When a toe muscle weakens and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints, the toe is forced to stick up at the joint rather than lying naturally flat in line with the others. This is called a hammertoe.
Hammertoes most often occur on the second toe or the smallest toe. Depending on where the toe is affected, there are three different names for hammertoes: Hammertoes are bent at the middle joint only. Clawtoes are bent at the middle and end joints. Mallet toes are only affected in the joint at the end of the toe.
Depending on the degree of deformity, hammertoes are classified as flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid. The more inflexible the toe, the more painful it is likely to be. Hammertoes often cause uncomfortable corns or calluses to grow as the affected to rubs repeatedly against the shoe. These cause even more discomfort in the affected foot
When considering your risk of hammertoes, three main factors are to be considered:
- Genetics: People with high arches are more at risk of hammertoes, as are those with flat, flexible feet.
- Footwear preference: Women develop all forms of hammertoes more often than men do, probably because they are more likely to choose narrow, poorly fitting shoes with little arch support, high heels, and pointy toe boxes. Over time, such shoes damage the feet.
- Chronic illness: You are at increased risk of hammertoes if you have diabetes, Peripheral Arterial Disease, or neuropathy.
You can ease the pain of a hammertoe by switching to sensible, comfortable shoes and regularly using a pumice stone on your callus or corn. Never use a blade, razor, or grater on your feet! These can cause small nicks and cuts that allow bacteria to enter your body.
Sometimes, surgery is the best way to permanently fix your hammertoe problem. The good news is that, as surgical procedures go, it’s a relatively simple one that will cause shoes to fit better, improve calluses and corns, and make your feet more attractive.
Do you think that you might have a hammertoe, clawtoe, or mallet toe? Call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 or click here today to schedule an appointment at our convenient Old Bridge or Sayreville offices. Dr. Jason Grossman is an expert in diagnosis and treating hammertoes and all other medical issues related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. He can diagnose and treat your problem and have you back on your feet in no time.
Summer is here and many people are spending time exercising and recreating outside. You may be wearing new shoes, or shoes that don’t come out of the closet very often, or inexpensive shoes that are cute, but ill-fitting. Soon enough, you’ve got painful blisters on your feet.
A blister is caused by friction created when the skin rubs against something else such as the inside of a shoe or clothing. You can even get a blister when one bit of skin rubs repeatedly against another. Heat builds up causing a swelling, which may or may not contain fluid as it rises. Most blisters are small. They are uncomfortable and inconvenient and go away on their own in a few days. More severe blisters require the attention of a podiatrist like Dr. Jason Grossman.
Here are four important steps that Jason Grossman, DPM recommends you take to prevent blisters in the summer months:
- Choose proper footwear and take good care of it. Buy shoes that fit correctly. Shoes that are too tight or too big will lead to rubbing or friction at the heels and toes. Replace your running shoes after 6 months or 500 miles.
- There are two sock choices that are best for preventing blisters. One is thick, cushioned socks; the other is wearing two layers of thinner socks. Try both to find what works best for you. Wool socks will stay dryer than cotton. Lightweight wool socks for summer are available at most sporting good stores.
- Proper hygiene is important. Changing your socks often and keeping your feet clean and dry will improve all aspects of podiatric health, including blister prevention. Damp or wet socks will create more friction and will raise blisters faster than dry socks. If your your feet tend to get sweaty, consider adding foot powder to your morning routine.
- A red spot on the skin, often at the back of the heel, the instep, or the toes is usually the first sign of a blister. This is known as a hot spot and is the earliest warning sign that a blister is forming. If you cover the spot with a bandage or tape as soon as you notice it, you can prevent a blister.
Hands off! If you get a blister, don’t squeeze or pop it; it will drain naturally. If your blister is bothering you, wear open shoes or shoes that don’t rub against it. Protect the blister with a bandage or a bit of padded tape with a hole cut out.
If your blister is very tender or if you have more than one, you don’t have to suffer. Dr. Jason Grossman can help with expert bandaging or sterile draining. Click here or call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 to schedule a convenient appointment at our state of the art Old Bridge or Sayreville offices today.
The word is out: combined with exercise, a healthy diet of minimally processed foods in reasonable portions is best. A proper diet maximizes overall health and wellbeing while minimizing your risk of cardiac disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic illness. Have you ever considered what a proper diet can mean for your feet?
