it’s important to spot the telltale signs of a hammertoe before it gets worse.
A hammertoe is actually a common foot deformity that typically affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. Our West Orange, NJ, podiatrists believe it’s important for people to recognize the early signs of a hammertoe so that they can seek proper treatment to prevent the condition from getting worse.
What is a hammertoe?
A hammertoe causes the toes to curve downward, resembling a claw. Of course, this problem occurs over time, so it won’t cause significant changes in your toes right away. In the very beginning, you may only notice that the toes only slightly curve downwards; however, this deformity can get worse if not properly cared for.
What causes hammertoes?
Many people develop them because there is some sort of structural imbalance or abnormality in the foot that affects the muscles and tendons. As a result, this imbalance pulls at the toe, altering their shape. While they may not seem to cause you problems in the very beginning, hammertoes can become immobile. Severe hammertoes can also cause pain, stiffness and difficulty walking.
What are the signs and symptoms of a hammertoe?
Along with the obvious changes in the overall shape of your toes you may also notice,
- A corn or callus develops on the bent joint of the toe
- Pain or discomfort when wearing shoes
- Swelling, inflammation or burning in the affected toes
If you have nerve damage or diabetes and you notice any of these symptoms it’s particularly important that you turn to our West Orange, NJ, board-certified podiatrist for immediate medical attention.
What are some ways to treat a hammertoe?
When you come in for your initial evaluation, we will usually be able to diagnose your hammertoe through a simple physical exam; however, we may need to take imaging tests to determine the severity.
Based on the severity of your hammertoe, we will then determine the best course of action for managing your symptoms. For milder cases, the goals of treatment are to manage symptoms and to prevent the deformity from getting worse. Treatments may include,
- Non-medicated protective padding (to prevent corns and calluses from forming)
- Prescription orthotics (shoe inserts)
- Medications (pain relievers; anti-inflammatories)
- Properly fitted footwear with wide toe boxes
- Toe and foot exercises
If the hammertoe is rigid and causing serious discomfort, then your podiatrist may recommend surgery to correct the deformity.
If you are faced with foot pain, changes in the overall shape or structure of your feet or noticing any hard bumps or deformities it’s important that you turn to your podiatrist here in West Orange, NJ, for care. Foot Health Center also offers telemedicine visits. Call us today at (973) 731-1266 to schedule an in-person or online appointment.
Does this scenario sound familiar? Over time, you've acquired a large, firm lump just below your big toe on one or both of your feet. This lump may not be painful, but if it is, a day of wearing shoes can be excruciating. If so, you likely have a bunion. This common foot ailment is seen regularly by our staff of podiatrists at Foot Health Center LLC in West Orange, New Jersey. Below, the causes of bunions are discussed, as well as how to prevent them.
It's surprising to many people that bunions aren't actually a new growth; instead, they are a gradual displacement of the joint just behind the big toe on the inside of the foot. Bunions seem to have a genetic aspect; that is, if your grandmother or mother had bunions, your feet are at more of a risk of developing them as well. Wearing narrow, pointed shoes also seems to crowd the toes and cause strain on the foot, which can lead to the outgrowth of bone. That's why your West Orange podiatrist sees more women - who frequently wear shoes that have small, uncomfortable toe boxes - with bunions, than men. Other conditions like arthritis may worsen bunions.
As mentioned above, some people may be genetically or medically prone to developing bunions, but there are things you can do to decrease your chance of developing them or making them worse. Regardless of the progression of your bunions, wearing comfortable, roomy shoes in the proper size can make a big difference for you. An evaluation from your West Orange podiatrist can determine if you're wearing the correct size and width for your foot anatomy. Special padded splints can also help to cushion the big toe and hold it in a more natural position. Persistently bothersome bunions may need to be corrected with surgery.
If you think you're dealing with a bunion, or for any other foot and ankle related problem, contact Foot Health Center in West Orange, New Jersey to make an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists. We can be reached at 973-731-1266.
Even minor accidents and falls can cause a sprained ankle. Know the signs.
Strains, sprains and breaks…. these are all common ankle problems and sometimes it isn’t easy to tell them apart. Perhaps you stepped off the curb wrong, twisted your ankle while going down the steps or experienced a sports-related injury. Either way, it’s important to be able to distinguish a sprain from other issues so that you know when to turn to our West Orange, NJ, podiatrists for immediate care.
Common signs of a sprained ankle include,
- Immediate pain
- Swelling and tenderness
- Bruising or discoloration
- Pain that intensifies when putting weight on the foot
- Being unable to walk
Dealing with any of these symptoms? If so, it’s time to visit our podiatrists right here in West Orange, NJ, for an evaluation. Leaving a sprained ankle untreated can lead to long-term pain, weakness and instability.
