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Monday, 29 October 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, 29 October 2018 00:00

Causes of Hammertoe

A condition that is referred to as hammertoe is typically the result of weakened muscles in the toes. This may be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit correctly, medical conditions including arthritis, or genetic traits, which may include having high arches. Some of the symptoms that may be associated with this condition can often include difficulty in walking or moving the toes, in addition to having a toe that tends to bend in a downward direction. There may be several remedies that can relieve a portion of the discomfort and this may depend on the reason why the hammer toe is present. If it is because of shoes that do not fit properly, changing the footwear may be an option to consider. Additionally, wearing insoles in your shoes may aid in providing moderate relief if the hammer toe develops due to high arches. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to permanently straighten the toes, which may be successfully performed by a podiatrist.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor 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 Hanover, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Causes of An Achilles Tendon Injury

The Achilles tendon is located in the back of the calf on your leg. It is considered to be the largest tendon in the body, and its purpose is to connect the heel bone to the calf muscles. If this tendon becomes injured, severe pain and discomfort is typically experienced. If this should occur, common activities such as walking, running, and jumping may be extremely difficult to perform. The pain associated with these activities is often characterized by a sharp pain in the back of the ankle. There may be several reasons for this injury to occur, which may include suddenly pushing off the feet during any type of jumping activity, overstretching the tendon while instinctively protecting the body during a fall, or from unexpectedly stepping off a curb. If you feel you have incurred an Achilles tendon injury, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist as quickly as possible to discuss proper treatment techniques.

Achilles tendon injuries need immediate attention to avoid future complications. If you have any concerns, contact Dr. Jim Maxka of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is the Achilles Tendon?

The Achilles tendon is a tendon that connects the lower leg muscles and calf to the heel of the foot. It is the strongest tendon in the human body and is essential for making movement possible. Because this tendon is such an integral part of the body, any injuries to it can create immense difficulties and should immediately be presented to a doctor.

What Are the symptoms of an Achilles Tendon Injury?

There are various types of injuries that can affect the Achilles tendon. The two most common injuries are Achilles tendinitis and ruptures of the tendon.

Achilles Tendinitis Symptoms

  • Inflammation
  • Dull to severe pain
  • Increased blood flow to the tendon
  • Thickening of the tendon

Rupture Symptoms

  • Extreme pain and swelling in the foot
  • Total immobility

Treatment and Prevention

Achilles tendon injuries are diagnosed by a thorough physical evaluation, which can include an MRI. Treatment involves rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery. However, various preventative measures can be taken to avoid these injuries, such as:

  • Thorough stretching of the tendon before and after exercise
  • Strengthening exercises like calf raises, squats, leg curls, leg extensions, leg raises, lunges, and leg presses

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Hanover, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

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Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body; it is a tough band of fibrous tissue that stretches from the bones of the heel to the calf muscles. This tendon is what allows us to stand on our toes while running, walking, or jumping, it is common for this tendon to become injured. In severe cases, the Achilles tendon may become partially torn or completely ruptured. However, this tendon is susceptible to injury because of its limited blood supply and the high tensions it endures.

The people who are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries are athletes who partake in activities that require them to speed up, slow down, or pivot. Consequently, athletes who engage in running, gymnastics, dance, football, baseball, basketball, or tennis are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries. Additionally, there are other factors that may make you more prone to this injury. People who wear high heels, have flat feet, have tight leg muscles or tendons, or take medicines called glucocorticoids are more likely to have Achilles tendon injuries.

A common symptom of an Achilles tendon injury is pain above the heel that is felt when you stand on your toes. However, if the tendon is ruptured, the pain will be severe, and the area may become swollen and stiff. Other symptoms may be reduced strength in the lower ankle or leg area, and reduced range of motion in the ankle. When the Achilles tendon tears, there is usually a popping sound that occurs along with it. People who have acute tears or ruptures may find walking and standing to be difficult.

