Foot Deformities

Foot deformities are a range of different conditions that can affect the bones and tendons in your feet. Thus, you may want to know the answer to the question, “Are all foot deformities painful?”

Well, some are painful, while others are not. Some can affect how you walk, while others may cause some to feel shame or embarrassment about their appearance.

If you are looking for treatment for pediatric foot deformities, make an appointment with our foot and ankle specialists today at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. We gladly serve our patients throughout the Greater Columbus area.

Do I Need Surgery?

Visiting an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t mean that surgery is necessary. Our orthopedic doctors always prefer to use non-surgical procedures to treat injuries.

What Our Patients Say

The doctor completed a removal of several bone spurs that were rubbing my Achilles tendon after first trying a conservative approach. His care was phenomenal. A month out of surgery, I am not fully healed and walking, but I am pain free for the first time in years and am looking forward to resuming a more active lifestyle chasing my dogs and actually participating in life without my purse Tylenol and Aleve on hand. I can’t recommend them enough!” — Elizabeth L.

About Foot Deformities

There are several different types of foot deformities. Many of them are related to abnormalities in the tendons or bones of the feet or toes.

Some common foot deformities include bunions and hammertoes. Less common foot deformities include conditions such as clubfoot, fused toes (tarsal coalition), mallet toes, or a flat foot (pes planus).

What Are the Causes of Foot Deformities?

You may be born with a foot deformity, or it can develop after birth. The following list contains some ways that foot deformities can occur:

  • Lifestyle factors: You can develop a foot deformity from ill-fitting footwear or by gaining weight quickly.
  • Injuries: A broken toe or toes can lead to certain conditions, such as a hammertoe.
  • Hereditary factors: You can have some conditions from birth, such as fused toes or clubfoot. These conditions are passed on through the genes.
A patient with a foot deformity.

What Are the Types and Symptoms of Foot and Toe Deformities

A doctor inspecting a foot deformity in Columbus, Ohio.

There are many different types of foot deformities. Each condition presents its own symptoms. Some of the common symptoms related to foot deformities include:

Below are some of the most common foot deformity conditions and their specific symptoms.


Bunions can be caused by wearing shoes that are tight at the front. The big toe is forced inwards, and the joint is forced out. This causes friction on the outside of the foot, and callous skin starts to form where it rubs against the shoe.

Flat Feet (Pes Planus)

You can be born with flat feet, or it can be acquired through injury to the posterior tibial tendon. A flat foot is characterized by a lack of an arch in the foot.

Club Foot

A club foot is when the muscles on one side of the foot are tighter than the other. The tight muscles cause the foot to turn sharply inwards.

Claw Toe

Claw toe is where your small toes, like your pinky toe, turn downwards. Their appearance becomes like those of a bird’s claw.

Hammer Toe

If you have a habit of wearing tight-fitting shoes, your toe joints can become permanently bent upwards and thus forming a hammertoe.

Mallet Toes

The opposite of hammer toe happens with this condition. The toes bend downward at the joint. This can make wearing shoes uncomfortable.

Fused Bones (Tarsal Coalition)

This condition occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the toes. Fused toes often develop through adolescence, causing pain and, in some cases, stiffness.

Psoriatic Arthritis

This condition is closely associated with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by a thickening of the skin. Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause joints to become hot, swollen, and painful. Toes can also become deformed.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is another autoimmune disease that affects the joints. It can cause joints to become painful, swollen, and stiff. If rheumatoid arthritis is not treated, irreversible joint damage and deformity can occur.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs can develop anywhere on the foot. They can be felt as a bony protrusion under the skin. They don’t always cause pain but sometimes can be red and swollen.

Foot Deformity Treatment

There are several treatment options for foot deformities. When possible, our surgeons will use non-surgical treatments to correct a deformity. Some treatments for foot deformities include the following:

  • Corrective devices: Our surgeons can use casts, braces, or supportive devices to correct a foot deformity.
  • Toe separators: Separators can be used to spread toes apart and help with conditions like bunions. A separator can also help realign the big toe, separating it from the second toe.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises and stretches can be done to help correct deformities such as hammer toes. Exercises can include picking up a marble with your toe.
  • Surgical treatment: In some cases, surgical intervention may be required to correct a foot deformity. The type of surgery will depend on the condition and severity. Conditions such as claw toes, fused toes, or club foot should be operated on early; otherwise, they could cause a permanent deformity.

Your physician can also give you anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications to treat your symptoms of discomfort.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are looking for help with a proper foot deformity diagnosis and treatment, make an appointment today with our foot and ankle specialists at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center. Our experienced orthopedic surgeons in Columbus, OH are ready to answer any questions you might have. Contact our team today!

Medically Reviewed by Sarah M. Abshier, DPM

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