How is a sprained ankle diagnosed?
First, a podiatrist will examine the ankle, moving it in a variety of positions to check mobility and range of motion. This can also help us determine which ligaments are damaged. If your symptoms are indicative of something more serious such as a fracture, then we may perform an X-ray. Imaging tests can also determine the extent of the damage, as well as rule out certain injuries and problems.
How is a sprained ankle treated?
It’s important that you rest and stay off your ankle as much as possible while it heals. The healing process will vary depending on the extent of the injury. If the sprain is mild you may be able to treat the problem on your own through,
- Bracing or wrapping the ankle
- Taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication
- Icing the ankle
- Elevating the foot (to reduce swelling)
- Limiting movement and getting ample rest
A mild sprain can take anywhere from 10 days to 14 days to heal, while more severe sprains may take several weeks. More serious sprains may require a protective boot and crutches to ensure that you stay off the ankle completely until it has fully healed. Sometimes physical therapy and rehabilitation is recommended to help restrengthen the muscles and ligaments of the foot and ankle to prevent future injuries.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a sprained ankle right here in West Orange, NJ, it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist. Call Foot Health Center at (973) 731-1266. Telemedicine appointments are also available. Contact our office for more details.
Did you know that your heel is the biggest bone in the foot and that the ankle and foot are made up of over 100 tendons, 33 joints, and 26 bones? Because of the various parts, injuring or overusing your heel could eventually lead to heel pain that could be mild or severe, even disabling. However, it’s not always easy to figure out the exact cause of heel pain. Here at the Foot Health Center in West Orange, NJ, one of our podiatrists can help you find out what’s causing your heel pain and recommend the best ways to treat it.
What May Be Causing Your Heel Pain
Many things could cause heel pain, with some of the most common causes being the following:
- Strains and Sprains: These are common injuries that are usually caused by physical activity. Depending on what caused them, they can be mild to severe and may or may not require medical treatment.
- Plantar fasciitis: This condition occurs when excess pressure on the feet leads to damage to the ligament called the plantar fascia. Its main symptoms include stiffness and pain.
- Fractures: A fracture occurs when you break a bone. Take note that this is an emergency that will require urgent medical attention.
- Bursitis: Bursitis happens when the bursae in your foot become inflamed due to irritation from footwear or repetitive motion. The bursae are sacs filled with fluid and they’re responsible for protecting your joints from friction.
- Achilles Tendonitis: This occurs when the tendon connecting your heel to your calf muscles become inflamed because of overuse injuries.
- Reactive Arthritis: This is caused by an infection and leads to pain in the entire body.
When to Call Your Podiatrist
If you experience heel pain, you can try at-home treatments like resting the affected foot to alleviate your symptoms. However, if home treatments fail to work and your symptoms still persist after two or three weeks, it’s best that you visit your podiatrist in West Orange, NJ, as soon as you can.
On the other hand, you should go to your podiatrist immediately if you have the following symptoms:
- Your pain came on suddenly
- You have severe heel pain
- Your heel is swelling and red
- You can’t move your feet or walk because of the pain
Worried about your heel pain?
Arrange a consultation with one of our podiatrists here at the Foot Health Center in West Orange, NJ. Call (973) 731-1266 for more information.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had it all your life, it’s important to recognize the impact that this condition can have on your health if it is not properly controlled. In particular, having diabetes can cause serious problems for your feet. From the office of our West Orange, NJ, diabetic podiatrists, here’s what you should know about proper diabetic podiatric care:
Why should I see a podiatrist?
Issues such as numbness, redness, pain and persistent wounds all require immediate attention from our West Orange office. Additionally, it is a good idea to schedule appointments with your podiatrist every six months for routine checkups—these simple preventive measures could help you avoid costly and painful foot complications.
What are some common foot complications related to diabetes?
If you have diabetes you may be at risk for,
- Numbness or loss of sensation in the feet
- Ulcers or open wounds that don’t heal
Are there special shoes that can help diabetics?
Certain shoes, socks, and custom orthotics are designed with diabetic feet in mind. Additionally, people with diabetes should never go barefoot, as wearing shoes and socks can prevent cuts and injuries to the foot that can lead to other complications. During a consultation, talk with our podiatrist about the different footwear options and which ones may be right for you.
How can I prevent other diabetic foot complications?
The most important thing is to get your diabetes under control. If you are taking the proper medication to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels, then you are less likely to deal with other complications and health problems, as a result. Accordingly, you should work with your doctor to find the best medication for your consultation. In addition, you should monitor your blood sugar every day to make sure the medication is working effectively.
Need care? Give us a call
If you experience any symptoms or changes in the health of your feet, call Foot Health Center in West Orange, NJ, today at (973) 731-1266.
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