Deformities of the foot

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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:32 pm
Although many foot deformities occur to individuals with diabetes (dye-uh-BEE-tees), they’re not uncommon to the general population, especially among older citizens. Hammertoes, bunions, corns and calluses, and plantar warts can affect anyone at any age. Hammertoes have a permanent sideways bend in your middle toe joint and can be aggravated by tight shoes. A better shoe or shoe inserts or pads may help, but surgery may be needed to repair the joint. Bunions are another deformity caused when the joint of your big toe becomes enlarged. As a result, the skin over the joint becomes swollen and is often quite tender. Bunions can be inherited as a family trait, develop with no recognizable cause, or can be caused by shoes that fit poorly. Although wearing proper fitting shoes usually alleviates pain, bunions can become disabling after many years and may require surgery. Corns and calluses are caused by pressure on the skin of your foot and can occur when the bones of your foot press against your shoe or when two foot bones press together. Most commonly, corns and calluses are found on your big toe and your fifth toe. In some cases, calluses can be found underneath the ends of the foot bones, and soft corns can occur between your toes. Treatment includes relieving pressure on the skin or modifying your shoe. Surgery is rarely required. Often mistaken for calluses, plantar warts occur on the sole of your foot. These warts, which grow inward, result from an infection by a specific virus, but can usually be treated with medication.

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