The feet are subjected to tremendous stress and strain all our lives and often develop deformities as we grow older. But deformities can occur even at a young age in some younger people.
In the condition known as hallux valgus, the axis of the big toe becomes misaligned. As a result, it bends towards the outside of the foot and can ride under or over another toe. This deformity encourages the development of arthrosis in the big toe joint. The splaying of the big toe also has a negative impact on the position of the midfoot and the ball of the foot.
With hammer toes - or hallux malleus in medical terminology - the middle joint of the toe is severely curved and stiffened, leading to calluses and pressure points over the joint. A similar condition is claw toes, in which the toes no longer touch the floor due to severe crooked deformity.
Many people consider misalignments to be merely a cosmetic problem. Over the long term, however, they lead to pain on walking and difficulties wearing closed shoes. Increased pressure develops in certain parts of the foot, leading to calluses, corns and inflammation.
In the early stages, orthopaedic shoe inserts can help to alleviate the problem. In most cases, however, only surgery will permanently eliminate the condition. Using modern surgical techniques, we are able to correct the misalignments and create a normal foot. The emphasis nowadays is on preserving the joint so that normal walking can be possible once more.