A hammertoe deformity is characterized by one or more of your middle toes abnormally bending at the joints, causing the toe to take on the shape of a hammer, hence the name. Because of the rubbing of the bent toe on your footwear, you may also notice corns, calluses, and other problems like blisters forming in response.
Hammertoes result from an imbalance between the tendon and muscle that usually hold the toe in the correct position. The imbalance can be inherited and is often exacerbated by wearing high heeled shoes or ones that don’t offer enough arch support. Damage to the foot from an accident or injury or from arthritic complications can also cause or exacerbate hammertoes.
Hammertoes do not improve on their own, so it is important to visit your foot care professional for treatment.
Conservative treatments for hammertoes include:
- The right shoes—Low heeled shoes with a roomy toe box will help relieve the pressure that is contributing to the bending of the toe.
- Strapping and splinting—These devices can be used to realign the bent toes.
- Medications—Steroid injections and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or other medications can reduce pain and swelling.
- Stretching—Exercises such as picking up small stones with your toes can help increase strength and flexibility.
- Orthotics—Specially-fabricated shoe inserts can control the imbalance between the muscle and tendon that is causing the toe to bend in the first place.
- Isolation pads—Corns and calluses can be cushioned to eliminate the source of rubbing.
If your hammertoes are very rigid or painful, surgery may be necessary to straighten them out. This can usually be performed on an outpatient basis by your foot care specialist, so be sure to consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
It’s important to be aware of what to expect as your feet age along with the rest of your body and to remember that it’s essential to take care of your feet to maintain your overall health. Problems with your feet are often a harbinger of other health problems, so taking care of your feet first is a great way to notice and mitigate these other potential issues.
Problems with your feet that often become more obvious as you age include the following:
Strained tendons and ligaments—As your tendons and ligaments decrease in strength and flexibility, you may experience arch problems, tendonitis, and muscle sprains and strains.
Various types of arthritis—Inflammation caused by everyday use takes a toll on your feet. Frequently the large joint of the big toe is one of the first to be severely affected, in addition to the ankle joint. Toe deformities including bunions and hammertoes are often exacerbated by arthritis.
Swelling of the feet and ankles—As we age, hormonal changes can cause the feet to become more inflamed. Vascular problems like peripheral artery disease and varicose veins as well as some medications can contribute to this inflammation.
Balance problems—These can often be caused by complications from diabetes and other age-related factors and may lead to falls. Custom made foot orthotics that provide stability and support can help prevent falls by minimizing ankle movements.
Skin conditions—Cancerous skin lesions are more likely to appear on the feet and ankles as we age. Other skin issues that often worsen with age include cracked heels and corns and calluses.
Though we can’t stop the aging process, we can take good care of our feet and slow the process down. Foot and ankle problems can be difficult to diagnose and treat, so it’s important that you have your foot and ankle needs evaluated by a foot care professional. If you are experiencing age-related foot problems, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Bunions are often thought of as a problem for the elderly, but they can affect people of all ages. The most obvious sign of this condition is that the big toe pushes against the second toe causing a bump to develop on the top or side of the big toe. This can also occur on the other side of your foot with the pinky toe pushing into the fourth toe. When a bump forms on the pinky toe it is sometimes called a bunionette. Each of these conditions can be very painful and cause other problems to develop including corns and calluses.
Some of the best conservative and noninvasive treatments for bunions include the following:
- Resting and icing—Apply ice to the swollen area for ten-minute intervals several times a day to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Pain relievers—NSAID pain relievers such as ibuprofen and Aleve will also reduce swelling.
- Properly fitted shoes—Wear shoes with a wide toe box and avoid wearing shoes that are too tight such as high heels that increase side pressure on your toe joints.
- Shoe inserts—Properly placed orthotic shoe inserts can help to isolate the bunion and prevent corns and calluses from starting or getting more aggravated.
- Cortisone injections—Your foot specialist may also recommend steroid injections to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Splints and braces—A specially designed splint may be worn at night that applies pressure to pull your big toe away from the other toes and to straighten it out.
If these home and conservative remedies don’t completely eliminate your pain, it may be necessary to have surgery to realign the toe, ligaments, and tendons. Imaging studies will be performed to develop a surgical and rehabilitation plan for your unique situation.
If you are experiencing bunion pain, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
The best course of action if you are experiencing pain on the top of your foot, especially if you can’t tell the exact cause, is to have your foot doctor do a complete exam to get right to the core of the problem and begin the proper treatment.
3 common causes of pain on the top of the foot include:
- Breaks and stress fractures—The bones on the top of your foot are really quite delicate and susceptible to injury such as from dropping something heavy on your foot, causing a broken bone. Conversely, a stress or hairline fracture in one of the bones on the top of the foot can happen slowly over time, eventually causing considerable pain that may difficult to diagnose and pinpoint without the help of your foot doctor.
- Poorly fitting shoes—Tightly fitting shoes can increase the pressure on the top of the foot causing rubbing and blisters. Always choose shoes with a wide toe box to give your forefoot enough room to move. Shoes that are too loose should also be avoided since they can cause unnecessary friction.
- Systemic diseases—Like arthritis and gout can contribute to swelling and tenderness in the bones, ligaments, and other tissues on the top of the foot. Patients who have diabetes may feel discomfort on the top of the foot that is caused by peripheral nerve damage.
If you are experiencing pain on the top of your foot that is accompanied with difficulty with weight bearing, or if you have a cut or wound that is causing the problem, you should have an immediate evaluation by your podiatrist. For any pain you are having in your feet and ankles, consult with our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
Joint diseases that cause stiffness, pain, and swelling are often very debilitating, especially when any of the thirty or more joints in each of your neglected feet are affected. Several of the common bodily arthritic conditions can concurrently have painful consequences for your feet.
Common Arthritic Foot Conditions
- Osteoarthritis—Wear and tear from the rigors of living and aging on the feet is what this arthritis is all about. The constant weight bearing and the pounding of the joints in the feet and ankles eventually take your feet to the cleaners, causing some degree of osteoarthritis.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)—This autoimmune disease is characterized by the body’s own defense mechanisms mistaking the lining of the joints for an intruder and proceeding to eliminate the threat. The seemingly unintended damage to the joints is extremely painful and can contribute to debilitating deformities in the fingers and toes.
- Arthritis from injury—This type of arthritis is most likely to follow after you injure yourself in a fall or otherwise. It can even happen years after the initial trauma. It is actually much more likely that a previously injured or dislocated joint will suffer from this disease, which is why you should seek prompt treatment with your foot care professional.
Treatment for arthritic feet
Treatments for arthritis often include a variety of therapies that can range from wearing more comfortable shoes with proper orthoses, all the way to surgery. Properly placed inserts and specially made shoes will decrease pressure on joints and isolate foot deformities like hammertoes and bunions. Physical therapy exercises are often used to strengthen the feet and ankles and increase joint flexibility and range of motion.
If you are concerned that your arthritis is causing problems, a foot care specialist is uniquely qualified to perform all the necessary tests and exams, so contact our board-certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!
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