Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
Posts for: September, 2014
What causes a hammertoe?
A muscle/tendon imbalance is usually what causes a hammertoe. It usually leads to the toe bending after there are some structural changes in the foot. These changes usually happen over time.
Hammertoes can worsen by shoes that do not fit properly. If shoes are too tight and a person has a toe that is long the shoe can cause the toe to bend in a cramped position.
Hammertoes, in some cases, can be inherited or also can occur in a toe that has previously has trauma such as a broken toe.
What are some non-surgical treatments?
All treatments are done on a case by case basis and they depend on the severity of the hammertoe.
-Trimming corns and calluses. This should never be done at home. It is best to have a podiatrist do this, because they are trained to do it in ways that benefit you the best.
-Padding. A podiatrist might recommend pads to help prevent corns from being irritated. Some of them may be bought over the counter, but medicated pads should be avoided. It is best to talk to your podiatrist about what padding is best for you.
-Change in shoes. It is best to avoid shoes that limit the space around your toes, such as, pointed shoes, too short of shoes, or high-heeled shoes. If choosing shoes with a heel it is best to look for something that is not higher than 2 inches. It is also best to look for shoes with a bigger toe box.
-Orthotics. These can help control the imbalance in the muscle/tendon.
-Injections. These can help with the pain and inflammation that is caused by hammertoes.
-Medications. Some medications may be prescribed to help reduce pain and inflammation.
-Splints or strapping. These may be applied by your podiatrist to help straighten the toe that is bent.
What is a Hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of a joint in one of the little toes. This bending puts pressure on the toe when wearing shoes. The pressure is what causes problems to develop.
Some of the symptoms of hammertoes:
-Pain or irritation when wearing shoes.
-Corns on the toe. This is caused by the friction of the toe against the shoe.
- Calluses on the ball of the foot or bottom of the toe.
Hammertoes, corns, and calluses can all be painful and make it hard to find a comfortable shoe.
Hammertoes usually become worse over time. In the beginning they are flexible and symptoms are easy to manage. If the hammertoe is left untreated it can become stiff and may not respond to treatments besides surgery. The corns don’t usually go away even with trimming and are more likely to develop as hammertoes worsen.
You should try to see a podiatrist as soon as you notice hammertoes forming. Trimming the corn or callus can relieve up to 30% of pressure temporarily and special creams can help as well.
If you are concerned that you may have hammertoes or notice them starting to form, Contact Us at Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic today and make an appointment with Dr. Brian Gale, DPM, FACFAS. You can also go online to Request an appointment.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Bunions
A person can usually tell they have a bunion by looking at their feet. There will usually be a bump on the side of the big toe. However, it is best to have x-rays taken to determine what has all changed in the structure of your foot. Bunions do not go away and usually get worse over time. After you see a podiatrist a treatment plan can be put in place that is best suited to your needs.
Sometimes it is best to just have your bunion evaluated periodically along with x-rays to find out if your deformity is worsening. It is best to have periodic evaluations so that no irreversible damage is caused to the joint. There are a few options to help ease the pain, even though they won’t reverse the bunion.
-Change up the shoes. Choose a shoe with a wide toe box and try to avoid anything with a pointed toe or high heels. These may aggravate the bunion.
-Bunion pads. They are placed over the bunion and sometimes help minimize the pain.
-Modify activities. Standing for a long period of time and other activities may irritate the bunion and cause pain. These types of activities should be avoided in uncomfortable shoes.
-Medications. Over the counter medication may help relieve the pain.
-Icing. Placing an ice pack on the bunion a few times a day may help reduce the inflammation and pain.
-Injection therapy. This is rarely used, but sometimes a corticosteroid injection may be used to treat an inflamed bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that is located in the toe joint.
-Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic may be provided by a podiatrist to treat the functional foot problems.
There are some cases of bunions that will need surgery. If the pain from a bunion is interfering with your daily activities this may be a case that needs surgery, but should be talked over with your podiatrist.
If you are having pain from a bunion it is best to make an appointment with Dr. Brian Gale, DPM, FACFAS to see what treatment options are best for you. Call Our Bismarck Office today at 701-255-3338 or go online to request an appointment