A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.
During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.
However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.
Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.
Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.
If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
- Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
- Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
- Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.
If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.
Dealing with a bunion? A bunion is a misalignment of the big toe joint which causes the big toe to deviate. Bunions sometimes run in families. Bunions can also be caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow or high heeled. Clintonville Foot & Ankle Group, which has offices in Clintonville, Dublin, and Southwest Columbus, OH, offers a complete range of podiatric services to the patients they serve. Here's how a podiatrist can help with bunions.
Medicine. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol may ease any pain. If over-the-counter painkillers aren't working to ease your pain, your podiatrist may recommend a prescription medication. Antibiotics may also be needed if the skin and tissues over the deformity become infected.
Padding. Your podiatrist in Columbus, OH, may recommend bunion pads to treat your bunion. Bunion pads are typically made of skin, mole, felt, or gel and are thin enough to fit comfortably in your shoes. Pads placed over the areas of the bunion will ease painful shoe pressure and friction and allow you to continue an active life. Padding will also prevent bunions from getting worse.
Orthotics. Your podiatrist may recommend custom-made orthotics to help position your feet correctly as they strike the ground. Orthotics are shoe inserts or footbeds that are inserted into shoes. Research has shown that orthotics can improve joint function, ease bunion pain, and prevent progression of bunions. Podiatrists offer different custom-made orthotics to fit your needs.
Steroid Injections. Steroid injections, or cortisone injections, can relieve your pain temporarily by reducing inflammation. The steroid injections include a corticosteroid medication and local anesthetic. Steroid injections allow podiatrists to deliver a high dose of medication to the problem area.
Bunion Surgery. Generally, if your bunions aren't painful, you don't need surgery. If conservative measures fail and you still have pain that interferes with your daily activities, you may need bunion surgery. numerous surgical procedures for bunions are performed to treat bunions. The aim of surgery is to correct the deformity and eliminate discomfort.
Say hello to healthy and happy feet! For fast relief from bunion pain, call Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group's offices to schedule an appointment- Clintonville, OH at (614) 267-8387; (614) 761-1466 in Dublin, OH; (614) 272-2313 for Southwest Columbus, OH. Our bunion treatments will do and your feet a world of good!
While there are many people with flat feet, often times they won’t even know it; however, there are others with flat feet that regularly experience pain, soreness, and other problems. While flat feet is rarely considered a serious issue, if you are dealing with problems as a result of your flat feet it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist who can offer up ways to prevent problems.
How to tell if you have flat feet
If the arches of your feet touch the floor when you stand then you have flat feet. The arches of our feet don’t actually develop until around the age of six; however, sometimes flat feet develop due to injury or repeated stress on the feet.
Symptoms of flat feet
The most common symptom of flat feet is foot pain that originates in the heels and arches. You may find that the pain gets worse when standing or moving for long periods of time. Those who are physically active may experience pain more regularly. Sometime swelling on the inside of the foot or ankle may also occur.
Potential complications of flat feet
Since flat feet can be responsible for misalignments, this can lead to ankle and knee problems. If you are noticing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or lower back pain then you will want to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to find out what’s going on.
Treating flat feet
If you aren’t experiencing pain or other issues then you won’t require any treatment for your flat feet. While we can’t fix flat feet our podiatrist can provide you with simple solutions to reduce pain and discomfort associated with faulty biomechanics within the feet. Common ways to prevent flat foot-related pain include:
- Using arch supports in your shoes, which can take pressure off the arches and provide cushioning and support when standing or moving.
- Performing certain stretching exercises prescribed by a podiatrist. There are specific exercises designed to stretch the Achilles tendon to alleviate and prevent foot pain.
- Wearing the appropriate footwear that provides further arch support. Shoes that are old and worn, as well as certain styles such as sandals or flip-flops won’t provide your feet with the proper support they need.
- Undergoing physical therapy if you are dealing with foot pain due to overuse injuries, which is common among athletes. Physical therapy can help strengthen certain ligaments, tendons and muscles of the feet and ankles to prevent excessive wear and tear, as well as pain and soreness in the arches and heels.
If you are dealing with pain due to flat feet and can’t seem to get your discomfort under control then you will want to talk with a podiatrist who can recommend certain exercises, proper footwear, and custom orthotics to improve the health of your feet. Talk to a podiatrist today.
Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
A hammertoe is a contracture, or shortening and rigidity, of the connective tissues in the smaller toes of either foot. The Institute for Preventive Foot Health states that about 7 million American adults have this condition and need treatment. At Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group in Columbus, your podiatrists--Drs. Griffith, Thomas and Barron--see this progressive deformity all the time. They can help you have pain-free, functional feet again.
Causes and symptoms of hammertoes
Toes two through five can take on a claw- or mallet-like appearance--hence, the name hammertoes. Medically termed hallux abductovalgus, this painful problem crops up in women more than men, probably because of shoes with high heels and cramped toe boxes. Other causes are heredity, diabetic neuropathy, trauma and the simple wear and tear of the aging process.
As the problem progresses, the affected toe or toes stiffen, lose range of motion and can be very painful to walk on. Corn and callus formation adds to the discomfort as the toes rub against the inside of shoes.
Help for hammertoes
If your Columbus podiatrist examines and X-rays your feet early on in hammertoe development, he can more easily and successfully treat the condition without interventions such as cortisone injections or surgery (tendon release in the toe). Your foot doctor will develop a treatment plan to balance your muscles, bones, and connective tissues in the foot, allowing for more functional, free and comfortable movement of the toes.
Therefore, he likely will advise these interventions according to your specific needs:
- In-office removal of large and painful corns and calluses
- Corn and callus padding to reduce irritation
- Well-constructed foot wear with lower heels, sufficient room in the toes and proper arch support
- Custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) to correct gait problems
- Splints to re-align the toe
- Over the counter pain medications
Many people who have a hammertoe also have a bunion, a bulging of the big toe joint and inward turning of the toe. Many of the same common sense measures which help hammertoes relieve the progression and discomfort of bunions, too.
Get some relief
At Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group, your podiatrists and their professional team get people of all ages back on their feet and moving comfortably once again. If you are seeing and feeling changes in your foot structure, level of comfort and ability to move freely, call one of our three offices for a consultation. Hammertoes are just one of the many conditions we treat.
For Columbus, OH, phone (614) 267-8387. In Dublin, OH, call (614) 761-1466, and for the Southwest location, phone (614) 272-2313.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.