The relationship between diet and foot health is clear. Jason Grossman, DPM recommends that you make choices to promote strong, healthy bones while avoiding foods that cause and exacerbate inflammation in the muscles and tendons. With a bit of education and some careful shopping, you can eat right for foot health.
Reduce Foods that Lead to Inflammation and Increase Foods Containing Omega-3 Fats
Refined grains, sugars and trans fats contain chemicals that cause tissue inflammation. This inflammation can cause pain and discomfort in your feet. To improve foot health, choose whole grain products and reduce your sugar consumption. Fresh foods are always better for you than items that come from a factory!
Omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the feet. You can find these healthy fats in foods including:
- flax seeds
- soybeans and tofu
- shrimp and other fatty fish
Increase Calcium and Vitamin D
Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Because vitamin D helps your body in the absorption of calcium, you will often find the two combined in supplements. Building bone mass early in life is important. People who don’t get enough calcium during this time are at higher risk for bone issues or even fractures in later years. It’s also important to maintain appropriate calcium intake for healthy bones at all stages of life. Women do experience gradual bone loss after menopause, but getting enough calcium helps to maintain bone quality. For people with osteoporosis, ensuring sufficient calcium can help to lower the risk of a fracture.
You will find calcium and vitamin D in dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese; sardines with bones; and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens.
Reduce Sodium Levels and Salt Consumption
High levels of the mineral sodium in the body lead to high blood pressure and cause water retention and swelling. Many pre-packaged foods contain excessive quantities of sodium. Reduce your intake by avoiding processed foods. Your feet will thank you even more if you try cutting back on the amount of salt you add while cooking and take that saltshaker off the table!
To help your feet look and feel their best, visit a podiatrist regularly. Dr. Jason Grossman will examine your feet thoroughly, note area of potential concern, diagnose existing problems, and treat any issues that you may be experiencing. Call Advanced Feet and Ankle Care at (732) 679-4330 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our Old Bridge and Sayreville offices.
You already know that smoking is dangerous for your heart and your lungs but do you know that smoking is bad for your foot health, too?
Cigarette smoking contributes to numerous vascular health problems. Because they are farthest from your heart, your hands and feet don't receive as much blood circulation as other parts of your body. That’s why they’re often cold. This is even worse if you smoke. Podiatrists can often tell which patients are smokers just by looking at the skin on their feet, which is typically thinner, shinier, and redder than that of other patients. It also takes smokers longer to heal from surgery than others.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
When plaque builds up in your arteries, they become stiff and narrow, making it hard for blood to circulate, especially to your hands and feet. This is Peripheral Artery Disease. It’s possible to develop PAD without symptoms, but you will probably notice changes in your body. You may feel leg pain while you're walking around, and you may notice that sores or injuries on your feet heal poorly, if at all.
We’re all at risk for PAD. If you smoke, your risk of developing this condition is four times greater than if you don't. Smokers also tend to develop PAD earlier than non-smokers. If you are a smoker who also has diabetes — another common risk factor for decreased circulation to the feet — the risk of damage to your feet is particularly high.
Buerger’s Disease affects blood vessels in the arms and legs, causing them to swell. This can interfere with blood flow, leading to clots, pain, tissue damage, and even gangrene. Not all smokers will get Buerger’s Disease, but almost everyone with the condition is a current or former smoker. People who smoke more than a pack a day are most at risk.
The most common podiatric symptoms of Buerger’s Disease are:
- Pale, red, or blue feet
- Cold feet
- Painful feet
- Pain in the legs, ankles, or feet when walking—often located in the arch of the foot
- Skin changes, painful sores, or ulcers on the feet
Raynaud’s Disease is a condition in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet spasm and overreact to cold temperatures. This condition is temporary, but can be uncomfortable. Cigarette smoking contributes to and exacerbates Raynaud’s Disease. Other contributing factors to Raynaud’s in the feet include vascular disease and connective tissue disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The good news is that you can control your risk of the negative health consequences caused by cigarette smoking. Dr. Jason Grossman recommends that you cut down or quit as soon as possible. Your physician can prescribe medications to help you. To keep your feet feeling our best, call (732) 679-4330 or click here to make a convenient appointment in our Old Bridge and Sayreville offices today.