What Causes Bunions, Hammertoes, and Other Foot Deformities?
It isn’t always clear what causes any particular foot deformity. However, several underlying factors have been shown to contribute to these deformities—either causing them or at least making them worse.
- Genetics. Many foot deformities tend to run in families. You may have inherited a foot structure that is prone to developing foot deformities, such as a naturally flat foot or an excessively long second toe. Alternatively, some foot deformities may be caused by neurological disorders.
- Shoes. Shoes that crowd your toes or push all your weight to the front of the foot, such as high heels, are often linked with higher rates of bunions, hammertoes, capsulitis, and many other foot deformities.
- Trauma. Specific injuries (acute or overuse) to joints, ligaments, and other foot structures can cause them to weaken, destabilize, or dislocate, which may lead to changes in the overall shape and structure of your feet.
Can Foot Deformities Be Treated Without Surgery?
The unfortunate truth is that, for most foot deformities, reconstructive surgery is the only way to restore the natural alignment of your feet and toes once a deformity has begun. And without surgery, the problem usually gets worse.
If your deformity is still in the very early stages, we can pursue conservative treatments (taping, splinting, stretching, shoe changes, etc.) to manage the symptoms. In many cases, you may be able to resume your regular activities without pain. Sometimes, we can even slow the progression of the deformity by reducing the destabilizing forces that are acting upon it.
However, by the time most people start to see us about their bunion, hammertoe, or other foot deformities, they’re usually already in a lot of pain and can’t wear their normal shoes anymore. At this stage, reconstructive surgery is almost always the best choice. That way, we fix the problem and allow you to wear your regular shoes and do your regular activities, rather than try to accommodate the problem indefinitely.
Surgical Correction for Bunions, Hammertoes, and Other Deformities
A deformed, malformed, or mechanically compromised foot must be repaired through reconstructive surgery. The goal is to re-align and reposition the bones, tendons, and ligaments so that they look and function as normal (and painlessly) as possible.
Each surgical plan is unique and depends not only on the type and severity of the condition itself but also on factors such as your lifestyle goals and surgical history. We may use techniques such as:
- Transferring or repairing connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, etc.)
- Cutting and realigning bones (osteotomy)
- Fusing bones (arthrodesis)
- Removing damaged joint surfaces (resection arthroplasty)
- Replacing a damaged joint with an artificial implant
Our board-certified foot and ankle surgeons specialize in a wide variety of surgical techniques for deformity correction and foot reconstruction, including many advanced procedures (such as the Lapiplasty bunion correction technique).
For more in-depth details about these procedures, please review our webpage on reconstructive surgery.
While we understand the prospect of surgery isn’t always fun, the truth is that reconstructive surgery is highly effective in the vast majority of cases. Your recovery may take a few weeks to a few months, but in the end, you’ll have a foot that looks, works and functions the way it’s supposed to.
To schedule an appointment with one of our doctors at Comprehensive Foot Centers in Metro Kansas City, please give us a call toll-free at (816) 455-1155 today.