SUMMARY: Not familiar with the forefoot varus deformity? Read on to know more about this foot deformity and how you can correct it.
Forefoot varus is a condition where there is angulation or inversion of the bones of the front of the foot in relation to the heel. In a forefoot varus deformity, the bones on the inside of the foot are slightly high off the surface compared to the outer part of the foot during weight-bearing.
Normally, there are three points that touch the ground when weight-bearing – the heel, big toe joint, and little toe joint. Only two points – the heel and outer part of the foot – touch the ground when a person has the forefoot varus deformity. The foot compensates this by becoming pronated and causing further eversion of the heel so that the foot’s inner part touches the surface.
This results in several problems. First, the arch of the foot loses its integrity. The foot’s arch acts as a shock absorber, but its function is compromised when the forefoot varus deformity is present. Second, the pronated foot affects the natural alignment of the hip and knee.
What causes forefoot varus?
The deformity is usually caused by an elevated first metatarsal head, causing the other metatarsal joints to turn outward so the first metatarsal head can touch the ground. It can also be due to a bony block acquired from injury or trauma.
What are the symptoms of forefoot varus?
Forefoot varus symptoms include pain in the ankle, heel, arch, and ball of foot. The shin, Achilles tendon, and knees may also be painful. The symptoms are generally mild at first but progress with activity and age.
What are the possible complications of having forefoot varus?
This deformity can cause several conditions like plantar fasciitis or the inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to your toes. It can also cause severe low back pain and metatarsal stress fractures. Thus, if you have this deformity or you have any foot problem, it is best to see a doctor immediately.
How is forefoot varus corrected?
Forefoot varus that is caused by soft tissue stiffness or muscle weakness can be corrected by performing certain exercises. However, a rigid deformity would most likely not respond to the following corrective exercises.
The main goal of the exercise is to improve the strength of the muscles that are responsible for pulling the big toe to the ground. This then stabilizes the arch of the foot and keeps the heel in a stable position and prevents eversion. With regular exercise, muscle strength improves and the deformity is reversed.
Forefoot varus can also be treated by using the right footwear and making use of orthotic devices. Custom made orthotics can help support the muscles of the feet and keep them in the correct position. These devices are long-term solutions to prevent the reoccurrence of the deformity by correcting or controlling the cause of the problem. Orthotics for forefoot varus include heel cup and arch support that align forefoot to hindfoot.
Whether you have forefoot varus or any type of foot problem, it is important that you address the problem right away. Do not ignore a foot problem as it can worsen and cause severe pain. In some cases, it can cause other issues that will eventually affect your quality of life. Of course, it is still best to care for your feet and keep it strong and healthy.