Different types of toe deformities affect many people today. Some may occur over time, while others could be as a result of defects from birth. In addition, a variety of reasons may contribute to these common toe problems. For example, they may be due to an injury, a congenital problem, certain diseases that affect tissues and bones of the foot, or consequences of wearing ill-fitting footwear.
Your toes are the digits in the feet. They are usually associated with various activities that make your daily life easy, fun, and fulfilling. For example, the toes help with walking, weight-bearing, providing balance, and other activities.
Anatomically, your foot is divided into hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot. The hindfoot and midfoot possess different structures. All these structures are responsible for bearing your body weight and performing various activities, which may include running and walking. On the other hand, the forefoot has up to four small toes known as phalanges, and one large toe referred to as the big toe or hallux. Phalanges have a total of three bones and three joints. The big toe or hallux has two bones and two joints.
Toe deformities affect the alignment of your bones, tissues, and joints in the foot. Also, a deformity associated with your toes may affect the alignment of your weight-bearing joints such as the knees or hips, leading to more problems. In this article, you are going to learn more about the causes of toe deformities, the most common toe deformities, their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, including risk factors.
The most common toe deformities include:
Even though different toe deformities develop for different reasons, the fact remains that they are all progressive. For that reason, if left untreated, these types of foot deformities can worsen.
Their symptoms may include:
Different types of foot deformities or toe deformities occur in adults and children’s feet. When they occur, they make walking, standing, or wearing shoes extremely uncomfortable and painful.
Some of these common toe disorders include:
A bunion is a common toe deformity that causes your big toe to shift laterally and lie over your second toe. In this case, your first metatarsal bone deviates towards the medial side. When this shifting occurs, it leads to prominence over your medial aspect, particularly the metatarsal-phalangeal (MTP) joint. Usually, a fluid-file sac or bursa forms over the prominence, causing a painful bunion due to continuous inflammation and irritation. Factors such as structural foot anomalies and wearing narrow shoes are the leading causes of bunions.
Unlike traditional bunions , the tailor’s bunion (bunionette) is an uncommon toe deformity . However, a bunionette occurs at the fifth metatarsal-phalangeal joint. Padding may help relieve the pain and general discomfort. Otherwise, surgical correction is highly recommended.
The Hammer toe is one of the toe deformities that cause bending of your toe’s middle joint. The joint is medically referred to as the proximal interphalangeal joint or PIP. Even though the hammer toe most commonly affects the second toe, it can also affect other toes. It may be caused by wearing tight-fitting shoes. This condition may cause your toes to bend forward. Unlike other toe deformities, the hammer toe does not cause pain or need specific treatment. However, wearing well-fitting footwear that has enough space to keep your toes comfortable throughout can help prevent hammer toe.
Mallet toes describe a toe deformity that causes downward bending of your toe’s third joint or the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. The condition gives your toe a mallet-like appearance. Besides, calluses or corns may develop over the toe deformity due to constant friction between the toe and footwear. This toe deformity can be inherited or caused by wearing high-heeled or tight shoes.
This is a very rare type of foot deformity. . Claw toe can affect all your toe joints, leading to hyperextension of the MTP joint (first joint) or flexion of the PIP (second joint) and DIP(third joint). This common toe problem can be due to altered structural anatomy or a neurologic disorder (condition) that causes an imbalance in your toe muscles.
Also known as short toe disorder, brachymetatarsia is among the common toe problems experienced by people of all ages today. It occurs due to abnormal overlapping of short toes. The fourth is the most affected.
Diagnosis of toe deformities:
Treatments of Toe Deformities
After a successful diagnosis of your toe deformities, your orthopedic surgeon will decide whether to offer nonsurgical or surgical treatment.
Once the symptoms of your deformity have been established, your physician will start with the nonsurgical treatment option. Normally, this option applies where the symptoms are mild. The doctor will recommend conservative treatment options like wearing shoes that provide a loose and comfortable fitting, use of orthotics, and custom-made shoe inserts to help reposition your toes.
If symptoms become severe to the point of interfering with your walking ability, your physician may consider a surgical treatment approach. The surgeon will perform a bunionectomy procedure to remove the bunion, balance the muscles and tissues within the joint or realign the bones in the big toe. For the bent position of your toes, the surgeon will perform hammertoe surgery releases. This surgical procedure will also help relieve pain, get rid of discomfort and increase the overall functionality of your toes and foot.
Risk factors associated with toe deformities may include:
You may be able to prevent cases of deformed toes or deformed feet in the following ways:
If you experience toe deformities, you can visit Sforzo l Dillingham l Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine for treatment. Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham will attend to your needs.
Different types of foot deformities may become a source of discomfort and pain. They may also lead to serious cases of disability and far more reaching health problems. Most common toe deformities include hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes, and many more. Reach out to Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine for toe deformities diagnosis and treatment.
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