A hammertoe deformity is a contracture of the toe(s). In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it is buckled or hammered. Initially, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures but, if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.
People with hammertoes may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe, or on the tip of the toe. They may also feel pain in their toes or feet, and have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.
A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe—the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place. This forces the toe to bend toward the others, causing an often-painful lump of bone on the foot. Since this joint carries a lot of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause extreme pain if left untreated. The MTP joint itself may become stiff and sore, making even the wearing of shoes difficult or impossible.
Heel Pain is one of the most common disorders we treat at Downey Podiatry Center. Usually it occurs beneath the heel or behind the heel. If it hurts under your heel, you may have one or more conditions that inflame the tissues on the bottom of your foot:
Plantar fasciitis (subcalcaneal pain): Doing too much running or jumping can inflame the tissue band (fascia) connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. The pain is centered under your heel and may be mild at first but flares up when you take your first steps after resting overnight.
Heel spur: When plantar fasciitis continues for a long time, a heel spur (calcium deposit) may form where the fascia tissue band connects to your heel bone. Your doctor may take an X-ray to see the bony protrusion, which can be 1/4" or longer.
There are many different factors that can cause arch pain. A structural imbalance or an injury to the foot can often be the direct cause. However, most frequently the cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, usually due to over-pronation (flat feet), causes plantar fasciitis.
The inflammation caused by the plantar fascia being stretched away from the heel often leads to pain in the heel and arch areas. The pain is often extreme in the morning when an individual first gets out of bed or after a prolonged period of rest.
If this condition is left untreated and strain on the longitudinal arch continues, a bony protrusion may develop, known as a heel spur. It is important to treat the condition promptly before it worsens.
Because diabetes is a systemic disease affecting many different parts of the body, ideal case management requires a team approach. The podiatric physician, as an integral part of the treatment team, has documented success in the prevention of amputations, one of the most serious conditions that they treat. The key to amputation prevention in diabetic patients is early recognition and regular foot screenings, at least annually, from a podiatric physician. At Downey Podiatry Center, diabetic foot care and limb salvage is one of our specialties.
Foot problems are a leading cause of hospitalization for the eight million persons in the United States who have been identified as having diabetes mellitus. Expenditures related to diabetic foot problems total hundreds of millions of dollars annually. It is estimated that 15% of all diabetics will develop a serious foot condition at some time in their lives.
Common problems include infection, ulceration, or gangrene that may lead, in severe cases, to amputation of a toe, foot or leg. Most of these problems are preventable through proper care and regular visits to your podiatric physician. At Downey Podiatry Center, we can provide information on foot inspection and care, proper footwear, and early recognition and treatment of foot conditions.
Ingrown nails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling. Usually, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, one or both corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh. The big toe is usually the victim of this condition, but other toes can also become affected.
Fungal infection of the nail, or onychomycosis, is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain. The disease is characterized by a progressive change in a toenail's quality and color, which is often ugly and embarrassing.
In reality, the condition is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread and possibly impair one's ability to work or even walk. This happens because the resulting thicker nails are difficult to trim and make walking painful when wearing shoes. Onychomycosis can also be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection in or about the nail plate.
Because it is difficult to avoid contact with microscopic organisms like fungi, the toenails are especially vulnerable around damp areas where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers, for example. Injury to the nail bed may make it more susceptible to all types of infection, including fungal infection. Those who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immune-deficiency conditions, are especially prone to fungal nails. Other contributing factors may be a history of athlete's foot and excessive perspiration.
Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus, which generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but, technically, only those on the sole are properly called plantar warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults; some people seem to be immune.
Most warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses—which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. The wart, however, is a viral infection.
Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries; warts are generally raised and fleshier when they appear on the top of the foot or on the toes. Plantar warts are often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black. It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur.
Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms, are also breeding grounds for fungi. Because the infection was common among athletes who used these facilities frequently, the term "athlete's foot" became popular.
Not all fungus conditions are athlete's foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, also may mimic athlete's foot.
Corns and calluses are not soft tissue problems and there is no "root" to be removed. No matter how much they are cut down, they will return. Painful corns and calluses are the result of abnormal position of the underlying bone.
Pain in the feet is not normal and it is usually the result of an abnormal relationship or misalignment of the bones in the foot at inappropriate times during the gait cycle (patho-mechanics). Patho-mechanics can result in bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, corns, calluses, or just tired aching feet. If your shoes wear out abnormally in the inside heel or outside heel, this is another good indication that patho-mechanics is occurring.
Orthotics realign the bony abnormalities and restore normal function. An added benefit is reduction of pain and slowing the progression of structural deformities. Orthotics are a custom-made biomechanical device fabricated from a plaster cast of your foot. Structural deficiencies and damaging compensatory habits can be modified with the use of properly fitted orthotics.
Orthotics are molded right at our facilities and it takes less than 30 minutes to have them fitted. There are many styles of orthotics, which may be customized for sports dress shoes or diabetic foot wear. The goal of an orthotic treatment regimen is to keep the patient active while balancing the foot in order to stabilize your gait cycle.
Contact us in Downey, California, to maintain healthy feet with foot care and pain management.