Your feet are your foundation, and if you want to go about your work and home responsibilities without pain, you need them to be strong and sturdy.
Unfortunately, both inherited foot structures and years of wear and tear can pull feet out of shape, and have you hobbling through activities you once enjoyed. The term foot deformities refer to any condition which causes bones, joints, toes, arches, or other structures to drift out of alignment, often making it difficult to wear shoes or walk without pain. When this happens, it’s important to seek treatment right away, as the problem will not get better unless you take action.
Common Foot Deformities
Some of the deformities we see and treat most commonly include:
- Bunions. In this common condition, the joint at the base of the biggest toe becomes misaligned. A bony prominence forms along the inside of the foot, while the tip of the toe moves in the opposite direction, toward the second toe. The same thing can also happen to the pinky toe—this is called a bunionette, or tailor’s bunion.
- Crooked toes. Several related conditions may cause toes to get stuck in a bent position at one or more joints, including hammertoes, mallet toes, and claw toes. In the early stages, crooked toes tend to still be somewhat flexible, but eventually, the joints get locked into place.
- Flat feet. Flat feet may be inherited, or the arch may start to sag and collapse over time due to repetitive stress and damage to the tendons that support it.
Conservative Treatment Options
Most foot deformities are progressive, which means they tend to get worse over time and can only be “fixed” through surgery. However, non-surgical care may be able to effectively eliminate your pain and allow you to return to regular activities in some cases. Our goal is always to do what’s best for you, whatever your personal goals and needs may be.
Conservative foot deformity treatments may include:
- Physical therapy, stretches, and exercise to ease the pain, strengthen muscles that surround and support misaligned joints, improve range of motion, etc.
- Switching to roomier shoes that can accommodate the deformity without adding extra pressure or friction.
- Custom orthotics to cushion your feet and provide extra support and stability.
- Taping, splinting, or other devices to hold misaligned joints that are still flexible in better position.
Minimally Invasive Surgery: Faster Results with Less Hassle
If conservative care is unable to bring you the relief you need, then we may consider surgical treatment. We view surgery as a last result only to be chosen when necessary, but when painful deformities are interfering with your daily activities it may be your best choice. Our office specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques which offer some distinct advantages over traditional surgery:
- Surgeries can almost always be performed right in our office using only local anesthesia—no hospital stays required.
- Hardware such as metal wires, pins, plates, or screws to keep bones in place is almost never required.
- Smaller incisions mean less swelling, fewer stitches, faster healing times, less scarring, and a lower risk of infection.
- Recovery times are faster, allowing you to get back on your feet and back to work, playing with your kids or grandkids, and enjoying daily activities sooner.
We pride ourselves on providing the best possible treatment for each patient as simply as possible. Our treatments are personalized to meet your needs, and we won’t order any unnecessary tests or referrals or push you into procedures you don’t want or need. Our goal is to get you back on your feet quickly, so you can get back to your job, your hobbies, and your life without pain. We also offer a 10% discount for law enforcement, fire, and EMT workers, who rely on their feet every day to keep our community safe.
To set an appointment with Dr. Daniel J. Walters Foot & Ankle Care in Garfield Ridge, Chicago, please call (773) 586-0050. You can also request an appointment online and our friendly staff will contact you for follow-up shortly thereafter.