Posts for category: Foot Condition
When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.
There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.
While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.
Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.
If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.
Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.
Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.
Any fracture to the foot or ankle should be taken seriously, but a Lisfranc fracture is particularly concerning for podiatrists. Because the fracture happens at the center of the foot where there are many connections, without prompt treatment this problem can significantly reduce your ability to walk or participate in athletic activities. The worse the fracture gets, the harder it is to treat. Learn more about Lisfranc fractures to see if this might be the foot problem you're experiencing.
What Is a Lisfranc Fracture?
When the bones at the center of the foot become fractured, broken or shift out of place it is called a Lisfranc injury. The ligaments that hold the bones together and cartilage at joints can also tear. This can happen when a heavy object falls on the foot, the patient has a bad fall or the foot twists unnaturally. Athletes, like soccer and football players, may be at risk for Lisfranc fractures.
Why It’s a Concern
A Lisfranc fracture is a major concern for podiatrists because if it is allowed to go untreated for an extended period of time it can lead to a disability of the foot. It often causes the bottom of the foot to swell, bruise and become darkly discolored (a telltale sign of a Lisfranc fracture). It can also be a very painful condition that is difficult to ignore.
Lisfranc Fracture Treatments
Your foot doctor will take X-rays to confirm that you have a Lisfranc injury. If so, conservative treatments may be implemented first, including wearing a removable cast or an orthotic device that will train your bones and joints into a position for healing. In a severe case where there’s a clear fracture or severe subluxation of the bones, you may have to have foot surgery. Two common surgical solutions are fusion (healing the bones together) and internal fixation (involves the use of screws and other devices to repair the foot).
Talk to a Podiatrist
The earlier you seek treatment for a Lisfranc fracture, the better for your long-term foot health. Your podiatrist will discuss your options and come up with an ideal plan for fixing the problem. Call a foot doctor today to schedule an exam and get an official diagnosis.
Understanding Claw and Mallet Toes
Think you may have mallet or claw toes? Mallet and claw toes form over years and are common in adults. Mallet and claw toes are among the most common toe problems. If you think you have mallet or claw toes, see a podiatrist right away. If you don't treat the problem right away, you are more likely to need surgery. Here's what you need to know about claw and mallet toes.
What Are Mallet and Claw Toes?
Mallet and claw toes are toes that are bent into an abnormal position. They may hurt or look odd, or both. These toe deformities usually occur in the small toes, not the big toes. Claw toe often affects the four small toes at the same time. The toes bend up at the joint where the foot and toes meet. This causes the toes to curl downward. Mallet toes often affect the second toes, but it may occur in the other toes too. Mallet toes bend down at the joint closest to the tip of the toes.
What Causes These Conditions?
Tight footwear is the most common cause of mallet and claw toes. Wearing tight footwear can cause the muscles of the toes to get out of balance. Less often, these conditions are linked with other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke, or an injury to the ankle or foot. Women are affected more often than men because they are more likely to wear narrow shoes or high heels.
How Are They Diagnosed?
Your podiatrist will take a detailed medical history and ask about your daily activities and footwear. A physical examination comes next, in which the level of deformity and scope of pain will be assessed. Diagnosis of these claw and mallet toes is usually obvious from the physical exam. To further evaluate the joints and bones of your feet and confirm a diagnosis, your podiatrist may order x-rays or other imaging tests.
How Are They Treated?
Buying shoes with more room in the toes, filing down calluses and corns, and padding the toes most often relieve the pain. If you have pain, your doctor may put a splint or pad on the toe. A custom orthotic device may be placed in your shoe to help control the muscle/tendon imbalance and alleviate your pain. This keeps the toe from rubbing on the top of the shoe. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to ease pain and inflammation. If these steps don’t work, you may need surgery to straighten the toes.
Podiatric medicine a branch of science that is devoted to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions of the ankle, foot, and lower extremity. Podiatrists diagnose and treat various foot problems, including claw and mallet toes. They offer a variety of treatments for claw and mallet toes. If you think you may have claw or mallet toes, a podiatrist in your area can help you achieve real relief.
With age, it’s not uncommon to experience pain and stiffness in your feet and ankles. Carefully monitoring your pain is important, however, as this noticeable discomfort could be an early indication of a more serious condition known as arthritis. Arthritis is a group of conditions that typically involves pain and inflammation in the joints. There are many types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common form. Left untreated, pain caused by arthritis will get worse, eventually leading to a joint weakness that can interfere with the most basic daily activities.
Arthritis can have a serious impact on the structure and function of your feet and ankles. See a podiatrist if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Chronic pain or tenderness
- Limited mobility or motion
- Stiffness early in the day
- Changes in skin, including growths and rashes
Whenever you notice a change in your lower extremities, contact our podiatrists at our practice for a thorough evaluation. When detected early, proper treatment can slow the development of arthritis and get you back to your active lifestyle.
Treating Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle
Our practice can help you determine the best treatment option depending on the type and severity of your arthritis.
Treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections for the joint
- Shoe inserts, pads, braces or arch supports
- Physical therapy and exercise
- Custom-designed shoes
- Weight management
When arthritis doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be considered as the last resort.
A thorough evaluation of your health and type of arthritis will allow our podiatrists to recommend the best treatment plan for you. Arthritis is a disabling disease, but with early detection, you can help manage the pain associated with arthritis of the foot and ankle and maintain a healthy, fulfilling life. Allow our podiatrists to assess your foot and ankle pain and get you back on your feet.
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, located in the back of the lower leg and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is crucial as it facilitates walking and running by helping to raise the heel off of the ground. While the tendon can withstand immense force, it’s also surprisingly vulnerable. Injuries to the Achilles tendon require prompt treatment.
When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from excessive use, tendinitis can weaken it over time and cause small tears. Athletes are at a high risk for Achilles tendon injuries, which often occur at the start of a new exercise or training program, or due to not having enough rest or recovery time.
You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete to suffer an Achilles tendon injury. People with flat feet, arthritis and other foot problems are also more susceptible to develop Achilles tendinitis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Mild pain after running or exercising that intensifies gradually
- Localized pain along the tendon, especially after running
- Tenderness near the heel bone, with pain being worse first thing in the morning
- Stiffness and limited range of motion in the lower leg and ankle
- Swelling around the tendon
- When the disorder progresses to degeneration, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules in the area where the tissue is damaged
To prevent injuries to the Achilles tendon, strengthening and stretching the calf muscles through daily exercise is recommended. Alternating intense exercise with low-impact workouts and wearing proper shoes for your foot type and activity can also help reduce your risk for injury.
Any time you experience pain, tenderness or swelling along the Achilles tendon, visit us for professional diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an injured Achilles tendon should begin right away with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Without prompt care, Achilles tendinitis will get progressively worse, thus increasing the risk for further deterioration and rupture. As a last resort, surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.
Our office can provide the best diagnosis and treatment, for optimal recovery. If you suspect Achilles tendinitis is holding you back, call us today to schedule an appointment, and get on the road to walking with ease again.