Posts for category: Foot Conditions
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.