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Posts for category: Foot Condition

By David T. Magnesen, DPM
July 05, 2018
Category: Foot Condition
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 David T. Magnesen, DPM
February 13, 2018
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Lisfranc Fracture  

Any fracture to the foot or ankle should be taken seriously, but a Lisfranc fracture is particularly concerning for podiatrists. Because the fracture happens at the center of the foot where there are many connections, without prompt treatment this problem can significantly reduce your ability to walk or participate in athletic activities. The worse the fracture gets, the harder it is to treat. Learn more about Lisfranc fractures to see if this might be the foot problem you're experiencing.

What Is a Lisfranc Fracture?
When the bones at the center of the foot become fractured, broken or shift out of place it is called a Lisfranc injury. The ligaments that hold the bones together and cartilage at joints can also tear. This can happen when a heavy object falls on the foot, the patient has a bad fall or the foot twists unnaturally. Athletes, like soccer and football players, may be at risk for Lisfranc fractures. 

Why It’s a Concern
A Lisfranc fracture is a major concern for podiatrists because if it is allowed to go untreated for an extended period of time it can lead to a disability of the foot. It often causes the bottom of the foot to swell, bruise and become darkly discolored (a telltale sign of a Lisfranc fracture). It can also be a very painful condition that is difficult to ignore.

Lisfranc Fracture Treatments
Your foot doctor will take X-rays to confirm that you have a Lisfranc injury. If so, conservative treatments may be implemented first, including wearing a removable cast or an orthotic device that will train your bones and joints into a position for healing. In a severe case where there’s a clear fracture or severe subluxation of the bones, you may have to have foot surgery. Two common surgical solutions are fusion (healing the bones together) and internal fixation (involves the use of screws and other devices to repair the foot).

Talk to a Podiatrist
The earlier you seek treatment for a Lisfranc fracture, the better for your long-term foot health. Your podiatrist will discuss your options and come up with an ideal plan for fixing the problem. Call a foot doctor today to schedule an exam and get an official diagnosis.

By David T. Magnesen, DPM
January 16, 2018
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Sesamoid Injuries  

Everything You Need to Know About Sesamoid Injuries

 


Think you have a sesamoid injury? Sesamoids are bones embedded in tendons. Sesamoid injuries are often associated with activities requiring increased pressure on the foot, such as tennis, basketball, running, and football. Podiatrists diagnose and treat various foot problems, including sesamoid injuries. Here's everything you've ever wanted to know about sesamoid injuries.

Types of Sesamoid Injuries

Sesamoid injuries can involve the bones, tendons, and surrounding tissue in the joint. Sesamoiditis is an injury involving inflammation of the sesamoid bones and tendons. A sesamoid fracture is an acute or chronic fracture in the sesamoid bone. Turf toe is an injury to the soft tissue surrounding the big toe joint. 

Sesamoid Injury Causes

Sesamoid injuries can be caused by landing too hard on the foot after a fall or jump. Cracks in the sesamoid bones can be caused by wear and tear on the foot over time. People with high arches are at risk for developing sesamoid injuries. Frequently wearing high heels can also be a contributing factor. 

Sesamoid Injury Symptoms

The most common symptom of a sesamoid injury is pain when you move your big toe, stand, run, jump, or walk. With a fracture, the pain will be immediate, whereas with sesamoiditis, pain may develop gradually. A sesamoid injury may be painful for weeks to months. Bruising and swelling may or may not be present.

Sesamoid Injury Diagnosis

If you think you have a sesamoid injury, see a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your podiatrist will ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history and examine your foot. To diagnose your foot problem, your podiatrist may order X-rays and laboratory tests.

Sesamoid Injury Treatment

Inflammation and pain are treated with oral medications or steroid injections. A pad may be placed in your shoe to cushion the sesamoid area. Your foot may be placed in a cast and crutches may be used to take pressure off of your foot. The rehabilitation period following immobilization may include physical therapy, such as therapeutic exercises and ultrasound therapy. Your podiatrist may recommend surgery if your symptoms persist after nonsurgical treatment. 

