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Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

Monday, 26 February 2018 00:00

Causes of Hammertoe

Hammertoe is caused by a deformity that bends the toes, causing them to be crooked. The joint affected is located at the bottom of the big toe and can often appear unsightly. The skin on top of the toes may look swollen, and corns and calluses will often form there, typically caused by friction as it rubs against the shoes. Causes of hammertoe are commonly due to shoes fitting poorly, which may cause the toes to be constricted for long periods of time. There may be a predisposed genetic trait that may cause this condition, in addition to diabetic patients and arthritis sufferers being prone to hammertoe. There are numerous treatment options available, depending on the severity of this condition. A consultation with a podiatrist is suggested for a proper diagnosis.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from The Podiatry Center, PC. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Millburn, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:00

Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is an extremely contagious infection caused by a fungus that results in itching, burning, dry, and flaking feet. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is known as tinea pedis and thrives in moist, dark areas such as shower floors, gyms, socks and shoes, commons areas, public changing areas, bathrooms, dormitory style houses, locker rooms, and public swimming pools. Athlete’s foot is difficult to treat as well because of the highly contagious and recurrent nature of the fungus.

Tinea is the same fungus that causes ringworm, and is spread by direct contact with an infected body part, contaminated clothing, or by touching other objects and body parts that have been exposed to the fungus. Because the feet are an ideal place for tinea to grow and spread, this is the most commonly affected area.  It is, however, known to grow in other places. The term athlete’s foot describes tinea that grows strictly on the feet.

The most commonly infected body parts are the hands, groin, and scalp, as well as the feet. Around 70% of the population suffer from tinea infections at some point in their lives, however not all of these cases are athlete’s foot. Just like any other ailment, some people are more likely to get it than others, such as people with a history of tinea infections or other skin infections, both recurring and non-recurring ones. The extent to which a person experiences regrowth and recurrent tinea infections varies from person to person.

Sometimes people will not even know that they are infected with tinea or that they have athlete’s foot because of a lack of symptoms. However, most experience mild to moderate flaking, itching, redness, and burning. However, some of the more severe symptoms include cracking and bleeding skin, intense itching and burning, pain while walking or standing, and even blistering.

Because of the recurring nature of the tinea fungus and the athlete’s foot it causes, the best way to treat this condition is with prevention. You can take some preventative measures such as wearing flip flops or sandals in locker rooms and public showers to reduce contact with the floor. It also helps to keep clean, dry feet while allowing them to breathe. Using powders to keep your feet dry is a good idea, as well as keeping your feet exposed to light and cool air, to prevent the growth of tinea. If you do happen to get athlete’s foot, opt for using topical medicated creams, ointments or sprays. These treatments help eliminate and prevent it from coming back.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 00:00

Causes of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common foot ailment that many people experience in their lives. It typically appears between the toes, and is caused by a fungus. This can result in the skin becoming itchy and flaky, and it’s common for swelling to occur as well. The fungi needs moisture and warmth to grow, and communal showers are a common place for this condition to spread. There are some conditions that may facilitate the onset of athlete’s foot, including predisposed genetic traits, certain allergies, and a weakened immune system. Drying the feet thoroughly, wearing shoes that fit properly, and wearing appropriate shoes while in a public shower are effective ways to prevent this condition. A consultation with a podiatrist is suggested if you suffer from chronic athlete’s foot, and proper treatment options can be discussed

Athlete’s foot is an inconvenient condition that can be easily reduced with the proper treatment. If you have any concerns about your feet and ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from The Podiatry Center, PC.  Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Athlete’s Foot: The Sole Story

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, can be an extremely contagious foot infection. It is commonly contracted in public changing areas and bathrooms, dormitory style living quarters, around locker rooms and public swimming pools, or anywhere your feet often come into contact with other people.

Solutions to Combat Athlete’s Foot

  • Hydrate your feet by using lotion
  • Exfoliate
  • Buff off nails
  • Use of anti-fungal products
  • Examine your feet and visit your doctor if any suspicious blisters or cuts develop

Athlete’s foot can cause many irritating symptoms such as dry and flaking skin, itching, and redness. Some more severe symptoms can include bleeding and cracked skin, intense itching and burning, and even pain when walking. In the worst cases, Athlete’s foot can cause blistering as well. Speak to your podiatrist for a better understanding of the different causes of Athlete’s foot, as well as help in determining which treatment options are best for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Millburn, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Athlete's Foot

Both running and walking are great exercises, but should a person wear the same shoes for both activities? The answer is no, because there is a difference between the way a person’s feet hit the ground when they are walking and when they are running. Therefore, the shoes for each activity are designed differently. Before you begin any exercise program it is always recommended that you speak with your doctor or podiatrist.

Walking is a low impact exercise that is often recommended by doctors to their patients. While walking is a simple activity, it still requires some degree of preparation. If you think about walking and how your feet strike the ground as you move, you will notice that your heel hits the ground first before your foot continues to roll forward and your next step begins. Because of this rolling motion, walking shoes are designed to be more flexible than running shoes. This flexibility helps the walker push off with each step taken.

Because the heel hits the ground first when you walk, walking shoes are designed to absorb most of the shock. Walking shoes should therefore have a beveled or angled heel. The angle of the heel helps absorb the shock and reduces pressure from the ankles. This is especially important for speed walkers, as their feet will hit the ground twice as often as the normal walker.

When people decide to run as a hobby or for their health, they must first realize that running is a high impact exercise. If not done with the proper equipment, running may cause damage to the feet and legs. Running shoes are designed to be more lightweight and to have thicker soles. The thicker soles act as shock absorbers for the rest of the body. Walking shoes often do not have the proper arch support that running shoes do.

