Hammertoe is a type of foot deformity that arises due to an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles that usually hold the toe straight. It causes the affected toe to bend upwards, resembling a hammer. This deformity can be caused by injury to the foot, your choice of footwear, and the structure of your foot. Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia are your Fairfax podiatrists who specializes in the treatment of hammertoe.
Two Types of Hammertoes
- Flexible hammertoe: In the early stages of this condition, it can be treated by wearing flat shoes that are at least a half-inch longer than your longest toe. Foot exercises, such as picking up small objects with your toes, may help to increase the flexibility of the affected toe. Hot and cold treatment may help with swelling and pain. You may also find comfort in placing a pad over the toe to prevent shoes from rubbing the skin.
- Rigid hammertoe: In the second stage of the condition, the toe joint becomes inflexible. In this case, the home treatments suggested above may only offer a brief respite from symptoms. Your podiatrist may suggest making a customized orthotic device. If this does not work, surgery may be an option.
Symptoms of Hammertoe
Hammertoe causes an abnormal bend in the middle joint a toe. It can occur in any toe, though typically the second, third or fourth toes are affected. The deformity is clearly visible. Symptoms include:
- Movement causes pain in the affected toe
- Callouses and corns may develop in the affected joint
- A burning sensation may be felt
- Visible swelling and redness
- A burning sensation around the affected joint
Surgery for Hammertoe
Types of surgery for hammertoe include:
- Tendon transfer: In this type of surgery, the tendon is pulled across the top of the joint of the affected toe. This realigns the toe and improves its appearance. It also minimizes pain.
- Fusion: A portion of the joint is removed to allow the bone in the toe to grow together. This type of surgery straightens the toe and minimizes pain.
If you’re looking for a podiatrist in Fairfax, VA, call Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia today on (703) 352-8888 to make an appointment at Oakton Foot and Ankle Center.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the feet that is typically characterized by itchy, burning patches of skin between the toes that may also crack or bleed. Since untreated athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails, it’s particularly important that you treat this problem as soon as you notice it. Athlete’s foot won’t typically clear up by itself; however, home remedies and treatments may be all you need to eliminate the fungal infection.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
If you are an otherwise healthy individual who is just dealing with an unfortunate bout of athlete’s foot chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to treat the problem on your own. There are a variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. Make sure to read and follow all instructions to ensure that the medication gets rid of the infection.
Along with properly treating your athlete’s foot it’s also important to keep feet as dry as possible. After all, fungus thrives best in warm, damp environments. By keeping feet dry you make it a less hospitable environment for this infection. This means wearing clean socks and shoes every day. Opt for socks with natural fibers, which are breathable and can wick away sweat. If your feet are particularly sweaty you can also apply an antifungal powder throughout the day.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you find that cracked, painful feet are making it difficult to stand or move around then this means it’s time to see a podiatrist for treatment; however, if the fungal infection isn’t impacting mobility then you may be able to treat the problem on your own with over-the-counter medications.
If you notice signs of an infection such as a swollen foot, pus draining from the foot, increased redness, or open sores it’s also important that you see a doctor right away. Antibiotics will be necessary in order to treat the infection.
If you are dealing with diabetes, nerve damage in your feet or other problems that impact the health of your feet it’s even more important that you see a podiatrist right away if you notice symptoms of athlete’s foot or other problems. Do not try to treat the infection on your own, as this could lead to more serious complications.
If you are dealing with persistent or recurring athlete’s foot it’s important that you also have a podiatrist that you can turn to for answers. While this condition may seem harmless it’s important that you don’t leave it untreated. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment you’re looking for.
There are 52 bones in your feet and ankles, which means that feet contain about 25 percent of the bones in our bodies. Our feet also contain about 20-25 percent of the total joints in our body; therefore, it’s not too surprising to find out that your feet and ankles are unfortunately more likely to deal with tendon and joint pain at some point, whether through injury or certain conditions such as arthritis. When pain and other foot problems arise it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to.
Common Causes of Tendon and Joint Pain in the Feet
Tendons are soft tissues that connect the muscles to the bones. Everything from overuse and foot injuries to structural imbalances can lead to pain. Common causes of tendon and joint pain include:
- Tendonitis: inflammation of the tendon caused by injury or overuse
- Sprains and strains: a common but usually minor foot and ankle injury, typically caused by physical activity
- Arthritis: a chronic, progressive condition that leads to joint pain, stiffness, and damage (osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect feet and ankles)
- Obesity: being overweight or obese can also put excessive pressure on the joints and tendons of your feet and ankles, leading to pain and other problems
Treating Tendon and Joint Pain
Visiting a podiatrist is the best choice you can make if you are dealing with severe, persistent, or new foot and ankle pain. Since some conditions can get worse without proper care and rest it’s important to find out what’s causing your pain so you know how to effectively treat it.
