Posts for: December, 2020
Hammertoe involves the twisting or abnormal downward bending of a toe at the first joint. It can affect any toe, though it most commonly affects the lesser toes (the second through fifth toes). This condition is more common in women than in men. The team of expert podiatrists at Clintonville Foot & Ankle Group in Columbus and Dublin OH specializes in the treatment of foot and ankle conditions including hammertoe.
Types of Hammertoe
There are two types of hammertoe:
- Flexible: Flexible hammertoe is the less serious of the two types because, at this point, the toes are still able to bend and straighten at the affected joint. Typically, this type of hammertoe is diagnosed and treated early in the development of the condition.
- Rigid: Rigid hammertoe occurs when the symptoms are not treated early in the onset of the condition or in arthritis sufferers. Rigid hammertoe causes the tendons in the affected to become taut, twisting, and immobilizing the joint.
Treatment for Hammertoe
Columbus residents who have hammertoe may use the following treatments to alleviate discomfort:
- Positioning pads around the affected toe to reduce pressure and rebalance the muscles.
- Wearing orthotic devices in the shoes to rebalance the alignment of the toes and feet.
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain.
If hammertoe is causing you severe pain, at-home treatments have not been successful, or you are suffering from rigid hammertoe, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery may involve removing bone spurs and realigning the affected joint, releasing a taut tendon, repositioning a tendon, or correcting the toe’s alignment with a metal pin.
If you live in Columbus and you are seeking treatment for hammertoes, contact Clintonville Foot & Ankle Group at the Columbus office at (614) 267-8387, or the Dublin office at (614) 761-1466, to request an appointment.
- You experience pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints of the foot, particularly the toes
- You experience aching feet, particularly after activity or long periods of standing
- Some parts of your foot may feel oddly warm to the touch or may emanate heat while the rest of the foot feels normal
- The joints of the toes and ankles may swell
What does RA do to the feet and ankles?
Along with painful joints and stiffness, you may also notice other changes to your feet over time. Some of these changes include,
- Hammertoes and claw toes
- Circulation issues (e.g. atherosclerosis; Raynaud’s phenomena)
Since RA is not curable, your podiatrist will focus on crafting a treatment plan that will help to alleviate your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease to prevent severe and irreparable joint damage. Prescription medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are biologics that can reduce inflammation and prevent the progression of the disease.
Of course, there are also lifestyle changes you can make along with taking prescription medication that can also ease symptoms,
- Warm soaks
- Custom insoles or orthotics
- Pain relievers
- Stretching exercises for the feet
- Steroid injections (for targeting severe inflammation)
Most people with RA will eventually develop foot and ankle problems, which is why it’s important to have a podiatrist on your team that can help you manage your RA effectively.
If you have high arches, you may notice them but not experience any problems; however, those with high arches bear more weight on the balls and heels of the feet. Over time, you may develop corns, calluses, hammertoes, painful calf muscles, or foot pain. If you have high arches, a podiatrist can provide you with a variety of ways to support your feet to prevent these problems.
Consider wearing custom orthotics
Orthotics are special devices that are placed inside the shoes to improve stability and to cushion the foot. These devices can reduce shock absorption while standing, walking, or running. While there are over-the-counter orthotics that you can buy, they aren’t specifically designed to fit your feet or treat the issues you’re dealing with.
A podiatrist can provide you with custom-fitted orthotics that can help to support the arches of your feet and distribute weight more evenly among the foot to prevent heel pain and pain in the ball of the foot.
Wear shoes that support your feet
You must be also wearing shoes that can accommodate your high arches, especially if you are on your feet most of the day or participate in physical activities. Those with high arches are prone to stress fractures and ankle sprains, and you must consider shoes that have,
- A high top that can cushion and support the ankles
- A spacious toe box that won’t put pressure on the toes or cause irritation to preexisting deformities such as hammertoes or bunions
- A midsole that has added cushioning to reduce pressure
- A high-abrasion rubber outsole that will provide more durability (especially important for running shoes and athletic footwear)
Talk to your podiatrist about bracing
In some cases, your podiatrist may also recommend bracing the feet and ankles to help stabilize them and provide additional support. If your podiatrist has told you that you also have a drop foot, which means that you have trouble lifting the front of your foot, then bracing may also be a great way to manage this problem and provide a more natural and comfortable gait when walking.
While high arches alone aren’t a cause for concern it can be good to know about potential issues that it can cause along the way so you can take the necessary precautions now to protect your feet. If you are dealing with foot pain or other problems, a podiatrist can help.