Congenital Abnormalities of the Feet

3 min read

In many cases, foot pain is caused by external factors, like wearing shoes that don’t fit properly or participating in sports activities that strain the body.  However, in some cases, problems with the feet are caused by congenital abnormalities.  Let’s take a look at some of the most common congenital abnormalities of the feet.

Flat Foot

Flat foot is a disorder that refers to the absence of an arch in the foot.  There are several types of flat foot.  Though some of the characteristics may differ from one type to another, they all have in common a partial or total loss of arch in the foot.  In addition, there are several other symptoms that are shared by most varieties of flat foot.  These shared symptoms include the following:

  1. Toe drift, which is a condition in which the front of the foot and the toes point outward.
  2. The ankle turns in and the heel points outward.
  3. The Achilles tendon is tight, which pulls the heel off the ground early in the gait cycle.
  4. Bunions and hammertoes are likely to develop.

Flexible Flat Foot

One of the most common types of flat foot is flexible flat foot.  It is called flexible flat foot because the foot is flat while the person is standing, but the arch returns when weight is removed from the foot.  This type of flat foot typically develops in both feet during childhood and becomes progressively worse as the person gets older.  Over time, the deformity of the foot gets worse, which causes the tendons and ligaments in the foot to stretch, tear, and become inflamed.

Common symptoms of flexible flat foot include pain in the foot (specifically the heel, arch, and ankle), rolled-in ankle, shin splints, achiness and fatigue of the feet and legs, and pain in the lower back, hips, and knees.

Flexible flat foot is usually treated by modifying the shoes to provide additional arch support or using custom orthotic devices.  Both of these options serve to reinforce the arch with the necessary support.


A Bunion is a bony protrusion of the big toe joint that can cause friction and pain when wearing shoes. A bunion occurs near the base of the big toe, at the joint.  When a bunion occurs on the 5th toe, it is called a bunionette.  Bunions often make the big toe look like it is crooked, as if it points toward the smaller toes.  Bunions develop when the big toe is crowded against the smaller toes, bending the joint in the opposite direction.  This results in the joint of the toe becoming enlarged, which further crowds the smaller toes.

In appearance, a bunion resembles a big lump on the side of the big toe, at the toe’s base.  Often, the surrounding skin is red and calloused.  Bunions are typically somewhat painful, primarily causing pain in the area of the foot immediately surrounding the bunion.  People who have bunions report the pain is worst when they are walking or just wearing shoes.

Hammer Toe

An obvious, visible sign of hammer toe or mallet toe is an abnormal bend in the joint of the toe.  It can occur in just one of the toes, or multiple toes.  It can be painful to move the toes that are affected, and corns or calluses can develop there.

If you suffer from a congenital abnormality of the feet, Foot Solutions UK can help.  Stop in to Foot Solutions UK to learn more about how custom arch supports, and supportive shoes can help to relieve your pain.