A proper fitting shoe can make or break a runner or a walker. If the shoes are too big, their feet will slide back and forth inside the shoe and cause blisters. Whether you will be running or walking, the right equipment can make all of the difference in the world.

Monday, 12 February 2018 00:00

Walking or Running Shoes: How to Choose

Many people are unaware of the differences between walking and running shoes. Both types of shoes have different features that are meant to support the foot. Walking shoes tend to be firmer, and they may not be as flexible as shoes that are made for running. This enables the walker to have additional stability that’s needed for proper posture. The walker benefits from shoes that are lighter because the feet are properly supported. Recent research has suggested that adequate cushioning is necessary for comfort and support, however an excess of this may make the shoe too heavy for walking. When choosing shoes that are made for running, it’s important to take the running technique into account. If the impact is felt on the balls of the feet, a slightly higher heel will be beneficial for proper support. For runners whose midfoot meets with the ground, lower heels will be more favorable for achieving maximum comfort and stability.

For more information about walking shoes versus running shoes, consult with one of our podiatrists from The Podiatry Center, PC. Our doctors can measure your feet to determine what your needs are and help you find an appropriate pair of footwear.

Foot Health: The Differences between Walking & Running Shoes

There are great ways to stay in shape: running and walking are two great exercises to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know that running shoes and walking shoes are not interchangeable. There is a key difference on how the feet hit the ground when someone is running or walking. This is why one should be aware that a shoe is designed differently for each activity.

You may be asking yourself what the real differences are between walking and running shoes and the answers may shock you.

Differences

Walking doesn’t involve as much stress or impact on the feet as running does. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be any less prepared. When you’re walking, you land on your heels and have your foot roll forward. This rolling motion requires additional support to the feet.

Flexibility – Walking shoes are designed to have soft, flexible soles. This allows the walker to push off easily with each step.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Millburn, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Tuesday, 06 February 2018 00:00

Ingrown Toenail Care

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that grows sideways into the nail bed, causing pain and swelling. Ingrown toenails can worsen and cause drainage, turning into a serious infection.

Several factors affect whether a person is at risk from an ingrown toenail. The many causes include being overweight, diabetes, participating in sports, having a fungal infection of the toe, and cutting your nails too short. Ingrown toenails also have a genetic predisposition, causing some people to be more prone to receive the condition than others. Other causes include improperly fitting shoes and shoes that keep the feet damp.

Ingrown toenails can be preventable with certain measures. For starters, allowing your toe nails to grow slightly longer in length will help prevent them from becoming ingrown. If you have already developed an ingrown toenail, soak the affected toe in warm water. This will alleviate the pain and help prevent an infection from forming. Antibiotic soap or Epsom salts may be added to further help the relieving process and avoid infection. Placing cotton beneath the affected area is also suggested, as this may help the toenail grow upwards and not into the nail bed. Swelling and redness can be reduced by resting with your feet elevated.

A podiatrist should be seen if the pain becomes so serious that it prevents you from doing your everyday activities. If a red streak running up your leg appears or if you suspect your infection has spread, contact a podiatrist immediately. Fast treatments can be undertaken to lessen your pain and have you walking comfortably.

An ingrown toenail can be easily treated with a Band-Aid. Simply wrap the affected toe with a Band-Aid to prevent infection and keep the nail from growing out at a painful angle.

In more serious cases, your podiatrist may decide to make a small incision to remove a portion of your toenail. To prevent the nail from growing back, medication will be placed directly into the nail bed. This procedure would be performed under local anesthesia and is a faster method to alleviate discomfort from an ingrown toenail. Post-procedure directions will have you stay off the affected foot for a day. Afterwards, normal activities can be resumed.  

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 00:00

Prevention of Ingrown Toenails

If you’re experiencing red and swollen skin around the nails of the foot, you may have an ingrown toenail. This painful condition often causes an infection and may require removal of the nail. Typically this is caused by the toenails being improperly cut and tight shoes possibly causing pressure, cramping the toes, and cutting the skin. Observing good hygiene may be a preventive measure to aid avoiding an ingrown toenail, and this consists of changing the socks and shoes daily. Additionally, wearing open-toed sandals in warm weather may also aid in preventing this condition. When you initially realize an ingrown toenail may be present, an option for relief may be to apply a moisturizer around the nail which may soften the skin. It’s crucial to cut the toenails properly, and the method to correctly accomplish this is to cut straight across the nail so the corners can be seen. Please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for a proper evaluation, to learn how to trim the toenails correctly, and to fix your ingrown toenail.

Ingrown toenails can become painful if they are not treated properly. For more information about ingrown toenails, contact one of our podiatrists of The Podiatry Center, PC. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a toenail grows sideways into the bed of the nail, causing pain, swelling, and possibly infection.

Causes

  • Bacterial infections
  • Improper nail cutting such as cutting it too short or not straight across
  • Trauma to the toe, such as stubbing, which causes the nail to grow back irregularly
  • Ill-fitting shoes that bunch the toes too close together
  • Genetic predisposition

Prevention

Because ingrown toenails are not something found outside of shoe-wearing cultures, going barefoot as often as possible will decrease the likeliness of developing ingrown toenails. Wearing proper fitting shoes and using proper cutting techniques will also help decrease your risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Treatment

Ingrown toenails are a very treatable foot condition. In minor cases, soaking the affected area in salt or antibacterial soaps will not only help with the ingrown nail itself, but also help prevent any infections from occurring. In more severe cases, surgery is an option. In either case, speaking to your podiatrist about this condition will help you get a better understanding of specific treatment options that are right for you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Millburn, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care