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Hammer Toe, Bunions, Flatfoot, Clubfoot, & Congenital Vertical Talus

At the Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, several of our orthopedic surgeons specialize in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of hammertoes, bunions, flat feet, club feet, and the congenital foot deformities, including Dr. Leonard and Dr. Blotter. The Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery has been treating foot and ankle issues for more than three decades. That means your foot condition will be treated by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched in Marquette, the surrounding Upper Peninsula, and throughout Northern Michigan.

The human foot and ankle contains more than 100 bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments, and forms 33 joints. Our feet and ankles are highly complex structures that work in unison to help support our body weight; allow us to stand, walk, or run; and move and flex in a variety of ways. When the foot or ankle is injured, it often requires highly specialized treatment to restore maximum function and movement.

Hammer Toe

Hammertoe is a deformity of the toe joints that causes the toes to bend permanently, resembling a hammer. Hammertoes are most often caused by the repeated wearing of poorly fit footwear such as high heels or shoes that are too short or narrow. Forcing the toes into a too-small shoe causes them to bend, becoming permanent over time.

Hammertoe can usually be treated simply by wearing proper footwear with ample toe room. In severe cases, however, orthopedic surgery may be required.

Bunions

A bunion occurs when the big toe deforms and angles permanently towards the second toe, causing redness, irritation, and pain in the area. While some experts believe bunions are caused by improper footwear, others believe they are a genetic condition that is exacerbated by poor footwear. Contrary to popular belief, the “bump” on the side of the foot indicating a bunion isn’t an enlargement of the bone underneath; rather, it is typically just the head of the first metatarsal bone that has simply tilted sideways.

Treatment of bunions varies greatly. Conservative approaches include the use of orthotics and more appropriate shoes. In some cases, surgery is required to correct the deformity.

Flatfoot

Flatfoot (sometimes called adult flatfoot or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction) occurs when the tendon that connects the calf to the bones on the inside of the ankle stretches, tears, or becomes inflamed. Because the posterior tibial tendon helps hold up the arch, when it is damaged, the arch falls, causing what is commonly called a “flat feet” or, sometimes, “fallen arches.” Flat foot can result in pain and weakness and can be caused by obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, trauma, and other factors. The condition often worsens over time, causing the tendon to become rigid and resulting in painful arthritis that can permanently hinder walking.

Treatment of flatfoot depends on how far the condition has progressed. This can range from drug therapy and immobilization to custom footwear or surgery.

Correction of Congenital Vertical Talus and Clubfoot

Clubfoot and congenital vertical talus (CVT) are deformities of the foot that are present at birth and can even be diagnosed via ultrasound while the child is still in the womb. If left uncorrected, both can lead to a lifetime of pain and immobility.

In the case of CVT, surgery is the most common form of correction. This is normally done at between ages nine months and one year. During the procedure, the surgeon manipulates the bones into their proper positions, securing them with pins. In the case of clubfoot, nonsurgical correction is common. This typically involves stretching, casting, and bracing. In some cases, surgery, followed by bracing, is recommended. As with CVT, this is typically undergone between ages nine months and one year.

To learn more about what to expect when you undergo foot surgery, please visit our surgery prep and recovery page.

Specialty Reference: 
Foot & Ankle