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.
An ingrown toenail is most likely to occur on the big toe and is characterized by the edge of your toenail growing sideways and pushing into the skin of your toe, rather than growing over the top of it. Seniors are more susceptible to developing ingrown toenails, although this painful and often easily avoided condition can strike kids too.
Here are 3 of the causes of ingrown toenails:
- Improper toenail cutting technique—One of the primary causes of ingrown toenails is improper cutting. One of the easiest ways to prevent the toenail from getting started growing in the wrong direction is to be sure to cut your toenails straight across and a little long. That way, the nail can’t easily grow into the tender skin on the edge.
- Poorly fitting shoes—Shoes that are too tight can press your toes together and push on your toenails. This added pressure can cause the toenail to grow into the skin.
- Hereditary influence—The tendency to develop ingrown toenails can also run in families, so if your parents have them, then be aware. Proper care and cutting technique can help mitigate these hereditary tendencies.
You can try to treat an ingrown toenail on your own by lifting up the edge of the nail and holding it in place with a piece of cotton. The nail will eventually grow out, but it can take a while, and you have to monitor the nail daily.
If you are experiencing complications with ingrown toenails, seeing your podiatrist will ensure that you are getting the proper treatment. Schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry Center in New Albany, IN. Our highly-qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha, D.P.M., is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!
Since young children may not always be able to effectively communicate a foot or ankle problem, it’s important to pay attention to the way your child moves. Walking on the toes, limping, and foot-dragging are indications that he or she is suffering from some type of foot or ankle disease or injury. Be sure to take your child to see your foot doctor to accurately determine what is happening.
3 common childhood foot conditions include the following:
- Sever’s disease—When the growth plate on your child’s heel becomes painful and swollen, it may be a sign of Sever’s disease. This usually happens between the ages of eight and fourteen when the bone growth plates are still developing. Sporting and exercise activities often have to be curtailed until the plates are fully formed.
- Ingrown toenails—This is a problem common in adults as well as kids. When a toenail grows incorrectly into the tender skin on the edge of the toe, it can quickly become painful and debilitating. Shoes and socks that are too tight can cause this to happen. Also, be sure to cut your child’s toenails correctly to minimize the formation of ingrown toenails. Always cut straight across or on a slight curve and don’t cut them too short.
- Plantar warts—Warts are the common and often bumpy skin condition that is caused by the human papilloma virus. Plantar warts grow on the bottom of the foot and are often hidden from view by thickened skin. A bump under the skin may indicate the presence of a plantar wart, and your child may have pain and discomfort when pressure is applied.
If your child is walking oddly or complaining of pain in the foot or ankle, your foot doctor can make the proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry Center in New Albany, IN. Our highly-qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha, D.P.M., is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!
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.
Heel pain is a frustrating problem to have; it can be disruptive to your entire life, especially if your job requires you to be on your feet. At Foot First Podiatry, in New Albany, IN, Dr. Zahid Ladha sees a lot of patients who have heel pain but aren't sure what caused it. Your podiatrist can discuss areas of the foot that are often responsible for heel pain with you.
Our patients typically describe two different kinds of heel pain to us: if it comes from the back of the heel (where the strap of a sandal would wrap around), it is typically caused by inflammation within the Achilles tendon. This large, stretchy band of tissue connects the heel to the calf and can become strained due to running or other sports that require a lot of quick movements with the feet (such as tennis or basketball). Often your New Albany podiatrist finds that poor-quality footwear is to blame, but starting a high-intensity exercise regimen suddenly or skipping the warm-up portion of your workout can cause problems in this area of the foot. This disorder is called Achilles tendonitis.
When our patients at Foot First Podiatry in New Albany complain of pain originating from the bottom of the heel (the round, padded part of the foot that rests the ground when you stand), Dr. Ladha often suspects a breakdown in the structure of the plantar fascia, which is the ligament that spans the arch of the foot. Like Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis often develops due to excessive exercise, particularly running, especially if your shoes don't fit properly. An anatomical issue with the foot arch - such as flat feet - may also play a part. The pain associated with plantar fasciitis is often the worst in the morning, just after getting out of bed, and gets better after walking around for a while.
Regardless of the reason for your heel pain, trust your podiatrist at Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN, to help you recover. Contact our office for an appointment today!
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