If you are dealing with pain caused by a sports injury or strain it’s a good idea to see a medical professional so you know the extent of the injury. More severe sprains may require protective boots or crutches to reduce the amount of weight being placed on the injured ankle or foot.
Arthritis is also a surprisingly common cause of foot pain. If you notice joint pain and stiffness that affects functionality, range of motion and mobility in your feet then you could be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis can get worse without treatment, it is important that you work with your pediatrician and a team of medical professionals to determine the best medications and course of action to help manage your foot pain and to prevent permanent joint damage.
If you are experiencing foot pain it’s important to see a qualified medical professional that can determine the best way to treat your symptoms. Call your podiatrist today for a comprehensive evaluation.
Did you know that the metatarsals, or bones in the foot, are the most commonly broken bones in the human body? These long bones run the length of the foot and a fractured metatarsal means that there is a break in at least one of these five bones (the fifth metatarsal is the most commonly fractured metatarsal bone). If you suspect that you’ve broken a bone in your foot it’s important that you see a podiatrist right away.
Broken metatarsals most commonly occur as a result of a sports injury; however, this fracture can also occur over time due to overuse and wear (this is commonly known as a stress fracture). Dropping a heavy item on the foot or experiencing a bad fall can also cause broken metatarsals. Signs and symptoms of a broken toe caused by trauma to the foot include:
- Hearing a snapping or popping sound at the moment of injury
- Severe and sudden pain in the toe immediately after impact or trauma
- Bruising or swelling of the toe (this may not appear until the day after the injury)
- Changes in the alignment or appearance of your toe
Symptoms of a stress fracture will be a bit different from traumatic fractures. Since stress fractures occur over time as a result of overuse you may start to notice foot pain with your routine activities or pain that goes away with rest but is exacerbated by physical activity. A metatarsal that has sustained a stress fracture may also be tender to the touch.
Some people assume that if they can walk on their foot then they must not be dealing with a broken metatarsal, but this is simply not true. This is why it’s always best to play it safe and to schedule an immediate evaluation with a foot and ankle specialist if you have experienced a traumatic foot injury that you suspect has led to one or more broken metatarsals. Not treating the broken bone could lead to certain deformities, which can greatly impact mobility. You may also experience chronic pain or be at an increased risk for arthritis.
Treating Broken Metatarsals
Common ways to treat a traumatic fracture include rest, splinting, or tapping toe affected toe, custom-made shoe inserts and wearing rigid footwear such as a special boot or shoe that provides the foot with protection, support, and cushioning.
If the break is severe enough your podiatrist may recommend surgery, but surgery is rarely necessary for treating broken toes. Those with stress fractures will want to avoid any activity that causes repetitive stress on the foot, to prevent the stress fracture from getting worse.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a broken bone after a fall, accident or injury then it’s time to schedule an immediate appointment with a podiatrist. The sooner you seek treatment the sooner you can begin your road to recovery.
Struggling with heel pain? Here at Oakton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dharia proudly provide patients with quality foot care, including the diagnosis and treatment of painful conditions. Read on to learn how they can help you too.
More about Heel Pain
Heel pain may be the result of a number of conditions, including a stress fracture, nerve irritation, tendonitis, arthritis, or a cyst. However, the most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, a condition in which the plantar fascia (a band of connective tissue that extends from the heel to the toes) becomes inflamed.
Some causes of plantar fasciitis include:
- Faulty structure of the foot, such as overly flat feet or high-arched feet
- Wearing non-supportive footwear on hard, flat surfaces
- Certain occupations that require standing for long periods of time
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on the bottom of the heel and in the foot arch. People may also feel pain worsening over a period of months and swelling on the bottom of the heel. Pain is usually the worst in the morning, just after getting out of bed.
Drs. Steven Vetter and Jugal Dhari diagnose plantar fasciitis with the use of medical history and examining your foot. Additionally, X-ray screenings or other imaging modalities are used to figure out what exactly could be the root of the problem.
Your Fairfax podiatrist will opt for non-surgical treatments first. That includes stretching exercises, avoiding barefoot movement, icing your heel for 20 minutes several times a day, cutting down on extended physical activities, choosing more appropriate shoes, and using oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
Your doctor may also suggest orthotic devices. Orthotics are custom shoe inserts that optimize foot function. Some examples of orthotics include:
- Rigid orthotics, which control motion in two major foot joints
- Semirigid orthotics, which provide dynamic balance to the foot while walking or participating in sports
- Soft orthotic devices, which help absorb shock, increase balance, and take the pressure off of sore spots
Other Non-Surgical Treatment Options Include:
- Padding, taping and strapping
- Injection therapy
- Removable walking cast
- Night splint
- Physical therapy
Need Relief? Give Us a Call
If you'd like to speak with Drs. Steven Vetter or Jugal Dharia of Oakton Foot & Ankle Center in Fairfax, VA, about heel pain, dial (703) 352-8888 today.
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