When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.
There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.
While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.
Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.
If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.
Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.
Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.
While it might not be something you think about often (or at all), the health of your child’s feet is important. Your child is growing by leaps and bounds and certain habits and other factors can affect how your child’s feet develop or if they experience injuries or other problems down the road. Unfortunately, a lot of children end up wearing shoes that are far too small for their feet, which can lead to pain, structural imbalances and certain foot deformities.
We know that going shoe shopping is certainly not a walk in the park for most parents; however, it’s an important component to making sure your child maintains healthy feet. There are many things to think about when it comes to picking the right shoes, and your podiatrist can also provide suggestions and tips to make the world of shoe shopping easier for you and your little one.
Some factors that you should consider when shopping for the right shoes include:
- Your child’s age
- The shoe’s material
- Your child’s shoe size
- The shoe’s structure
A good rule of thumb is to shop for shoes every 2 months when your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. Once they reach three and four, you’ll want to purchase new shoes approximately every four months. At the point that your child is five or six years old, every six months is a good time to swap out old shoes for new ones.
As you might already know, the bones of a baby or infant’s feet are soft and haven’t fully developed. To protect your child’s feet it’s important that they wear socks and soft shoes. Make sure that as your child’s feet grow that the toes have room to wiggle and move around within the shoes. Bunched-up toes are a major no-no!
Since your little one is growing by leaps and bounds it is important that you are constantly checking their shoe size for changes. Remember that feet swell throughout the day, so shoe shopping should be done at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. If you aren’t sure what size shoe your little one wears, you can ask one of the store’s footwear specialists for help.
Of course, you can’t forget the importance of choosing the right socks, as well. Socks can prevent your little one from blisters, calluses and other foot problems. They can also wick away sweat and prevent fungal infections. When it comes to choosing the right socks for your little one consider the type of fabric, your child’s activity level, the size of your child’s feet and sensitivities they might have to certain fabrics.
When in doubt, you should talk to a foot doctor who can provide you with advice, answer any questions you might have about your child’s developing feet and also provide comprehensive care, when needed.
What is a Bunion?
What Causes Bunions?
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Prevention is Key
If you think you have sprained your ankle, you may be unsure of which steps to take next. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a sprain coupled with your foot doctor’s expertise can help you determine the best treatment for you and your injured ankle. Find out more about what to do if you think you have sprained your ankle with Dr. Ben Dimichino and Dr. George DeVito at Foot Specialists Comprehensive Podiatry with locations in East Setauket and Selden, NY, and serving Smithtown, NY.
Is my ankle sprained?
A sprained ankle often begins with some kind of injury or trauma like a twisted or rolled ankle. Though the pain can range from mild to severe, there are some immediate warning signs that you may have sprained your ankle. If you twist or roll your ankle, then experience pain, swelling, and bruising, you may have sprained your ankle. A broken bone produces similar symptoms to a sprain. However, if you have a broken bone, you will probably not be able to place any weight whatsoever on the affected foot and experience pain focused over the joint itself rather than the soft tissues around it.
What should I do if I think my ankle is sprained?
If you think you have sprained your ankle, do not place any pressure on the foot. If possible, use crutches to stay completely off the foot. Ice the foot and use a compression wrap around the ankle to help control swelling. Elevate the foot over the heart. This method, known as the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is often all it takes to heal a sprained ankle. However, if you experience pain and swelling that lasts more than a few days, you should consult with your foot doctor. It is a good idea to see your doctor for x-rays as soon as you can after the injury to rule out a broken bone and come up with a treatment plan which benefits you.
Sprained Ankle in East Setauket, Selden, and Smithtown, NY
For more information on sprained ankles, please contact your foot doctors, Dr. Dimichino and Dr. DeVito at Foot Specialists Comprehensive Podiatry with locations in East Setauket and Selden, NY, and serving Smithtown, NY. Call (631) 689-0202 to schedule your appointment in East Setauket, or (631) 451-1125 to schedule your appointment in Selden today!
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body, located in the back of the lower leg and connecting the heel bone to the calf muscle. This tendon is crucial as it facilitates walking and running by helping to raise the heel off of the ground. While the tendon can withstand immense force, it’s also surprisingly vulnerable. Injuries to the Achilles tendon require prompt treatment.
When the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed from excessive use, tendinitis can weaken it over time and cause small tears. Athletes are at a high risk for Achilles tendon injuries, which often occur at the start of a new exercise or training program, or due to not having enough rest or recovery time.
You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete to suffer an Achilles tendon injury. People with flat feet, arthritis and other foot problems are also more susceptible to develop Achilles tendinitis due to increased demands placed on the tendon when walking.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include:
- Mild pain after running or exercising that intensifies gradually
- Localized pain along the tendon, especially after running
- Tenderness near the heel bone, with pain being worse first thing in the morning
- Stiffness and limited range of motion in the lower leg and ankle
- Swelling around the tendon
- When the disorder progresses to degeneration, the tendon may become enlarged and develop nodules in the area where the tissue is damaged
To prevent injuries to the Achilles tendon, strengthening and stretching the calf muscles through daily exercise is recommended. Alternating intense exercise with low-impact workouts and wearing proper shoes for your foot type and activity can also help reduce your risk for injury.
Any time you experience pain, tenderness or swelling along the Achilles tendon, visit us for professional diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an injured Achilles tendon should begin right away with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Without prompt care, Achilles tendinitis will get progressively worse, thus increasing the risk for further deterioration and rupture. As a last resort, surgery may be recommended to repair the tendon.
Our office can provide the best diagnosis and treatment, for optimal recovery. If you suspect Achilles tendinitis is holding you back, call us today to schedule an appointment, and get on the road to walking with ease again.
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