Hammertoes is one of many common foot ailments that podiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat. Dr. Gerald Paul, your podiatrist in Bloomington, IL, sees many patients seeking relief from their hammertoes at McLean County Foot and Ankle, and he's outlined some details about the condition here.
What are hammertoes?
When the middle joint of one or more of the toes - most commonly the three in the middle - protrudes upwards, it gives the appearance of an inverted "V" when viewed from the side. This also resembles the head of a hammer, hence the name. Hammertoes occur when the ligaments controlling that middle joint and the one closest to the tip of your toes are constantly contracted. While many people with hammertoes only notice the cosmetic changes in their feet, others develop painful side effects like calluses, joint inflammation, or difficulty walking.
Who is at risk for hammertoes?
Hammertoes can be caused by a variety of conditions and situations. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, including the toes. Many people have muscular abnormalities in the feet, ankles and lower legs that contribute to the imbalances in their ligaments. These problems may be genetic, but they may also be a result of previous injuries or diabetes that change the way a person walks, stands, and balances. While it's unclear whether footwear actually causes hammertoes to develop, tight-fitting shoes like high heels can definitely exacerbate the condition. A thorough examination and discussion with your Bloomington podiatrist will help determine the reason for your hammertoes.
How are hammertoes managed?
If hammertoes are caught early enough, your Bloomington podiatrist may be able to recommend appliances and exercises that gently and gradually straighten them out. However, most people do not seek the help of a foot doctor until their hammertoes have been present for a long time. In cases such as these, custom-made orthotics, devices that are worn inside the shoes, may help to even out the imbalances that led to the development of the hammertoes and relieve the pressure on them. Surgery is also an option, but typically considered a "last resort" after other methods have failed to bring relief.
If you have hammertoes, or any other foot-related condition, contact McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, IL, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gerald Paul today!
Bunions affect many adults in the U.S. Bunions can be uncomfortable and even painful. They can develop if the joint of the big toe moves out of place. When that happens, a bony protrusion can form on the side of the foot just below the big toe resulting in a bunion. Shoes tend to rub against bunions and cause them to become further inflamed, which can lead to discomfort and even pain. Fortunately, bunion treatments are available. At McLean County Foot and Ankle, Dr. Gerald Paul is your podiatrist for the treatment of bunions in Bloomington, IL.
Symptoms and Causes
Bunions are caused by the misplacement of the big toe joint. When this toe joint moves out of place, it causes the big toe to shift toward the smaller toes. As the big toe shifts in that direction, it causes the bone on the side of the foot to protrude outward. This bony protrusion results in the development of bunions. Bunions can become easily inflamed and irritated as the interior of a person’s footwear rubs against the bunions. This can lead to such symptoms as skin that is tender and red, as well as discomfort and pain when, especially when walking or running.
Several options exist for treating the symptoms of bunions. Some convenient over-the-counter options are available, but a podiatrist can prescribe the best treatment methods for each patients’ specific condition. Podiatry options for treating bunions in Bloomington include:
- Recommendations for better fitting footwear
- Orthotic shoe inserts to stabilize the toe joint
- Protective padding to provide cushion and reduce friction inside shoes
- Foot exercises to prevent stiffness and improve joint function
- Splints worn at night to realign the toe joint
- Removal of corns or calluses
- Surgical removal of bunions
Relief from the pain and discomfort of bunions is available through a podiatrist. For the treatment of bunions in Bloomington, schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul by calling McLean County Foot and Ankle at (309) 662-9001.
Trust Dr. Gerald Paul for the latest in foot and ankle treatments which relieve pain and promote optimal function. At McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, your podiatrist uses inventive MLS Laser Treatment to speed healing at the cellular level, treating a variety of podiatric conditions. Learn here how the Multi-wave Locked System works and how it can benefit you.
What is MLS Laser Treatment?
Any laser instrument takes a concentrated beam of light energy and focuses it to illuminate, cut, disinfect, or accomplish a staggering array of artistic, industrial, or medical/dental purposes. In the field of podiatric medicine, doctors such as Dr. Gerald Paul in Bloomington, join with other podiatrists in employing laser technology right in their treatment rooms.
Specifically, Dr. Paul utilizes the Multi-wave Locked System. It delivers two beams of light--one focused and one pulsed--simultaneously targeting areas of inflammation, pain, surgery, active infection, deformity, sprain, strain, fracture, and more.
