We all wear shoes and as a result even minor changes to the shape of our feet can have quite dramatic effects on our quality of life if shoes become uncomfortable. If these symptoms persist, despite using common sense in your selection of footwear, then you may need to seek professional advice.
The most common painful foot deformity affects the big toe and is known as Bunion (please see ‘Bunion and Big Toe Pain’ section). Lesser (small) toe deformities are also common and can occur alone or associated with deformities of the big toe. The common terms used are ‘Hammer’, ‘Claw’ and ‘Mallet’ toe deformities. These deformities are more common in women, particularly after the age of 40, but can present in childhood as ‘curly toes‘. In severity they range from mild and easily correctable, to very rigid fixed contractures. The most common complaints are altered appearance and painful callosity formation from rubbing in the shoes. The treatment depends upon the type and severity of deformity and in the initial stages involves measures such as strapping of the toes, toe protectors and modification of footwear. If these measures fail then you may require an operation. Operations differ between children and adults, and generally soft tissue procedures are preferred where possible in children, or when the joints are still flexible.