Foot Malformations and Arthritis
Hallux Valgus (Bunion)
What is a bunion? A bunion, also called hallux valgus, is the painful lateral deviation of the big toe caused by an increased angle between the first and second metatarsal bones. After exploring conservative options, often the best way to correct painful hallux valgus is through surgery. A hallux valgus needs careful examination and pre-operative planning to properly straighten the toe and alleviate pain symptoms. Most patients can bear weight the day after surgery using a special shoe.
Hammertoe, Claw Toe and Mallet Toes
A variety of conditions can affect the smaller toes. Each toe consists of 3 different bones connected by small joints, stabilised by a complicated mechanism of ligaments and tendons. Should this sophisticated system destabilize, the result can be a deformity of the toes, such as hammertoe, mallet toe and claw toe. These malformations, most commonly caused by unsupportive footwear, are characterised by painful bent toes. These conditions rarely correct themselves and must be treated to prevent worsening. Once the deformity has advanced, a small surgical procedure such as arthrodesis or resection arthroplasty can provide pain relief.
Overlapping toes can create foot pain and discomfort. The reason for the appearance of this malformation is most often an imbalance in the lesser toes joints. Realignment can be achieved by various surgical methods such as tendon transfers and osteotomies. When treated early, more conservative methods can be effective.
Tailors bunion, also known as bunionette, is to the little toe what hallux valgus (bunion) is to the big toe. It is characterized by pain and inflammation of the little toe, with a visible deviation to the medial side. It is sometimes accompanied by an overlapping toe deformity and pain of the fifth toe. As in other conditions, it is possible to treat a Tailors bunion with conservative methods. Should pain persist after non-surgical treatment, a surgical procedure will be recommended.
Hallux Rigidus (Arthritis)
Pain in the foot can be caused by arthritis. When arthritis pain affects the big toe joint, this is known as hallux rigidus. In patients with hallux rigidus, pain very often begins on the upper part of the big toe joint with swelling gradually developing and increasing stiffness. Conservative and surgical treatments are possible depending on the degree of the osteoarthritis. Mild hallux rigidus can be treated with special insoles, physiotherapy, or injections that relieve pain. Moderate hallux rigidus can be successfully treated with minor surgical intervention to remove the osseous spurs that cause impingement and pain. End stage arthritis most often requires arthrodesis to fuse the big toe joint and relieve pain.
What is arthrodesis?
Arthrodesis is an operation in which the big toe joint, which in most cases already has very limited range of motion due to the arthritis, is fused with the help of screws or plates to remove pain.