Texas Foot Doctor's Blog
Posts for: January, 2017
A hammertoe is one of the most common toe conditions, usually stemming from muscle imbalance in which the joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe are bent into a contracted, claw-like position. In the early stages, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple conservative measures, but if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle imbalance. Tight-fitting and high-heeled shoes often aggravate the condition, crowding your toes forward. A hammertoe can also be the result of injury in which you break or jam the toe, or from conditions like arthritis or stroke that affect nerves and muscles. In some cases, hammertoes may even be inherited.
Because of their clenched, claw-like appearance, hammertoes will generally be visibly present. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Difficult or painful motion of a toe joint
- Redness or swelling at a toe joint
- Development of calluses and corns
- Open sores in severe cases
The foot and ankle professionals at our office recommend the following for preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with hammertoe:
- Wear comfortable, proper-fitting shoes that provide support and allow enough room for your toes
- Avoid high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes
- Stretch your toe muscles to relieve pressure and pain
- Apply splints, cushions or pads to relieve pressure
- Moisturize with cream to keep the skin soft
Generally, a modification of footwear will reduce the symptoms associated with hammertoe. Other non-surgical treatment includes padding to shield corns and calluses and orthotic devices that are placed in the shoe to help control muscle imbalance. We can help you determine the best treatment for your symptoms. Severe cases that don't respond to conservative measures may require surgery to restore your toe's flexibility and eliminate the pressure.
Hammertoes are progressive - they don't go away by themselves and the condition usually gets worse over time. Once a podiatrist at has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
With Temperatures dropping below freezing points in the upcoming days frostbite can become a real concern. Frostbite can potentially cause irreversible damage if not caught in time!
What exactly is Frostbite?
Just like liquids turn to ice in freezing temperatures, your toes, fingers, ears and nose can freeze if not properly covered in cold weather. Icicles form in the soft tissues causing damage to cells. Permanent damage can occur in as quickly as 5 minutes in frigid temperatures!
There are Four stages:
Stage 1: Normal
Stage 2: Also known as Frostnip; exposed skin becomes red and sore. May notice some irritation with Pins and Needles sensation.
Stage 3: Superficial Frostbite: Blisters may form but no major damage is seen to deeper layers of skin.
Stage 4: Involves all layers of skin and can cause permanent irreversible damage that may result in amputation.
How can I avoid getting frostbite?
Hands and feet account for 90% of frostbite cases! Frostbite can be prevented by limiting cold exposure and keeping the feet as warm and dry as possible. Make sure you are wearing dry wicking socks to avoid moisture in your feet, followed by a warm lined water proof boot/shoe.
Double socks work well by using a synthetic moisture wicking fabric inner layer (such as polypropylene) and an insulating outer layer such as wool or cashmere.
Change out of wet socks immediately.
Tobacco users and Patients with Diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Diseases should take extra precautions since they are at a higher risk for developing frostbite due to decreased blood flow their hands and feet.
What to do if I think I have frostbite?
Seek Medical care immediately if you think you may be developing frostbite. Move to a warm area and remove constricting or wet shoes and socks and insulate your feet. Do not use hot water, fire, or heating pad because these methods may cause burns to the skin if numbness is present. Your doctor will ask you questions about your exposure to cold including temperature and length of exposure, and will examine you for superficial and deep injury. Prognosis will depend on the extent of injury. The severity of the injury may not be seen until the injured area rewarms.
For more information
Academy foot & ankle specialists
(817) 424- FOOT (3668)
If your child has ever complained of not being able to sleep at night due to leg pain, he or she may be experiencing what many people refer to as growing pains. They are common for kids during their growth and development years.
Growing pains are often characterized by a sharp, throbbing pain in the leg muscles, usually occurring during the night and sometimes late afternoon without an apparent cause. While there is no evidence that a child's growth is painful, these pains often occur during an active day of running, jumping or swimming.
Whenever a child is afflicted by episodes of recurrent leg pain, it is always best to have them evaluated. Other more serious foot and leg conditions should be ruled out before a diagnosis of growing pains is made.
Consult with a physician or a podiatrist if aching legs are a chronic complaint, or if the pain is so severe it interferes with the child's daily activities. Persistent pain and other unusual symptoms may indicate a more serious problem. The following symptoms are not due to growing pains and should be evaluated by a doctor:
- Persistent pain
- Swelling or redness in one specific area or joint
- Loss of Appetite
- Abnormal behavior
There are no treatments or medications available for growing pains, but parents can help ease the pain with simple home remedies.
- Massage and rub the child's ache until the pain passes
- Stretch your child's legs throughout the day and before bed
- Heating pads or warm baths can help soothe sore muscles
- Over-the-counter pain relievers (always consult with physician first)
While growing pains are commonly seen in young children during the growth and development years, lower extremity pain can also be caused by mechanical misalignments and structural imperfections. A thorough evaluation is crucial in order to determine the exact cause of your child's leg pain. If growing pains are the cause of your child's discomfort, rest assured that the pain is only temporary and will pass with time.