What is a hammertoe?
A hammertoe occurs when the middle joint of a toe is bent, giving it the appearance of a hammer. There is usually severe planes of dislocation, depending on severity.
Which toes does this affect?
A hammertoe occurs in the lesser toes, 2 through 5.
How did I develop a hammer toe?
Hammertoes result from a muscle imbalance between the two sides of the joint. This could be a biomechanical issue you were born with or even a tight calf muscle, known as equinus. If the toe is bent and held in one position long enough, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out.
Does it hurt?
Not all hammertoes hurt, but the misaligned joint can cause pressure on the top of the toe when wearing certain shoes. This can lead to rubbing, calluses, and pain. This can also lead to pain in the ball of the foot due to tearing of the tissues or pressure on the nerves.
Will it go away?
A hammertoe will not disappear without treatment. When they are flexible, they can be splinted for comfort.
Does it really need to be fixed?
Not all hammertoes need surgery. Generally, if they cause regular pain, treatment should be sought. An important fact to consider is that the recovery and intervention for rigid, longstanding deformities is more significant.
What are my treatment options?
Conservative treatment starts with new accommodative shoes that have soft, roomy toe boxes. Shoes should be at least one-half inch longer than your longest toe. Avoid wearing tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes. Your doctor may recommend that you use commercially available straps, cushions, or non-medicated corn pads to relieve symptoms. Surgical correction is available for severe cases.
There are many options that can temporarily relieve issues from hammertoes before surgery is needed. Call the FAAWC today to fix your hammertoe!
Do you have a bunion? Has it grown progressively worse despite conservative treatments? Are you nervous about bunion surgery? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should keep reading.
Many of our patients worry about bunion surgery and want to know more about it. The truth? There are actually over 150 different recognized operations to correct bunions (Hallux Valgus). Although the techniques may vary, the goal is the same—realign the soft tissue and bone to straighten the great toe joint.
Your foot & ankle surgeon will determine the best surgical procedure for you based on the severity of the bunion, the degree of dislocation, your activity level, and your overall health.
For mild deformities, a bunionectomy is commonly employed. During this procedure, the bump of the bunion is shaved down, a process called an ostectomy. The tissues surrounding the joint are then realigned to hold the big toe straight.
For more severe bunions, an osteotomy of the first metatarsal (the bone just behind the big toe joint) or midfoot is performed. This achieves a more powerful correction. If the joint shows signs of hypermobility, a fusion of the joint (Lapidus procedure) may be necessary for a reliable correction.
The board-certified podiatrists at the FAAWC are well versed in all types of bunion surgeries and can help choose the right one for your unique needs. If you are tired of living with bunion pain, visit the FAAWC today to learn more about your options.
Are you someone who avoids the podiatrist because you fear medical procedures? Well, if you’re living with an ingrown toenail, you have nothing to worry about from our corrective procedure.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail corner or tip begins to grow into the skin. Not all ingrown toenails are painful, but the nail exerts pressure on the skin, causing secondary inflammation near the nail border. You can generally identify an ingrown toenail by its appearance.
Ingrown toenails can recur even after nail clipping. If you experience pain, redness, and drainage from an ingrown toenail, you are likely a candidate for a corrective procedure.
This procedure takes place in our office and can be completed in about 15 minutes. First, your podiatrist numbs the affected toe. Next, the nail border is loosened and the ingrown portion of the nail is removed. Lastly, a medicine is applied to the nail so that portion of the nail does not regrow.
Patients may experience some mild soreness after the procedure, but are able to resume normal activity almost immediately. Full healing time is approximately 2-4 weeks. All of the podiatrists at the FAAWC are board certified in surgery and have performed numerous ingrown toenail corrective procedures.
If you’re suffering from a painful or unsightly ingrown toenail, call the FAAWC today to schedule your appointment.
If you see a bony bump at the base of your big toe and your big toe is pushing toward your second toe, you may have a bunion. A bunion, also called Hallux Valgus, forms when the joint capsule and tissues are stretched, allowing for an abnormal motion of the toe. Over time, the bunion will be “track bound” or unable to be moved back into the anatomic position.
Bunions are usually the result of inheriting a biomechanical instability. This could be flat feet, tight calf muscles, excessive flexibility of the ligaments, or abnormal bone structure. Arthritic conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis can also affect bunion formation. While tight shoes don’t cause bunions, they can accelerate the process.
Bunion pain is characterized by a dull ache. Though additional pressure from shoes can lead to a deeper, burning pain. While not all bunions hurt, they can lead to other issues such as bursitis, hammertoes, and other forefoot conditions.
As soon as you notice a bunion forming, you should visit a podiatrist. They will complete a baseline assessment and suggest treatments and preventative measures to stop the bunion from worsening. If you begin experiencing pain from your bunion, a podiatrist can help with that too. Bunions sometimes occur during juvenile years, and those should be checked at the onset.
Your podiatrist may recommend padding the bunion, wearing wider shoes, and utilizing custom orthotics to help control loose joints. Injections for pain and mobility are also available. Joint alignment can also be restored through surgical correction.
If you have a bunion or suspect one is forming, call the FAAWC today to schedule an appointment.
Whether you enjoy traversing the winter landscapes or you stay cozied up inside under the blankets, proper foot care during winter is critical for your health. If your feet aren’t dressed properly when you step outside, you are putting yourself at risk for a variety of cold injuries. Inside your home, feet still play a large part in body temperature regulation and comfort. Consider these handy tips to keep your feet healthy this winter.
When You’re Inside:
- At a minimum, wear socks indoors to keep your feet toasty warm. This helps your body retain heat, so you can lower the thermostat and your utility bill.
- Wearing shoes inside is better than a pair of socks. Designate a pair of shoes or slippers for indoor use only and put them on as soon as you get home.
- Use rugs and runners on cold floors to help protect feet if you insist on going barefoot. This can also help prevent slips and falls from snow tracked inside.
- Don’t put your feet next to a direct heat source to warm them. If your feet are cold, you may not feel the true heat of the fireplace or radiator.
When You’re Outside:
- Wear thick, sweat-wicking socks such as wool. Don’t be fooled into thinking ski socks are warmer. They simply have extra cushioning where the ski boot hits the foot and shin.
- Change your socks and shoes immediately if your feet get wet. Wet feet are subject to frostbite and other cold injuries.
- Winter shoes and boots need to have a good tread for walking on snow and ice. Avoid wearing high heels or flip-flops that expose feet to the cold.
READ MORE: Cold Injuries
If you want to avoid cold injuries and stay healthy this winter, then you need to pay attention to your feet. Proper foot care in winter can help promote overall well-being and health. If you are experiencing pain or symptoms of a cold injury, call the FAAWC today to schedule your appointment.
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