Foot deformities

Foot deformities caused by birth defects or external damages could lead to complications. Depending on the type and severity, a foot deformity can go unnoticed or cause pain when walking and performing daily activities. Deformities that cause problems can be treated through either nonsurgical or surgical care.


  • Cavus foot (high arch) is when there is an abnormally high arch in the foot and the ball of the foot carries most of the weight in movement.
  • Clubfoot is when an infant is born with feet turned inward and pointed down. If left untreated, clubfoot causes inability to walk normally.
  • Equinus foot is when the foot points down with the heel off the ground. This condition forces you to walk on the front and middle part of the foot.
  • Fallen arch is when the arches in the feet lower over time. Fallen arches can develop into flat foot — when the sole completely touches the ground.
  • Splayfloot (flat arch) is a deformity in which the bones in the foot spread out and widen the front of the foot.


  • Calluses due to thickened skin
  • Changes in gait
  • Pain in feet and other areas of the body
  • Strain on other joints


  • Wearing proper footwear can prevent several types of toe and foot deformities.
  • Foot deformities determined by genetics are correctable, but not preventable.

Risk factors

  • Health conditions, such as muscle or nerve conditions that weaken the muscles
  • Crowding in the uterus
  • A parent who was born with a foot deformity


  • Physical examination. The physician will examine the area to suggest proper treatment options, rehabilitation or preventive care.
  • Imaging. The healthcare provider may order X-rays to aid in formulating a diagnosis.


The healthcare provider will recommend either nonsurgical or surgical treatment based on the child’s specific diagnosis.

Follow-up care

  • After surgery, physician instructions could include rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE method), use of cane or crutches to assist in recovery, and walking restrictions after surgery.
  • Discuss nonsurgical follow-up care specific to your child’s diagnosis with his or her physician.


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