If you suspect you have injured your Achilles tendon, you should see your podiatrist to have a physical examination. Your podiatrist will likely conduct a series of tests to diagnose your injury including a “calf-squeeze” test. Calf squeeze tests are performed by first squeezing the calf muscle on the healthy leg. This will pull on the tendon and consequently cause the foot to move. Afterward, the same test will be performed on the injured leg. If the tendon is torn, the foot won’t move because the calf muscle won’t be connected to the foot.

Despite the fact that many women enjoy wearing high heels, they may want to be aware of the potential damage wearing these types of shoes may cause. The toes may endure increased pressure, and this may specifically occur under the big toe. If you are susceptible to bunions, this may result in the formation of one, in addition to the development of corns and calluses, which may typically form on the balls of the feet or on top of the toes. Pain affecting the heel of the foot may be related to a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This may occur when the band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed, and severe pain and discomfort may often accompany this condition. Research has shown that regardless of the ailments that may develop as a result of wearing high heels, a large percentage of women choose to wear this type of shoe.

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

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

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Monday, 15 October 2018 00:00

Effect of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are uncomfortable, but many women sacrifice comfort to be stylish. There are many problems that stem from wearing high heels, however these issues can be avoided by wearing proper shoes.

Heels are bad because they push your weight forward toward the fall of the foot. The higher the heel is, the more weight and pressure get shifted. This process causes the back to hyperextend backwards to counterbalance which may cause pain in the leg, hip, and back. Consequently, major posture problems may occur, and these issues may eventually become permanent.

Wearing high heels is one of the leading cause of ingrown toenails. Heels create a great deal of pressure on the big toenails which disrupts proper toenail growth. This may eventually lead to the big toenail growing into the skin.  Another common problem that stems from high heels is bunions. If bunions go untreated, they can cause serious scar tissue to form along with severe pain.

However, there are ways to minimize the harmful risks associated with wearing heels. You should try to massage and stretch your legs and feet after wearing heels for an extended time. Stretching helps prevent the Achilles tendons and calf muscles from becoming too tight. A good substitute for heels are platforms which provide a better surface area to evenly distribute the body’s weight.

If you are experiencing any painful foot conditions from wearing high heels, you should consult with your podiatrist right away.

Monday, 08 October 2018 00:00

Bunions

A bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the big toe. Bunions form when the big toe pushes against the next toe, which forces the big toe joint to get bigger and stick out.  As a result, the skin over the bunion may start to appear red and it may feel sore.

There are risk factors that can increase your chances of developing bunions. People who wear high heels or ill-fitting shoes are more likely to develop them, in addition to those who have a genetic history of bunions or have rheumatoid arthritis.

The most obvious way to tell if you have a bunion is to look for the big toe pushing up against the toe next to it. Bunions produce a large protrusion at the base of the big toe and may or may not cause pain. Other symptoms are redness, swelling, and restricted movement of the big toe if you have arthritis. 

Nonsurgical methods are frequently used to treat bunions that aren’t severe. Some methods of nonsurgical treatment are orthotics, icing and resting the foot, taping the foot, and pain medication. Surgery is usually only required in extreme cases. However, if surgery is needed, some procedures may involve removing the swollen tissue from around the big toe joint, straightening the big toe by removing part of the bone, or joining the bones of your affected joint permanently.

Your podiatrist will diagnose your bunion by doing a thorough examination of your foot. He or she may also conduct an x-ray to determine the cause of the bunion and its severity.

If you notice a large bony protrusion on the side of your big toe, you may have what is referred to as a bunion. It is considered to be a deformity, and there may be several reasons why this condition may occur. Research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in the formation of bunions. If you happen to have a pre-existing case of bunions, wearing shoes that do not fit correctly could possibly make it even worse. This type of footwear may include shoes that have a narrow toe area, which does not have adequate room for the toes to move about in. This may result in the toes being forced to squeeze into an area that is too small. There is a significant reduction in the development of bunions in non-western countries and this may be a result of wearing shoes that fit correctly. If you feel you have a bunion, it’s suggested to speak with a podiatrist who can begin treatment options that are right for you.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, contact Dr. Jim Maxka of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

What Is a Bunion?

