generally repeats for 6-12 weeks, and may take up to four months. About half the time, your child's clubfoot straightens with casting. If it does, he or she will be fitted with special shoes or braces to keep the foot straight once corrected. These holding devices are usually needed until your child has been walking for up to a year or more.

Muscles often try to return to the clubfoot position. This is common when your child is 2-3 years old, but may continue up to age 7. Sometimes stretching, casting and bracing is not enough to correct your baby's clubfoot. He or she may need surgery to adjust the tendons, ligaments and joints in the foot/ankle.

If you are suffering from one of these conditions or think something might be wrong with your feet please call (505) 982-0123 or visit us at www.FootAndAnkleSantaFe.com to schedule an appointment.

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