Posts for tag: 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.
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.
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.
While hammertoes are aesthetically unpleasing, they are also painful and if left untreated can lead to bigger issues. Hammer toes result from an imbalance in the ligaments and tendons in the toe. This imbalance causes the toe to curl. Hammertoes are usually caused by poor fitting footwear, arthritis and sometimes genetics. Hammertoes can be flexible or rigid. Flexible hammertoes can typically be corrected without surgery while rigid hammertoes often need surgery in order to correct them.
People with diabetes or poor circulation in their feet who also suffer from hammertoes should have them looked at immediately. The drawn-in nature of the toes can lead to complications that could results in toe amputation. Hammertoes also tend to rub against the inside of the shoes, causing blisters that can lead to an open sore. If you suffer from hammertoes, with or without other complications, and are ready for relief, give our office a call and schedule an appointment today. Our doctors can evaluate and give you a plan of care that will help ease your pain.
Diabetic therapeutic shoes are, in my opinion, one of the most important parts of my job. Diabetic shoes help save feet, plain and simple. According to the American Diabetes Association, each year 600,000 diabetic patients get foot ulcers, resulting in over 80,000 amputations.
As a podiatric physician I try to embrace preventative care modalities such as regular diabetic foot exams and diabetic shoes to prevent my patients from getting foot ulcers. My patients will tell you that I’m a stickler about these things. I do understand patient concerns over cost, but the vast majority of insurances cover diabetic shoes and insoles. It is widely accepted that preventative medicine is the best medicine, and not only the monetary cost but also the emotional and physical cost of an amputation makes money spent on diabetic shoes and insoles money well spent. So, what makes diabetic shoes and insoles so different from your run-of-the-mill shoe? Which patients need them? And how do you know if insurance will cover them? Read on for the low down on diabetic shoes.
The Definition: Diabetic shoes can also be referred to as extra depth or therapeutic shoes. They are specially designed shoes intended to reduce the risk of skin breakdown in diabetics with co-existing foot problems (such as neuropathy, poor circulation, and foot deformities).
Why They’re So Special:
- Diabetic shoes are extra deep to accommodate diabetic insoles or orthotics.
- They have a built in firm heel counter to provide medial and lateral rearfoot stability.
- The toe box of the shoe is higher so there is plenty of room for toes (even ones that like to stick up like hammertoes).
- There is little to no stitching on the inside of a diabetic shoe. The stitching is on the outside. Sometimes even the smallest prominence can irritate and cause skin breakdown in a diabetic foot.
- The collar around the ankle of the shoe is padded.
- The tongue of a diabetic shoe is thick and padded to help secure the foot back in the shoe.
- The end of the toe box of the shoe is protective to keep toes from being hurt when stubbed.
- Diabetic shoes have a non-skid sole to prevent falls.
- They are specially fitted by measuring the length and width of your foot.
- They are also equipped with a special multi-density diabetic insole that prevents back and forth movement (also known as sheering) of the foot in the shoe. A diabetic shoe isn’t really a diabetic shoe without this insole. Most insurances pay for 3 pairs of these insoles yearly, and they should be changed every 4 months to get the maximum benefit.
Insurance Coverage: It is rare that we come across an insurance plan that does not provide coverage for diabetic shoes and insoles. Medicare has a Diabetic Shoe Benefit, and they have a pretty clear-cut policy regarding this coverage. Even if you don’t have Medicare, many other insurances follow Medicare guidelines, and our office is happy to check out your insurance’s specific requirements. According to Medicare.com to be eligible for diabetic shoes:
You must have diabetes and one or more of the following conditions:
- Nerve damage in your feet with calluses on either foot
- Poor circulation in either foot
- Deformity of either foot
- Calluses on either foot that could lead to ulcers
- A history of past foot ulceration
- Partial or complete foot amputation
- You must have a prescription for the shoes. Our office can help you with this part.
- You must have documentation from the doctor managing your diabetes that you are in fact being treated for diabetes. Our office contacts this physician and provides them with the necessary paperwork for this.
- If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, after you have paid your yearly deductible, you will pay 20% of the approved Medicare amount for the shoes and inserts. You can think of this as the shoes and insoles being on sale for 80% off.
- If you receive your Medicare through a Medicare Advantage Health Plan then you may owe little to nothing depending on the plan, but you will have to follow your plan’s steps for approval. Our office will be happy to help you with that part too.
- You will save money on your shoes if you order from a Medicare-approved provider. Beware of telemarketers, mail-order companies, and shoe stores who may or may not be participating suppliers.
If you are a diabetic and would like to enquire about diabetic shoes and insoles we at Advanced Foot and Ankle Care would be happy to answer any questions that you may have about them. We have quite a few shoes on display in each of our offices as well as a catalog and a website with even more shoes. Our diabetic shoes come in a variety of styles from athletic to dress, walking to casual. I feel confident that we have a shoe to fit your needs.