Bunions are painful bony bumps that usually develop on the inside of the foot at the joint of the big toe. As the deformity increases over time, it may become painful to walk and wear shoes. Women are more likely to exacerbate existing bunions since they often wear tight, narrow shoes that shift their toes together. Bunion pain can be relieved by wearing wider shoes with enough room for the toes.

Causes

  • Genetics – some people inherit feet that are more prone to bunion development
  • Inflammatory Conditions - rheumatoid arthritis and polio may cause bunion development

Symptoms

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Callus or corns on the bump
  • Restricted motion in the big toe

In order to diagnose your bunion, your podiatrist may ask about your medical history, symptoms, and general health. Your doctor might also order an x-ray to take a closer look at your feet. Nonsurgical treatment options include orthotics, padding, icing, changes in footwear, and medication. If nonsurgical treatments don’t alleviate your bunion pain, surgery may be necessary.

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

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One out of ten broken bones is reported to be in the feet. When an object crushes, bends, or stretches the bone beyond acceptable ranges, bones break. A break in the foot is either a fracture or a straight break.

The location of any break can tell you how the break happened. Toes, for instance, break typically as a result of something being kicked hard and with great force. Heel breaks almost always are a result of an improper landing from a tall height. Twists or sprains are the other two frequent occurrences. As with all usual breaks, they result from unexpected accident or sudden injury. As with stress fractures, breaks form as a process over time from repeated stress on already present cracks. Runners, dancers, and gymnasts are the usual athletes who receive this type of break. Stress fractures result from incredible pressure on the feet. It is no surprise these athletes bear the majority of reported fractures.

Pain, swelling, bruising, and redness are all indicative of the typical symptoms from a broken foot. Severe pain—to the point of not being able to walk—usually depends on the location of the break in the foot. Toes are on the lower scale of pain threshold, but heels are high, as are a few other particular bones. As the severity of the broken foot increases, symptoms like blueness, numbness, misshaping of the foot, cuts, or deformities will become apparent. These symptoms indicate the need to see a medical professional with access to an x-ray facility.

Prior to seeing a specialist, precautions should be taken to reduce pain and swelling. Elevate and stabilize the foot, and refrain from moving it. Immobilization of the foot is the next priority, so creating a homemade splint is acceptable. Keep in mind that while creating a splint, any increase of pain or cutting off blood circulation means that the splint should be removed immediately. Use ice to decrease swelling and relieve pain symptoms.

When dealing with a medical center, the patient should note that the treatment can vary. The treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture and the cause of the break. Crutches, splits, or casts are common treatments while surgery has been known to be used in more severe cases in order to repair the break in the bones. 

Monday, 01 October 2018 00:00

Causes and Symptoms of a Broken Foot

People who have broken their foot are most likely familiar with the severe pain and discomfort that may be associated with this condition. Typical symptoms of this type of fracture may include swelling, bruising and the inability to walk on the foot. The most common reasons for this to occur may be from a fall or from overuse, which may be a result of consistent running and jumping. If you feel you have broken your foot, a proper diagnosis must be performed, which will determine the severity of the fracture. This is accomplished by having an X-ray, CT scan or bone scan taken. When this occurs, proper treatment may begin, which may include wearing a cast or a supportive boot. In severe breaks where the bone protrudes from the skin, surgery may be a necessary option to repair any damage the foot has incurred. It is suggested to speak with a podiatrist if you have broken your foot and would like to learn about treatment options that are correct for you.

A broken foot requires immediate medical attention and treatment. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Broken Foot Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A broken foot is caused by one of the bones in the foot typically breaking when bended, crushed, or stretched beyond its natural capabilities. Usually the location of the fracture indicates how the break occurred, whether it was through an object, fall, or any other type of injury. 

Common Symptoms of Broken Feet:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blue in color
  • Numbness
  • Cold
  • Misshapen
  • Cuts
  • Deformities

Those that suspect they have a broken foot shoot seek urgent medical attention where a medical professional could diagnose the severity.

Treatment for broken bones varies depending on the cause, severity and location. Some will require the use of splints, casts or crutches while others could even involve surgery to repair the broken bones. Personal care includes the use of ice and keeping the foot stabilized and elevated.

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

Read more about Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for a Broken Foot
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