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Posts for tag: Hammertoes

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
July 05, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.

During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.

However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.

Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.

Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.

If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
  • Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
  • Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
  • Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.

If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 09, 2018
Category: Toe Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

If you’ve noticed that your toes have become strangely rigid or curled, you may have a foot deformity called hammertoes.

A hammertoe gets its name from the way the bent toe resembles the shape of a hammer. Corns or calluses may appear in response to pressure and friction from repetitive actions, such as the toes rubbing against footwear.

In many people, the tendency for hammertoes is hereditary which may worsen by wearing ill-fitted shoes. Conditions such as trauma and arthritis can also worsen this condition. Hammertoes are more flexible at the beginning which is why early treatment can help yield better results.

Hammertoes seldom improve on their own, thus it is necessary to visit a foot doctor for proper diagnoses and treatment.

Here are some of the early hammertoe treatments that a podiatrist may suggest:

  • Stretching and strengthening.  Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can help you reverse the muscle imbalance that causes a hammertoe.
  • Splinting. Toes can be realigned with the help of splints or tape to avoid further bending.
  • Orthotic shoe inserts. Inserts can help reposition the foot and toe while wearing shoes.
  • Padding. Corns and calluses that may appear on the top of hammertoes can be isolated by using pads which help to reduce pressure and stress and lessen pain.
  • Footwear. Choice of proper footwear is important. Tight shoes and high heels should be avoided.

If you are suffering from hammertoes or any other foot and ankle condition, then it is time to call a podiatrist. Call our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, of Mid- Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. Dr. Cohen and his team of highly qualified professionals can be your go-to team in helping you get rid of hammertoes and put an end to all your foot and ankle problems. You can reach our office at 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. 

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
August 01, 2018
Category: proper footwear
Tags: Bunions   Hammertoes   painful  

For hundreds of years, high heels have been a major fashion statement. Although they are extremely stylish, many high heels are not designed to support the foot in a healthy manner. Anyone who wears a pair of high heels can tell you how painful they can make your feet feel after walking in them all day, but the damage a heel does goes deeper than that. High heels can hurt your feet, legs, posture and back.

Our feet are designed to be flat against the ground. The ground naturally keeps our feet firm and in the proper shape with the forefoot and heel planted firmly on the ground. Now that we wear shoes, our natural foot shape has changed over time.  This is especially true with high heels.  High heels make the feet feel as if they are constantly walking uphill which adds additional pressure. Constant uphill pressure can lead to pain and metatarsalgia. Other common risks are hammertoes and bunions.

High heels also change your center of gravity. They make your body lean unnaturally forward to compensate for the higher heel, and this overcompensation can cause the shortening of your calf muscles as well as very painful shin splints.

Your knees can also be affected by high heels and their extra pressure. When we walk in a typical manner, our knees do not constantly bend. With high heels, it has been shown with studies that the knees constantly bend. This constant pressure can lead to swelling, pain and osteoarthritis later on.

Because your center of gravity has changed due to high heels and the muscles begin to shorten, your back can become affected. When the lower back muscles are affected, you may experience painful spasms that make it hurt to walk.

High heels can be very detrimental to the health of your feet and your ankles. Not only can they hurt muscles in the body permanently, but they can also cause deformities of the feet. Instead of a pair of high heels, opt for a short-heeled wedge sandal. Not only are they fashionable, but they have less painful long-term effects to the body.

If you hurt your feet by wearing a pair of high heels, then it is time to call a podiatrist. Call Dr. Andrew H. Cohen, of Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center, located in Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan. You can reach our office at 989-790-8009 or make an appointment online today. High heels do not have to cause you grief.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
July 05, 2018
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

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.

By Mid-Michigan Foot & Ankle Center
May 18, 2017
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Bunions   Hammertoes   orthotics   corns  

The summertime is for sandals and bare feet so treating it early could make the difference. Corns are annoying and sometimes painful if there is repeated pressure on your toes. There are certain medicated products that can treat corns but people who have delicate skin or poor circulation in their feet should consult a podiatrist quickly. Andrew Cohen at Mid - Michigan Foot and Ankle Center can help you get rid of your corns.

How Do I Know it’s a Corn?

  • It will be a thick, hard patch of skin that appears mostly on your toes.
  • A bump can grow on the skin and become flaky and dry around that area.
  • Tenderness and pain will occur in time and the corn will become uncomfortable.  

What Can I Do?

  • Soak your foot in hot water and baking soda to soften.
  • Rub crushed garlic on the corn and let it dry, cover it with a band aid and leave on while you sleep.
  • Sand the corn away with a pumice stone or nail file to remove dead skin.
  • Make a cream out of baking soda lemon juice and water to apply to the corn.
  • Soak a cotton ball in castor oil and tape to the corn overnight.

What Causes Corns?

  • Walking barefoot or not wearing socks in your shoes.
  • Sports activates that put pressure on feet
  • If you have bunions, hammertoes or damaged sweat glands it is likely that one will form.
  • Diabetes or other conditions that involve poor blood flow increases the chance of getting a corn.  

Our specialists may recommend to surgically treat the corn or suggest special shoes or shoe orthotics that will reduce pressure over the area where the corn is.  It isn’t hard to get rid of a corn and there are many home remedies that you could try but, the best way to keep it in control would be to make an appointment and seek regular foot care. This is helpful for those who tend to get corns often and especially if they are diabetic. In those cases, if the corn becomes infected then you should seek medical care right away by calling our office in Saginaw or Essexville Michigan at 989-790-8009. Call to schedule a visit today before your corn gets out of control.