Hammertoe is a condition that can affect the toes, excluding the big toe. Hammertoe occurs when the toes become bent downward in a hammer-like position. Pain, discomfort, and other symptoms can occur when the toes remain in this bent position. Fortunately, treatments are available that can alleviate pain or discomfort and correct the bend in the toes. At Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois, Dr. John Sigle, Dr. Grant Gonzalez, and Dr. Jared Kennedy are your Springfield podiatrists for the treatment of hammertoe.
Causes of Hammertoe
Hammertoe can sometimes result from a previous toe injury and it can also be hereditary, but the most common cause of hammertoe is an imbalance between muscles and tendons in the toes or foot. An imbalance can develop over time and sometimes lead to dislocated toe joints, which can cause the toes to bend downward in the shape of a hammer. Hammertoe can also develop when the toes are regularly cramped and squished in tight-fitting shoes. Other factors that can lead to hammertoe include arthritis in the toes or feet and having high arches.
Symptoms of Hammertoe
Several symptoms can develop in conjunction with hammertoe, including:
- Toe pain and discomfort when wearing shoes
- Inflammation, a burning sensation, or redness
- Diminished flexibility in the affected toe(s) or foot
- Development of corns and calluses on the toes or foot
- Toes become bent in a hammer-like shape
- Development of open sores (in severe cases)
Hammertoe will not improve on its own and treatment is necessary to correct the condition. A Springfield podiatrist can explain treatment options and recommend an appropriate one for your condition. More serious cases of hammertoe can require surgery to reposition dislocated toe joints or to address an imbalance between muscles and tendons and increase flexibility. In many cases, though, a non-surgical treatment can correct hammertoe or alleviate symptoms associated with the condition. Non-surgical hammertoe treatments include:
- Wearing toe splints or straps to realign bent toes
- Wearing a custom orthotic to correct muscle-tendon imbalance
- Wearing padding for corns and calluses to reduce irritation
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain
- Oral anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and pain
- Stretching exercises to increase strength and flexibility
You do not have to struggle with the pain and discomfort of hammertoe. A variety of treatment options are available and your Springfield podiatrist can develop an effective treatment plan for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sigle, Dr. Gonzalez, or Dr. Kennedy, call Foot and Ankle Center of Illinois at (217) 787-2700. Appointments are also available in several other convenient locations, including Decatur, Carlinville, Shelbyville, Taylorville, and Sullivan.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that often affects blood flow to the legs due to narrowing of the arteries. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a serious condition in which fat deposits known as plaques build up in the arteries and eventually restrict or block blood flow.
If you have PAD you will most likely experience painful cramping, weakness or numbness in the legs, particularly during movement. You may also notice that the leg or foot is colder than the rest of your body. Sometimes persistent sores can develop that won’t heal. Your legs may also change color or the skin may appear shiny. While the pain will often go away at rest, if PAD is left untreated you may notice these symptoms even at rest. Sometimes symptoms can even be bad enough to affect your sleep.
While these symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions you should not ignore your symptoms, as undiagnosed PAD can lead to heart attack or stroke. This is why it’s important to see your podiatrist if you notice leg or foot numbness, weakness, tingling or pain.
You may be at an increased risk for peripheral artery disease if you:
- Are obese
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes
- Are over age 65
- Have a family history of peripheral artery disease or stroke
Preventing Peripheral Artery Disease
Your podiatrist’s goal is to reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease, especially if you are at an increased risk. This involves implementing a variety of lifestyle changes. Some ways to prevent PAD include:
- Getting your diabetes under control
- Lowering your cholesterol
- Exercising regularly several times a week
- Quitting smoking
- Eating a healthy balanced diet and avoiding junk foods
- Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
Treating Peripheral Artery Disease
If you do end up developing PAD a podiatrist can be an instrumental part of your medical team to help you manage your symptoms and prevent complications. PAD treatments are designed to reduce symptoms such as leg pain while also stopping the buildup of fat deposits within the arteries.
Again, modifying your lifestyle can greatly improve your condition. The same lifestyle changes that prevent PAD can also treat PAD. Of course, lifestyle modifications alone won’t be enough to prevent atherosclerosis from progressing. Therefore, your podiatrist may also prescribe certain medications including cholesterol and blood pressure medications, diabetes medication, and medication that prevents blood clots. Sometimes surgery or angioplasty is recommended if there is a blockage within the arteries.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD it’s important that you turn to a podiatrist right away for an evaluation.
One wrong step and you could just end up dealing with a sprained ankle. A sprain occurs when the ankle suddenly rolls inwards or outwards, which jolts the ankle joint out of place and also overstretches (and perhaps even tears) the ligaments and tendons of the ankles. These tendons also provide the feet with support. It’s important to understand how to best care for a sprained ankle and when you should see a podiatrist for care.
You could be dealing with an ankle sprain if you experience:
- Ankle pain
- Limited range of motion
- Trouble putting weight on the ankle
If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle it’s important to call your podiatrist right away. A foot doctor will be able to discuss your symptoms with you and then determine whether you should come in for an immediate evaluation. A doctor will also provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that will promote a fast and complete recovery.
