Foot Deformities

Matthew J. Harrison, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Lower Extremity Specialist located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

Many types of foot deformities affect the structure and function of the foot that may lead to chronic foot pain. Matthew J. Harrison, MD, uses the latest techniques and scientific data to diagnose and treat foot deformities. To schedule a consultation for your foot deformity, call the office in Santa Barbara, California, today, or book an appointment online.

Foot Deformities Q & A

What are foot deformities?

Your foot is a complex body part made up of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. The components of your foot work together to support the weight of your body during locomotion.

A foot deformity is an abnormal alignment in one or more of the structures that make up your foot. You may be born with a foot deformity, or it may develop over time.

What are types of foot deformities?

There are many types of foot deformities. Some of the most common include:


With a flatfoot deformity, the arch of your foot collapses. A flatfoot deformity may occur in childhood or develop later in life. Though a flatfoot deformity doesn’t always cause pain, it may affect your biomechanics and gait and place stress on your ankles and knees.

Cavus foot

With a cavus foot, the arch is excessively high, which may cause the heel of the foot to turn inward. Like flatfoot, a cavus foot deformity affects biomechanics, gait, and other weight-bearing joints. 


A hammertoe is an abnormal bending or curling of one or more of your smaller toes. 


A bunion affects the joint in the big toe, causing it to deviate toward the smaller toes. This causes the base of the toe joint to jut out, creating the bunion bump. 

How are foot deformities diagnosed?

Dr. Harrison conducts an in-depth clinical exam to diagnose a foot deformity. During your evaluation, he reviews your symptoms, medical and family history, and evaluates your feet and ankles.

Dr. Harrison utilizes advanced weight-bearing imaging technology to aid in the diagnosis, analysis, and treatment of foot deformities. His office, The Santa Barbara Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Center, is the only office on the central coast to use the pedCAT 3 Dimensional scanner. 

How are foot deformities treated?

Dr. Harrison customizes treatment plans for foot deformities based on deformity type, the severity of your symptoms, age, and how your deformity affects your daily life.

When possible, Dr. Harrison takes a non-operative approach and may recommend:

  • Orthotics or braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Change in footwear
  • Foot padding
  • Toe braces or toe crests for hammertoes
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

If non-operative treatments fail to alleviate your symptoms or your deformity worsens, Dr. Harrison may recommend surgery.

To get help for your foot deformity, call the office of Matthew J. Harrison, MD, or book an appointment online today.