Taking under 1/2 hour, FDA-cleared MLS Laser treatments works best in a series spread out over several weeks. They need no special preparation, and patients return to their normal activities immediately. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery states that the best benefit of MLS Laser Treatment is increased energy production of the treated area at the cellular level. In other words, the laser helps the mitochondria, the power plants of each body cell, to increase in activity, using nutrients and oxygen more effectively to promote:
- Quicker and more complete healing post-injury or surgery
- Increased production of collagen, the protein which makes skin and connective tissue more supple, elastic, and resilient
- Better circulation and nerve function
- Pain control and relief
- Cellular repair (healing)
- Reduction of inflammation and edema (swelling)
- Better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the extremities particularly after injury or surgery
- Removal of toxins from affected areas (overabundance of histamines, for example)
Specific uses for MLS Laser Treatment
Dr. Paul often advises laser treatments as part of comprehensive care plans for people who are in good overall health or are in reasonable control of chronic conditions such as diabetes. Treatable conditions include:
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain due to inflammation)
- Sprains and strains
- Diabetic ulcers and wounds
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sore muscles
Find out more
Not functioning at your best? Suffering from pain, inflammation and poor healing in your extremities? MLS laser treatments from Dr. Gerald Paul at McLean County Foot and Ankle may be your way to optimal functioning and improved well-being. Call the office in Bloomington, IL, today to schedule a consultation with your podiatrist at (309) 662-9001.
Could that sports-related injury actually be a sprained ankle?
An ankle sprain is nothing to ignore. Of course, it isn’t always easy to figure out whether or not you are dealing with a sprained ankle, which is where our Bloomington, IL, podiatrist, Dr. Gerald Paul, comes in. After reading this, if you suspect that you might have a sprained ankle it’s time to come in to have it checked out.
A sprained ankle is a very common sports injury; however, you don’t have to play sports in order to develop a sprain. After all, the ankle is pretty delicate and prone to injury. It’s important that if you suspect that you’ve sprained your ankle that you seek medical attention. Our Bloomington foot doctor will easily be able to determine whether you sprained your ankle and then create a treatment plan to help manage your symptoms until your ankle fully heals. It’s important to visit a doctor for a sprained ankle since not providing the ankle with proper treatment could lead to chronic ankle instability.
So, how do you know if you sprained your ankle? If you are dealing with a sprain you may notice these symptoms:
- Ankle pain, particularly when putting weight on the ankle
You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of impact (this can happen if the sprain is related to a sports injury or accident). If ankle pain comes about immediately after an injury you should see a doctor right away, as you won’t know if it’s actually more serious than a sprain.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
The severity of your ankle sprain will determine the best course of action for treating your injury. Most ankle sprain symptoms can be properly managed with simple at-home treatment. The RICE method is usually the best approach (RICE stands for rest, ice, elevation, and compression). More moderate sprains may require you to stay off the foot and wear a protective boot or even use crutches.
You will also avoid most physical activities until your foot doctor in Bloomington, IL, has made sure your ankle has fully healed and cleared you to go back to your normal athletic routine. Sometimes physical therapy and rehabilitation are recommended to help restore the ankle and rebuild the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around it. Very rarely is surgery necessary to treat an ankle sprain.
McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, IL, is here to provide you with thorough and comprehensive care whenever you need it. Whether you just need to schedule a routine checkup or you think you’ve sprained your ankle, give us a call and we will schedule an appointment right away.
What your podiatrist in Bloomington, Illinois wants you to know
If you have a large, hard bump next to your big toe, you could have a bunion. Bunions can make it painful and difficult to wear shoes and to walk around. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for bunions. Dr. Gerald Paul at McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, Illinois wants to share the facts about bunions and what you can do to get relief.
There are several underlying factors for bunion formation. You could form bunions if you:
- Have flat feet
- Overpronate your feet when you walk
- Frequently wear narrow shoes
- Frequently wear high heels
- Experience an injury or trauma to your foot
- Have bone deformities in your foot
- Have rheumatoid arthritis
- Overstress your feet
Women experience bunions more frequently because of the tendency to wear shoes that cramp toes. High heels add to the problem by pushing feet forward, crushing the toes.
If you experience a painful bunion, you can try a few home remedies like these:
- Taping the bunion to support and cushion it
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications
- Wearing padding or cushions to keep the bunion from rubbing against the inside of your shoe
Large, uncomfortable bunions or bunions that don’t respond to home remedies require the services of your podiatrist. Dr. Paul will take x-rays to determine the amount of bone involved in the bunion. He will discuss a comprehensive treatment plan which may include:
- Physical therapy and exercises to increase flexibility and mobility
- Custom-fit orthotics to make standing and walking easier
- Custom-fit supportive footwear to protect your feet from stress
- Removing corns and calluses to reduce friction and irritation
Large bunions with significant bone involvement may require surgery. Common surgeries for bunions include removing bone, straightening your toe, and aligning your foot.
Bunion pain can be hard to deal with, but you don’t have to suffer. Get some help from an expert by calling Dr. Gerald Paul at McLean County Foot and Ankle in Bloomington, Illinois. Call today and help your feet!
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