You probably do not think about your toes as you go about your daily activities, yet you rely on them to provide balance, support, and propulsion.
Toes are incredibly complex for being such a small body part. Distributed amongst your ten toes are 28 bones, and even more muscles, tendons, and ligaments, all working in unison to keep you moving comfortably.
For various reasons, this delicate and complex functional unit makes toes prone to deformities and misalignments over time. When this occurs, the toes may become painful and may even restrict your mobility.
Never make light of or neglect a toe deformity. Even if the deformity is without symptoms, the one thing toe deformities have in common is that they usually get worse—much worse—if left untreated.
Common Causes of Toe Deformities
The precise underlying cause of any given deformity will be dependent upon the deformity itself, as well as your own personal circumstances.
The one thing true of all toe deformities is that there is usually an underlying structural or genetic component at work. In other words, the feet you inherited may be more susceptible to certain deformities because of their shape and the way they function.
For example, a flexible foot is prone to developing bunions, capsulitis, and hallux rigidus (arthritis of the large toe joint). A Morton’s foot (second toe longer than the first) tends to develop hammertoes and capsulitis. A high arch (cavus foot) is inclined towards hammertoe formation. Sometimes simply having one toe deformity can lead to another.
Ill-fitting shoe gear, repetitive injuries, and other external factors may also be involved. At the very least, these factors can aggravate your symptoms and accelerate the progression of the deformity.
At your appointment, Dr. Thomas J. Bobrowski will perform a thorough examination, review your past medical history, and question you about your condition to determine the specific underlying cause. All this information allows us to put together a comprehensive treatment plan most effective and appropriate for you.
General Treatment Approaches for Toe Deformities
The recommended treatment plan is dependent upon the specific deformity, the etiology (underlying cause), and the severity of the condition.
However, regardless of the circumstances, our initial preference is to treat your deformity conservatively if possible, using shoe modifications, orthotics, physical therapy, or splinting.
Non-surgical treatments, regrettably, will not realign the affected toes, but they will often alleviate your pain and slow the progression of the deformity.
Surgical correction of the deformity is considered if pain is affecting your daily quality of life and/or preventing you from participating in the activities you especially enjoy.
So, please do not wait until your toe deformities are rigid and severely painful before making an appointment with our office. You can reach InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry at (252) 638-4700 or fill out our online appointment request form.