A sesamoid injury can affect your day-to-day activities and make life frustrating and miserable. Life always offers us another chance to get back on track. It's called today. Get relief today by scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist near you. A podiatrist can provide all the relief you need, with relatively little expense or hassle.

By David T. Magnesen, DPM
January 05, 2018
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Claw Toes   Mallet Toes  

Understanding Claw and Mallet Toes

 

Think you may have mallet or claw toes? Mallet and claw toes form over years and are common in adults. Mallet and claw toes are among the most common toe problems. If you think you have mallet or claw toes, see a podiatrist right away. If you don't treat the problem right away, you are more likely to need surgery. Here's what you need to know about claw and mallet toes.

What Are Mallet and Claw Toes?

Mallet and claw toes are toes that are bent into an abnormal position. They may hurt or look odd, or both. These toe deformities usually occur in the small toes, not the big toes. Claw toe often affects the four small toes at the same time. The toes bend up at the joint where the foot and toes meet. This causes the toes to curl downward. Mallet toes often affect the second toes, but it may occur in the other toes too. Mallet toes bend down at the joint closest to the tip of the toes. 

What Causes These Conditions?

Tight footwear is the most common cause of mallet and claw toes. Wearing tight footwear can cause the muscles of the toes to get out of balance. Less often, these conditions are linked with other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke, or an injury to the ankle or foot. Women are affected more often than men because they are more likely to wear narrow shoes or high heels.

How Are They Diagnosed?

Your podiatrist will take a detailed medical history and ask about your daily activities and footwear. A physical examination comes next, in which the level of deformity and scope of pain will be assessed. Diagnosis of these claw and mallet toes is usually obvious from the physical exam. To further evaluate the joints and bones of your feet and confirm a diagnosis, your podiatrist may order x-rays or other imaging tests.

How Are They Treated?

Buying shoes with more room in the toes, filing down calluses and corns, and padding the toes most often relieve the pain. If you have pain, your doctor may put a splint or pad on the toe. A custom orthotic device may be placed in your shoe to help control the muscle/tendon imbalance and alleviate your pain. This keeps the toe from rubbing on the top of the shoe. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to ease pain and inflammation. If these steps don’t work, you may need surgery to straighten the toes.

Podiatric medicine a branch of science that is devoted to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions of the ankle, foot, and lower extremity. Podiatrists diagnose and treat various foot problems, including claw and mallet toes. They offer a variety of treatments for claw and mallet toes. If you think you may have claw or mallet toes, a podiatrist in your area can help you achieve real relief.

By David T. Magnesen, DPM
July 03, 2017
Category: Foot Condition
Tags: Toenail Fungus  

Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus can be painful, irritating and embarrassing. When you experience trauma to your nail, the nail bed is lifted, allowing fungus to invade. Without treatment, this fungus can grow and spread, particularly in dark, warm, moist environments, such as socks and shoes.

Common signs and symptoms of toenail fungus include:

  • Discoloring or yellowing of the nail

  • Thickening or crumbling of the nail

  • Swelling around the nail

  • Disfigured nails

  • Streaks or spots down the side of the nail

  • Foul-smelling debris under the nail

  • Pain and discomfort

  • Complete nail loss

Prevention is Key

Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. Because removal of the fungus is challenging, prevention plays an important role in treatment.

  • Keep nails neatly trimmed.

  • Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing with soap and water, drying feet and toes, carefully, and changing shoes regularly.

  • Always wear shoes in public areas, such as showers, locker rooms and pools.

  • Wear comfortable shoes that aren't too tight.

  • Avoid wearing nail polish for long periods, as it prevents the nail from breathing and can seal in fungus.

Treatment of Toenail Fungus

If you do develop toenail fungus, especially if the infection has become painful, visit our office. People with a chronic illness like diabetes should always see a podiatrist if they notice any changes in their nails, as it may be an indication of a more serious issue.

To eliminate the fungus, a podiatrist may remove as much of the infected nail as possible by trimming, filing or dissolving it. Oral or topical antifungal medications may also be prescribed to treat the infection. Laser treatment options are also sometimes available.

It’s only for severe, chronic infections that surgical removal of the nail might be recommended. Our office can help diagnose the cause of your toenail troubles, and make the best recommendation for treatment.