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Jim Maxka, DPM

Hanover (717) 524-1034


December 2020

Monday, 28 December 2020 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, 28 December 2020 00:00

Mild Relief Options for Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a noticeable foot condition that many people experience. It is characterized by an upward bend in the middle joint of the second or third toe, and can often cause difficulty in wearing shoes. This ailment can be prompted by having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes. Additionally, many patients develop hammertoe from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in. Mild relief may be found when specific stretches are performed on the toes, and it may help to wear protective pads on top of the affected toes. If you have hammertoe, please consult with a podiatrist. A podiatrist can offer treatment options which may include surgery that can permanently straighten the toe.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Jim Maxka of South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

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.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Monday, 21 December 2020 00:00

What Caused My Ingrown Toenail?

Pain is often present with ingrown toenails. They occur as the outer edge of the toenail grows into the skin, and they generally require prompt treatment. The symptoms that are typically associated with ingrown toenails include pain and discomfort, swelling, and a discharge from the skin surrounding the nail may be present in severe cases. Ingrown toenails can develop as a result of genetic factors, from wearing shoes that do not have adequate room for the toes to move freely in, or from improperly trimming the toenails. Patients who have this ailment may find mild relief when the affected foot is soaked in warm water, followed by using a piece of cotton to gently pull the skin away from the nail. If you have developed an ingrown toenail, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a podiatrist who can help you determine the best course of treatment.

Ingrown toenails may initially present themselves as a minor discomfort, but they may progress into an infection in the skin without proper treatment. For more information about ingrown toenails, 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.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the corner or side of a toenail grows into the soft flesh surrounding it. They often result in redness, swelling, pain, and in some cases, infection. This condition typically affects the big toe and may recur if it is not treated properly.

Causes

  • Improper toenail trimming
  • Genetics
  • Improper shoe fitting
  • Injury from pedicures or nail picking
  • Abnormal gait
  • Poor hygiene

You are more likely to develop an ingrown toenail if you are obese, have diabetes, arthritis, or have any fungal infection in your nails. Additionally, people who have foot or toe deformities are at a higher risk of developing an ingrown toenail.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of ingrown toenails are redness, swelling, and pain. In rare cases, there may be a yellowish drainage coming from the nail.

Treatment

Ignoring an ingrown toenail can have serious complications. Infections of the nail border can progress to a deeper soft-tissue infection, which can then turn into a bone infection. You should always speak with your podiatrist if you suspect you have an ingrown toenail, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.

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.

Read more about Ingrown Toenail Care
Monday, 21 December 2020 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.  

Monday, 21 December 2020 00:00

Gout Pain Can Be Managed

Gout is a painful, inflammatory form of arthritis. Those affected will typically feel an intense stiffness in the joints of their feet, particularly in the big toe. Schedule a visit to learn about how gout can be managed and treated.

Monday, 14 December 2020 00:00

Relieving Pain Associated With Neuropathy

Patients who experience peripheral neuropathy will most likely have tingling and burning sensations. It can affect their ability to accomplish daily activities and can hinder overall quality of life. Some of the pain that is often associated with this condition may be alleviated by wearing padded socks and shoes, and both should be non-constricting. There are topical treatments that may offer some relief, and these can consist of herbal neuropathy rubs. It can be beneficial to your overall health, as well as your foot health, to include vegetables, meats, and whole grains into a healthy diet, in addition to limiting alcohol intake. If you have this type of pain in your feet, it is recommended that you schedule a consultation with a podiatrist who can help you to manage this condition.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy can be a potentially serious condition, especially if it is left undiagnosed. If you have any concerns that you may be experiencing nerve loss in your feet, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment for neuropathy.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition that leads to damage to the nerves in the body. Peripheral neuropathy, or neuropathy that affects your peripheral nervous system, usually occurs in the feet. Neuropathy can be triggered by a number of different causes. Such causes include diabetes, infections, cancers, disorders, and toxic substances.

Symptoms of Neuropathy Include:

  • Numbness
  • Sensation loss
  • Prickling and tingling sensations
  • Throbbing, freezing, burning pains
  • Muscle weakness

Those with diabetes are at serious risk due to being unable to feel an ulcer on their feet. Diabetics usually also suffer from poor blood circulation. This can lead to the wound not healing, infections occurring, and the limb may have to be amputated.

Treatment

To treat neuropathy in the foot, podiatrists will first diagnose the cause of the neuropathy. Figuring out the underlying cause of the neuropathy will allow the podiatrist to prescribe the best treatment, whether it be caused by diabetes, toxic substance exposure, infection, etc. If the nerve has not died, then it’s possible that sensation may be able to return to the foot.

