Official Blogof Dr. Peter F. Gregory and his Foot Health Team
What Is A Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) deformity of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.
Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible, and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and will not respond to nonsurgical treatment.
Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) or neurological changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.
Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that do not fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn. Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.
Common symptoms of hammertoes include:
· Pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes.
· Corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes or on the ball of the foot. Corns are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending on their location.
· Inflammation, redness or a burning sensation
· Contracture of the toe
· In more severe cases of hammertoe, open sores may form.
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis, the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination, the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred.
Hammertoes are progressive—they do not go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike—some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
There is a variety of treatment options for hammertoe. The treatment your foot and ankle surgeon selects will depend on the severity of your hammertoe and other factors.
A number of nonsurgical measures can be undertaken:
· Padding corns and calluses. Your foot and ankle surgeon can provide or prescribe pads designed to shield corns from irritation. If you want to try over-the-counter pads, avoid the medicated types. Medicated pads are generally not recommended because they may contain a small amount of acid that can be harmful. Consult your surgeon about this option.
· Changes in shoewear. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels—conditions that can force your toe against the front of the shoe. Instead, choose comfortable shoes with a deep, roomy toebox and heels no higher than two inches.
· Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic device placed in your shoe may help control the muscle/tendon imbalance. Injection therapy. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to ease pain and inflammation caused by hammertoe.
· Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation. Splinting/strapping. Splints or small straps may be applied by the surgeon to realign the bent toe.
When Is Surgery Needed?
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful or when an open sore has developed, surgery is needed.
Often, patients with hammertoe have bunions or other foot deformities corrected at the same time. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.
For additional Information: Please contact the Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. at 734-522-7676 or visit our web site www.livoniapodiatrist.net
Skin is one of the important natural barriers that works along with our immune system to defend the body against organisms that can cause infection. The skin on our extremities - hands and feet - are the most vulnerable and require additional attention to remain healthy during the cold, dry months of winter.
The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. recommend the following to minimize bacterial infection and cracking of the skin:
· Hydrate - Drink plenty of water each day. Consuming two liters of water daily is
a good goal. Hydrated skin will remain flexible and allow our protective barrier
to remain intact.
· Humidify - A humidifier adds moisture to the air to help prevent skin dryness.
· Hand hygiene - Hand-washing should occur: at the beginning and end of the
workday; before eating or serving food; before applying make-up; after restroom
activities; and at other times after contamination.
· Moisturize - Make sure to apply a moisturizer throughout the day to hands that
are frequently washed. Consider thick creams that are easily penetrate easily into the
skin and specific foot creams to avoid painful cracking heels.
· Vitamins -Supplements can help keep your skin fueled with the nutrients it
needs to be healthy. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and B Complex will boost
collagen and help keep skin clear, while omega 3 fish oils can help decrease
inflammation and make your skin look soft and supple.
Our podiatrists are experts in treating skin concerns of hands, feet and ankles. Make time for a consultation today to create a personalized hand and foot skin care regime and to identify any potential problems.
Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M.
17316 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48152
Your feet tell a story...We are here to listen!
Most things in life either need or deeply benefit from some type of support. Cathedrals have buttresses. Rock climbers use belay lines. Even individual people benefit from supportive families and friends who are there in difficult times. Your feet aren't much different, particularly when they are struggling with uncomfortable problems like heel pain. Sometimes adding support for your heels is what you need to alleviate your discomfort.
Heel pain has many different causes, and for that reason, there are many different treatments designed to address the underlying problems. One of the big culprits is overuse and stress affecting the back of the foot. Repetitive hard impacts and poor biomechanics can wear down and aggravate your heels, contributing to your pain.
This is where having a little extra support can help. Your feet may need some additional cushioning to help them absorb shock and pressure without causing pain. Poor or faulty biomechanics may need to be adjusted or controlled to prevent overuse or extra strain on the back of the foot.
Custom orthotics can provide this for your feet, giving your painful heels the support they need. Heel pads or cushions provide that extra padding and shock absorption. That way you're better able to handle pressure on your heels. Arch supports and other orthotics can help stabilize your midfoot. This can help control abnormal foot motion that might be directing too much strain to your heels. In any case, the little extra support alleviates the strain and provides you with the relief you need.
The key, of course, is to have your heel pain diagnosed and see if supplemented support is really what you need. The Foot Health Team at Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. will examine your lower limbs and see what factors are contributing to your condition. Then we'll be able to help you determine if orthotics are the missing piece for a little extra support. Don't suffer with heel pain when the answer to it could be so simple. Contact our office in Livonia today for more information or an appointment. You can reach us through the website or by calling (734) 522-7676.
1. Don't ignore foot pain. It is not normal. If you experience any type of persistent pain in the foot or ankle, please contact our office.
2. Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature. Look for thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet may indicate Athlete's Foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.
3. Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.
4. Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on the sides; this can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet, because they are more prone to infection.
5. Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest, and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
6. Select and wear the right shoe for each sport or activity that you are engaged in (e.g., running shoes for running).
7. Alternate shoes, don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
8. Avoid walking barefooted. Your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on your feet.
9. Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment may turn a minor problem into a major one.
10. If you are a diabetic, please contact our office, The Foot Health Team of Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. and schedule a check-up at least once a year.
Children are resilient, but choosing the best shoes and backpacks for back to school now can impact their health in the future. As podiatrists, we care about your children’s foot health as well as their overall wellness because it all ties together.
Follow these simple tips to get your kids off to a good start for the school year.
How to Shop for New Shoes
The fit of your child's shoe is especially important as they head back to class. Remember, their feet are growing, so check regularly for proper fit. Excessive or uneven wear can warn you of foot problems, so check for that as well.
Some things to keep in mind while shoe shopping include:
- Bring your children with you to try on shoes. Knowing their size is not enough. Every shoe is made differently, and you need to know it fits and feels good on their feet.
- Fit the larger foot. One foot is always slightly larger than the other. It’s better to have one shoe that’s slightly loose than one that’s too tight.
- Don’t forget socks! If they’re worn or ill-fitting they’ll cause irritation, blisters, or irregular gait. Buy new socks while you’re buying shoes.
What to Look for in Shoes
- A stiff heel -- The heel of the shoe should not collapse when pressed from the sides.
- Toe flexibility -- The shoe should be flexible enough to bend with your child's toes. However, watch for too much bend.
- A rigid middle -- The shoe should not twist in the middle.
Why Backpacks Matter
How children carry the weight of their books and other gear is important, too. Most kids carry backpacks, but often those packs are unfit for the size of the load - and the size of the kid. An ill-fitting or poorly carried pack can cause neck, shoulder and back problems as well as foot pain.
Here are some things to check while you’re outfitting your children for the upcoming school year:
- The pack should be big enough to carry most of the child’s books and supplies, but not so big that it sags below the buttocks.
- It must be a backpack with two straps to evenly distribute the load on the child’s body. Single strap messenger-type bags cause muscle strain by throwing the child off-balance.
- If a properly fitting bag won’t hold everything your child needs to carry, teach them to carry the rest in their arms, or leave what they don’t need in their lockers.
Follow these tips as you shop for shoes and backpacks for back to school. The result will be a healthier and more comfortable school year for you and your kids!
For more information contact the Foot Health Team of
Dr. Peter F. Gregory, D.P.M. at 734-522-7676.
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