Posts for: September, 2017
It’s strange that after all these years of blogging, we haven’t focused on one of the most common foot illnesses: hammertoes. When I say hammertoe, pictures of burly men hopping about and cursing after hitting themselves with a hammer comes to mind, but a hammertoe has nothing to do with hammers at all – except for the shape. A hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the middle joint of…you guessed it, your toes.
The characteristic “hammer” shape of the bent toe, usually the second, third, or fourth toe, can identify this condition. There is also a variation of this deformity called a mallet toe, which is a bend in the first joint of the toe (closest to the toenail). Essentially it looks like you have curled up a toe or two permanently. And unfortunately, unless the cause is remedied, it won’t uncurl. There are three main causes of hammertoes: the wrong shoes, sudden trauma, or a muscle imbalance.
Let’s face it, women are more likely to cram their feet into uncomfortable shoes for the sake of fun or fashion, which means women are also more likely than men to develop hammertoes. Just as waves crashing against rock slowly rub the stone down over time, so too will the wrong shoes forces your toes out of alignment, causing unpleasant side effects and potentially permanent damage. Toes that become bunched up inside tight or ill-fitting shoes can still give trouble, even when you switch to better shoes. Corns and calluses formed by constant friction make for unpleasant walking companions. Those with Morton’s Toe (a second toe that is longer than your first toe) need to be especially careful when choosing shoes as they are at increased risk of developing a hammertoe.
It seems obvious to say that direct trauma to a toe may deform it, but it takes a certain type of trauma to create a hammertoe. Those traumas include stubbing, jamming, or breaking your toe. It generally doesn’t just break into the perfect hammertoe shape though. Often these injuries can cause lasting bone deformity or lead to changes in toe flexibility or strength all of which can ultimately lead to a hammertoe.
Technically, all hammertoes are a result of a muscle imbalance. When an outside force (e.g. your shoes) pushes your toes in one direction or another, the muscles and tendons will stretch and contract to adapt to the shape. If they adapt too much and become loose or tight, this imbalance will remain long after you take your shoes off.These muscle imbalances may also be the result of a preexisting condition such as arthritis or be exacerbated by unrelated conditions like diabetes.
In the end, hammertoes are a relatively straightforward condition; things bend and stretch and if they are stretched one way too long it leads to deformity, thus, a hammertoe. Get these fixed as soon as you see them developing! If caught in the early stages, hammertoes may be fixed with protective padding, special taping techniques, custom orthotics, shoe and lifestyle changes, and exercise. If the hammertoe progresses too far, surgery may be the only option. Don’t let it get that far. See your podiatrist today about your hammertoes!
Right now, the largest category 5 hurricane since 1885 is tearing over small islands and barreling towards the US south coast. Since our feet seem to be a small matter compared to this, we are taking a break from our regularly scheduled program to bring you a very short guide to charity giving for hurricane relief.
Money is the Best Option
Unless you live close to a hurricane affected area, the old concert t-shirt you plan on donating won’t make it down there to someone. If you want to make the maximum amount of impact, send money and let the charity use it for whatever they really need. If you don’t like the idea of just giving money, look to see if any hurricane relief centers are being set up in your area for displaced victims of the storm. Don’t just think about the people either; over 160 animals have already been flown from Florida shelters to Columbus. (All of these animals will be up for adoption here.) So if you want to help, either donate to a worthy cause, get involved in your local community relief efforts, or maybe the best thing you can do is adopt a new friend to make room in the pet shelters. However you choose to give, do it now.
Check your Charity
Donating money during a tragedy, such as the flooding in Houston and the destruction to come in Florida, is a no brainer, but before you break out the checkbook, be sure to check the charity you are donating to. https://www.charitynavigator.org/ is a great resource for checking out any charity you might donate to. It can tell you everything from how much the CEO makes to how much of each dollar makes it to actual victims. Some of the best right now include American Red Cross, ASPCA, All Hands Volunteers, Feeding America, Salvation Army, United Way, YMCA, and even some non-charity sites such as GoFundMe. Check more of your local news for charities in your area providing direct relief.