Pain medication may be issued for pain. Electrical nerve stimulation can be used to stimulate nerves. If the neuropathy is caused from pressure on the nerves, then 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.

Read more about Neuropathy
Monday, 14 December 2020 00:00

Neuropathy

Neuropathy is the weakness, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet due to damage to the peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves are responsible for sending information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. Causes of Neuropathy include: traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, exposure to toxins, and diabetes.

Diabetes is the most common cause, with more than half of the diabetic population developing some type of neuropathy. There are several types of neuropathy and they vary based on the damage of the nerves. Mononeuropathy is classified as only one nerve being damaged. When multiple nerves are affected, it is referred as polyneuropathy. One of the types of polyneuropathy is distal symmetric polyneuropathy. It is the most common for people with diabetes and starts when the nerves furthest away from the central nervous begin to malfunction. The symptoms begin with pain and numbness in the feet and then they travel up to the legs. A rarer form of polyneuropathy is acute symmetrical peripheral neuropathy, which is a severe type that affects nerves throughout the body and is highly associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the peripheral nervous system and can be fatal. Although there are many types of neuropathy, most of them share the same symptoms such as pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, dizziness, and digestive problems. Since neuropathy affects the nerves, those affected should be careful of burns, infection and falling, as depleted sensations disguise such ailments.

The best way to prevent neuropathy is to manage any medical conditions such as diabetes, alcoholism, or rheumatoid arthritis. Creating and managing a healthy lifestyle can also go a long way. Having a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can keep the nerves healthy. These types of food have the nutrients to prevent neuropathy. Regularly exercising can help as well, but it is best to consult with a doctor about the right amount. In addition to diet and exercise, avoiding risk factors will also prevent neuropathy. This includes repetitive motions, cramped positions, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking and overindulging on alcohol.

Monday, 07 December 2020 00:00

Foot Pain

The feet, being the foundation of the body, carry all of the body’s weight and are therefore prone to experiencing pain and discomfort. If you are experiencing foot pain, it is important to determine where in the foot you are experiencing this pain to help discover the cause of it. While pain can be experienced virtually anywhere in the foot, the most common sites of foot pain are in the heel and ankle.   

Heel pain can be due to a multitude of conditions including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and heel spurs. Pain experienced in the ankle can be a sign of an ankle sprain, arthritis, gout, ankle instability, ankle fracture, or nerve compression. In more serious cases, pain in the foot can be a sign of improper alignment or an infection.

Foot pain can be accompanied by symptoms including redness, swelling, stiffness and warmth in the affected area. Whether the pain can be described as sharp or dull depends on the foot condition behind it. It is important to visit your local podiatrist if your foot pain and its accompanying symptoms persist and do not improve over time.

Depending on the location and condition of your foot pain, your podiatrist may prescribe certain treatments. These treatments can include but are not limited to prescription or over-the-counter drugs and medications, certain therapies, cortisone injections, or surgery.

If you are experiencing persistent foot pain, it is important to consult with your foot and ankle doctor to determine the cause and location. He or she will then prescribe the best treatment for you. While milder cases of foot pain may respond well to rest and at-home treatments, more serious cases may take some time to fully recover.

Monday, 07 December 2020 00:00

What Is Causing My Foot Pain?

Pain is a common symptom of many foot problems. When going to the doctor, it is helpful to describe where in the foot the pain is occurring and under what conditions you feel it. Pain in certain areas of the foot and at certain times is often associated with specific conditions. For example, pain in the sole of the foot that is most intense when taking your first steps after a long rest, such as when you first wake up in the morning, can be indicative of plantar fasciitis. Sharp pain in the back of your foot that worsens with activity and is accompanied by tenderness in the Achilles tendon may be a sign of Achilles tendinopathy. Burning, tingling, or shooting pains in the ankle and heel that worsen with standing and activity may be indicative of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Regardless of what may be causing your pain, a podiatrist can examine your foot and diagnose the problem. If you are experiencing foot pain, consult with a podiatrist today.

Foot Pain

Foot pain can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you have a foot pain, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Causes

Foot pain is a very broad condition that could be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bone Spurs
  • Corns
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Arthritis (such as Gout, Rheumatoid, and Osteoarthritis)
  • Flat Feet
  • Injury (from stress fractures, broken toe, foot, ankle, Achilles tendon ruptures, and sprains)
  • And more

Diagnosis

To figure out the cause of foot pain, podiatrists utilize several different methods. This can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment depends upon the cause of the foot pain. Whether it is resting, staying off the foot, or having surgery; podiatrists have a number of treatment options available for foot pain.

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.

Read more about Foot Pain
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