Indianapolis' Foot Deformities Treatment Leader - Jeffrie C. Leibovitz, DPM

Foot Deformities

If you’re interested in addressing a foot deformity or toe deformity, you likely do not need to be told what they are. Odds are high that you have been living with one for some time!

That said, you might not always think of your symptoms as stemming from a foot deformity, as not all of them are so plainly obvious.

Whatever abnormalities there may be, however, our Indianapolis office can provide you with the help you need to find proper comfort and effective management of your condition.

Common Types of Foot Deformities

Three common types of foot deformities we see in our office are bunions, hammertoes, and adult-acquired flatfoot. Just to make sure we are all on the same page, here is a basic rundown on each (feel free to skip this if you already know).

  • A bunion is a bony enlargement that occurs on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. It forms when an instability in the joint causes the big toe to drift toward its neighboring toes, creating a bump that grows more developed and pronounced over time.
  • A hammertoe is a toe stuck in a “bent” position at one or more of its joints (you might hear the terms “mallet toe” or “claw toe” used, depending on which joints are affected).
  • Adult-acquired flatfoot is the collapse of the arch of the foot over time, often due to stress or trauma. Flat feet can also develop on their own during childhood.

Additional related deformities we tend to see include bunionettes (a bunion on the small toe, aka a tailor’s bunion), hallux limitus, and floating toe, among others.

Causes of Foot Deformities

Most foot and toe deformities are the result of hereditary factors, but certain events and choices can have an influence as well.

Certain foot structures that were inherited from your family line are more likely to lead to problems. For example, you may have inherited the likelihood of joint instability that can be responsible for bunions or hammertoes. Check around at your next family reunion to see how many feet are in a similar situation!

Trauma and pressures in life, however, can also influence the development, progression and discomfort of deformities. Past injuries can make joints and other parts of the feet unstable, and choices such as wearing high heels and/or shoes with narrow toe boxes can place excess stress on the front of the foot, making existing conditions worse over time.

The sooner a deformity can be identified and addressed, the easier it usually is to manage it. But even if you have had a condition for decades, there is often much that can still be done to help you—and surgery is often not the only option.

How We Treat Foot and Toe Deformities

The best treatment for a deformity is not always “fixing” it—that is, correcting it via surgery.

Our main goals are relieving long-term discomfort as best as possible and keeping the condition from becoming worse (or at least slowing it down). If we can accomplish these goals without putting a patient through surgery, we will. Such measures can include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Custom orthotics
  • Pads and protective equipment

But it’s important to realize that most deformities themselves will never improve on their own. We can treat the symptoms non-surgically, but often only a surgical procedure will eliminate the actual deformity.

If surgery is recommended, the particular procedure used will depend on the condition at hand, as well as your general health, age, and other factors. We will be sure to discuss the ins and outs of all options with you before any decisions are made moving forward. Everything is a patient-doctor decision, here.

Do Not Delay Help for a Foot Deformity

Remember that the sooner we can begin addressing a deformity, the better the results tend to be. There is no such thing as approaching us “too early” regarding deformity concerns!

Call our Indianapolis podiatry office at (317) 545-0505 to schedule an appointment with us. We can also be contacted through our online form.

Woman with Bunion Crossing Her Feet
Foot Stepping Down on an Orthotic