There are different degrees of a sprain and the way your podiatrist recommends treating the injury will depend on its severity and the symptoms you are experiencing. Mild sprains can often be managed with simple home treatment. This includes resting and staying off the ankle as much as possible as well as:
- Bandaging or wrapping the ankle
- Wearing an ankle braces
- Using crutches (for more serious sprains)
- Elevating your ankle to reduce swelling
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Not putting weight on the ankle
- Icing the ankle 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a day (for the first 48 hours after injury)
It can take up to 10 days for a mild sprain to heal, while more severe sprains can take several weeks. When you come into the office for an evaluation, your podiatrist will also discuss how long you should stay off the ankle and avoid certain activities.
It is rare for a sprained ankle to require surgery; however, if there is significant damage to the ligaments that could lead to long-term instability and other issues, or if your symptoms do not improve with home care, then your foot and ankle doctor may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligament.
With proper and prompt care an ankle sprain should heal completely and not require additional treatment; however, the minute you experience symptoms of a sprained ankle or ankle injury you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible.
Heel pain is one of the most common foot problems. Find out what could be going on.
Have you gradually been noticing that the heels and arches of your feet are achy after physical activity or after a full day of movement? If so, you may be wondering what’s going on. Fortunately, here at our offices in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, and Taylorville, IL, our podiatrists, Dr. John Sigle and Dr. Grant Gonzalez, as well as chiropractor, Dr. Jared Kennedy, can help alleviate your heel pain.
What is causing my heel pain?
If you are experiencing pain under the heel, it is likely caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes the plantar fascia to become inflamed or irritated. If you are experiencing pain behind the heel (and also the sides of the foot) this is often caused by Achilles tendonitis.
Contrary to what you might assume, heel pain usually isn’t caused by an injury. In fact, this problem usually occurs over time as a result of overuse and overstretching of the tendon or fascia.
How is heel pain treated?
If you are only dealing with mild pain, then you may be able to ease the pain on your own; however, it is very important that you turn to your foot doctor in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, or Taylorville, IL, if symptoms do not get better with at-home care.
You can ease heel pain by,
- Resting your feet and keeping your feet elevated when sitting down
- Placing an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the heel for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day
- Wearing supportive, properly fitted, and cushioned shoes
- Wearing heel pads or shoe inserts in shoes to provide additional support and shock absorption for your feet
- Splinting or bandaging the arches of your feet (talk to your podiatrist about how to do this properly)
- Perform regular stretching exercises for the feet
- Take anti-inflammatory medications
- Avoid pointy shoes or high heels
Need relief? Give us a call
Foot & Ankle Center of Illinois provides comprehensive foot and ankle care to patients living in Springfield, Carlinville, Sullivan, Decatur, Shelbyville, and Taylorville, IL. If you are dealing with severe or recurring heel pain call the experts at (217) 787-2700 to schedule a consultation.
Toenail fungus is a common problem that can be rather challenging to get rid of. While toenail fungus can happen to anyone it most often occurs in older adults. If you are noticing that one of your toenails has thickened, become brittle and turned yellow then chances are good that you are dealing with a toenail fungus.
What causes a fungal infection in the toenail?
A toenail fungal infection, known as onychomycosis, is the result of a fungal known as a dermatophyte. While less common, molds and yeasts can also infect the toenails. The reason older adults are more prone to fungal nail infections is because nails dry out as we age, which leads to cracks within the nail. These cracks make it easier for a fungal infection to get inside the nail.
Fungal is all around us. They are more often found in warm, dark, and damp places such as communal locker rooms and showers, gyms, and local swimming pools. It’s also possible to get a toenail fungus from a nail salon so it’s important to know the hygiene and sterilization practices of your local nail salon to make sure that you aren’t at risk for developing a fungal infection.
Treating Toenail Fungus
The good news it that healthy individuals may be able to tackle their toenail fungus on their own with over-the-counter medication. If you don’t have a weak immune system, diabetes or circulation problems then you may choose to try at-home treatments first before turning to a doctor. Those with circulation disorders or diabetes should see their podiatrist right away for treatment if they notice symptoms of a fungal infection. Not seeking treatment could greatly increase a person’s risk for bacterial infections and other potentially serious complications.
There are many over-the-counter products available to treat fungal infections. You will want to find a treatment that is geared specifically to treating fungal infections of the nail. Talk with your local pharmacist to find out the best treatment option. Over-the-counter antifungal medications often come in the form of a cream, ointment or nail polish that you will need to apply regularly for several weeks. If these medications don’t work then it’s time to talk with your foot doctor.
A foot doctor offers a variety of effective strategies for getting rid of toenail fungal infections. The most common treatment option is an oral antifungal medication that works systemically to kill the fungus. This medication is taken for several weeks but you won’t actually see results until the nail grows out clear, which can take up to four months or longer.
Other treatment options include:
- Medicated nail polish
- Laser fungal treatment
- Nail removal surgery (in rare cases)
If you are dealing with a pesky nail fungus then turn to your podiatrist to discover the best strategies for getting rid of this infection as quickly as possible.
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