Hallux valgus and bunions | Hammer toes | Misalignment | Arthrosis | Accidents and injuries
Although we depend on our feet our whole life long, we tend to pay them very little attention. However, our feet are complex masterpieces of nature. On average, each of us walks 10,000 steps per day, or 160,000 kilometres over a lifetime. Ill-fitting, fashionable shoes that are often too narrow, and with heels that are too high, place a significant burden on our feet. We only notice our feet when they start to hurt. In the best case scenario, the pain will go away by itself.
If injuries or hereditary factors are also involved, the result may be a serious and very painful condition. If advanced deformities of the foot are present, surgery is unavoidable, as this is the only way to achieve a fast, effective and sustainable treatment outcome. Especially in older patients, rapid pain relief and regaining full mobility are particularly important. This is now possible with the latest methods in foot surgery and the implants that are currently available. As well as restoring functionality, today the aesthetics of the foot can also be taken into account. The objective of any surgical procedure is always a result that is as pleasant and appealing as possible.
Hallux valgus is probably the most widespread malalignment in the forefoot and mainly affects women in mid-life.
The appearance is very familiar: the first metatarsal deviates towards the centre of the foot, usually as a result of a splayed foot, and the big toe (the hallux) is forced outwards due to pressure from the shoe. This malalignment can vary greatly in the way it looks visually, but the degree of the deviation is not indicative of the corresponding symptoms. These can be as follows: pain when wearing shoes, especially on the inner side of the big toe joint (where a bunion can form due to the ongoing pressure), displacement of the smaller toes outwards/upwards with development of hammer toes, unstable gait due to changes in biomechanics, and even pain when at rest.
Indications and methods of surgical correction are always based on the subjective experience of the patient and are determined in a preliminary consultation. It is important to know that with the methods and implants available today, the success rate of corrective surgery is around 98%. The times when bunion surgery had a bad reputation because of poor results are definitely past.
Pain following the operation is also very manageable as a result of the advanced anaesthesia techniques used at the Pyramid Clinic.
© By Dr Urs Graf
Small, but often very painful. This is an accurate description of hammer toes, which are frequently the reason why people seek out a foot surgeon.
Like hallux valgus and bunions, the appearance of a hammer toe is very familiar: the middle joint (usually of the second toe) points upwards and stiffens in this position over time, while the end joint is overstretched. Pressure on the toes from shoes can cause corns to develop on the top of the toe, which increase the pain and may even lead to ulceration and infection. Pads and corn plasters do not help in this situation, because the additional material exerts even more pressure on the painful site.
The development of a hammer toe is often caused by the presence of a hallux valgus (bunion), which simultaneously pushes the toe up and back. The malalignment becomes fixed over time and leads to the symptoms mentioned above. By this stage, to correct the hammer toe, surgery is ultimately unavoidable.
There are various treatment options available nowadays. The malalignment, which may have been present for years, can cause the toe to stiffen in the wrong position, damaging the middle joint so much that it can no longer be saved. It can therefore be set in the correct position without any loss of function. If the ligament at the base of the toe is torn, preventing the toe from being overstretched upwards, this can be repaired. This often results in correction of the hammer toe.
These days the results of corrective procedures for hammer toes are very good. The times when surgery for hammer toes resulted in nothing but short stumps pointing in different directions are definitely over.
© By Dr Urs Graf
- Claw toes
- Complex misalignments of the toes and forefoot
- Forefoot pain (metatarsalgia)
- “Tailor's bunion” (digitus quintus varus)
- Valgus deformation of the lesser toes (“windswept toes”)
- Hallux limitus/rigidus
- Arthrosis of the tarsal joint and ankle
- Pinched nerves
- Ankle impingement syndrome (“footballer’s ankle”)
- Ankle instability
- Breaks in the tarsal joint, bones of the foot and ankle
- Heel pain (“heel spurs”)
- Ingrown toenails (unguis incarnatus)
- Ganglion cysts
Our foot surgeons work closely with the podiatry practice at the Haus zur Pyramide.