Foot deformities and conditions can be the result of different causes and can manifest in different ways. The most common examples of foot deformities and diseases are:
- Flat feet (fallen arches) – a foot whose arch is so low that it almost completely adheres to the ground, from the heel to the front part of the foot
- Hallux valgus – deformation of the big toe that causes it to deviate towards the other toes, creating a bump on the side of the foot
- Hammer toe (digitus malleus) – deformation of the second or middle joint, most often caused by long-term wearing of high-heel shoes
- Claw toe (digitus flexus) – similar to hammertoes both in appearance and symptoms, which is why they are often difficult to distinguish; consequence of the deformation of the second and last toe joint, so the toes resemble claws; characteristic “tiptoe walking”
- Metatarsalgia – pain in the front part of the foot, caused by excessive pressure and overuse
- Plantar fasciitis (heel spur) – inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, causing pain in the heel and foot.
Hallux valgus is one of the most common foot deformities. The name comes from Latin words that symbolize turning the big toe towards the outside of the foot. Due to this deviation, the inner part of the foot becomes more susceptible to constant mechanical irritation, which causes the formation of new bone and local inflammation, which is the main cause of pain in such a deformed foot.
The most common cause of hallux valgus is long-term wearing of inappropriate footwear that presses the toes together and puts them in an irregular and unnatural position. In most cases, inflammation and pain can be successfully prevented by wearing appropriate footwear that does not put pressure on the toes. Various orthoses on the market keep the thumb in the corrected position during the night, while an adequate orthotic insole can maintain such a position during the day.
Reasons why you should opt for surgery are debilitating pain, chronic inflammation and swelling, deformity of the toes, stiffness of the toes, constant pain. The goal of the operation is to stop the pain and correct the deformity as much as possible. The surgical technique is chosen by the orthopedist considering the type and cause of the foot deformity.
Digitus flexus is a common deformity that affects the second to fifth toes and causes pain when walking. The appearance of the toe is characteristically “hammer-like”, i.e. bent and the tip is firmly erect and presses on the surface. Sometimes a pad develops on the back of the foot as a reaction to skin irritation when walking. The source of pain is either pressure on the tip of the toe or hyperkeratosis (thick pad) on the back of the toe. In the initial stages of development, the deformity is not fixed, which means that the toe can be extended using external force. Over time, the deformity becomes “fixed” and can no longer be corrected by passive movement. The disorder is the result of an imbalance between the tendons that flex and extend the toe. Inflammatory diseases that deform the joint, such as rheumatoid arthritis, contribute to its development.
Digitus varus is a deformity of the little toe, which is why we usually use the full Latin name digitus quintus varus. It is caused by inflammation of the 5th metatarsal bone at the base of the little toe as a result of a defective mechanical structure of the foot, whereby the fifth metatarsal bone begins to protrude outward while the little toe moves inward. It is also known as the “tailor’s bunion” because in the past, tailors mostly sat with their legs crossed, which was thought to cause a bulge on the outside of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis, better known as heel pain or heel spur, is an overstrain syndrome that manifests itself as severe pain in the area of the lower part of the heel bone and/or along the medial longitudinal arch of the foot.
It occurs due to long-term repetitive strain on the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a ligamentous structure that starts at the heel (heel bone or calcaneus) and spreads like a fan to the toes. It lies directly under the skin on the bottom of the foot and is separated from it by a layer of fatty tissue. It has an important biomechanical role during movement: the plantar fascia prepares the foot for contact with the ground, i.e. for the absorption of the force that arises in the process, and it also helps when preparing the foot for reflection from the ground.
External causes of heel spurs include improper footwear and training mistakes, while internal causes include Achilles tendon shortening, flat feet, and obesity.
Flatfoot (pes planus) is a condition where the longitudinal arch of the foot is abnormally flattened, which reduces the foot’s ability to absorb shock from the ground and provide sufficient support to the body when walking or running. This condition can be congenital or acquired and can occur in one or both feet.
Causes of a flat foot can include foot injuries, tendonitis, muscle and nerve diseases, but also being overweight, pregnant, or standing and walking for a long time. In some cases, flatfoot can be hereditary, meaning it is passed down from generation to generation.
Symptoms of flat feet can include foot pain, swelling, foot fatigue after prolonged walking or running, and in some cases pain in the knees, hips, and back due to improper weight distribution.
Treatment for flat feet may include wearing orthotic insoles or shoes with arch support, physical therapy to strengthen the foot and lower leg muscles, and surgery to correct the deformity in some cases. It is important that the condition is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner in order to prevent the progression of the deformity and alleviate the symptoms.
Orthotic insoles are one of the ways to treat a dropped foot. The insoles are custom-made for each individual patient and are designed to support the arch of the foot, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve movement.
The process of making orthotic insoles for flat feet includes the following steps:
- A specialist doctor will assess your condition and review your medical history.
- The doctor will make a specific template for your foot that matches your constitution – not only of your feet, but also of the entire axis of the body from the feet to the knees to the hips and the spine itself – based on which the orthopedic technician will make the insoles.
- An orthopedic technician uses materials such as cork, foam, or thermoplastic to fit the insole to the mold of your foot.
- Once the insoles are made, they will be checked to ensure that they fit your shoes perfectly and provide optimal support.
Flatfoot insoles can vary in shape and size, depending on patient’s needs. They can be used with different types of footwear, including sneakers, shoes and boots. It is important to note that it takes some time for the body to adapt to wearing insoles, and regular monitoring and adaptation of the insoles is also necessary to ensure the best possible support for the foot.
When it comes to any foot condition, it is very important to look at the foot in its entirety, because by operating on only one part, we cure the effect, but not the cause. That is why we have to see everything that is happening with the foot and solve the cause and effect to eliminate recurrence. Our previous practice proves that we are on the right track because we have recorded no recurrence of phenomena such as hallux valgus and the like.