My Blog

Posts for category: Foot Conditions

By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
July 24, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Footwear   Hammertoe  
HammertoesWhile tight, cramped shoes and those towering high heels may not immediately show you the damage that’s being done to your feet, over time you will certainly notice changes in the structure and function of your feet. Along with bunions, a common foot deformity, hammertoes are another deformity that causes the toes to bend downward at the middle joint. If the problem isn’t corrected, this simple and rather uncomfortable deformity can become severe. Here’s how to determine whether you may have hammertoes and what you can do about it now to prevent it from getting worse.

Wear Appropriate Footwear
You need to make sure that any shoes you wear properly fit your feet. While this might sound silly, many people are guilty of wearing shoes that are too narrow and put too much pressure on the toes. Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your feet enough room to wiggle freely. If your toes are bunched up in any of the shoes you have (particularly high heels or shoes with pointed toes) then you will want to avoid these types of shoes whenever possible.

Consider Shoe Inserts
While it’s important to find shoes that cushion and support your foot structure, sometimes people with hammertoes, bunions, and other foot problems that can cause pain can benefit from prescription shoe inserts (also known as orthotics). Orthotics can be crafted to fit the shape of your feet and also to address the issues you’re having (aka alleviating pressure on the toes when standing or walking).

Apply Protective Padding
A hammertoe causes the toe to bend down like a claw. This means that the toe’s joint is sticking out. As you may already know, this causes shoes to rub against the joint, causing a callus to develop. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a non-medicated pad over the toe joint before putting on shoes.

Practice Pain Management
If your hammertoe starts to ache or hurt, you may want to apply ice to the area throughout the day to help alleviate pain and swelling. If the pain is intense or persistent then you may want to consider taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, which can help with both pain and swelling; however, if your symptoms are severe, you must see a podiatrist about your hammertoe.

Do I need surgery for a hammertoe?
If the hammertoe is flexible (meaning that you can straighten the toe out) then you won’t need surgery; however, if the hammertoe becomes rigid and causes pain and problems with mobility then surgery is recommended.

If you are dealing with hammertoes or other foot problems, you must have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular and immediate care.
By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
April 20, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Arch Problems  

The arches of the feet play a role in supporting your body’s weight when standing or in motion. The tarsal and metatarsal bones make up the arches of the feet, also receiving additional support and stability from tendons and ligaments; however, our feet, like the rest of our body, can be affected by infections, disorders, and structural changes that can impact not only the health of our feet but also our mobility. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of arch problems so you know when you to see a podiatrist.

Arch Pain Causes

If you are dealing with arch pain it is most likely caused by an injury or by structural abnormalities in the foot. For example, those with very high arches as well as those with flat feet may experience arch problems due to these common structural issues.

As a result, there are other factors that could also lead to further arch problems including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Aging
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cavus foot
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

It’s important to understand a little bit more about these common foot disorders and how they could affect the arches of your feet.

Plantar fasciitis

This condition that causes inflammation and microtears in the plantar fascia is also the most common cause of heel pain. Of course, because the plantar fascia (a ligament that connects the toes to the heel bone) also supports the arches of the feet this can also lead to arch pain. This condition is usually the result of overuse and is seen most often in runners. If you have plantar fasciitis it’s important to avoid physical activities until the fascia has fully healed.

Cavus foot

This condition, which affects the structure of the foot, leads to excessively high arches. People who’ve had a stroke, as well as people with certain conditions such as cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop cavus foot. This problem causes arch pain when standing or walking and can increase the risk for ankle injuries. Your podiatrist may choose to treat cavus foot through custom-made orthotics (shoe inserts), bracing, or by recommending specialized and supportive footwear.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

The posterior tibial tendon runs from the calf muscles to the inner portion of the foot. This condition leads to changes in the tendon, which in turn affects its ability to support the arches of the foot. Flat feet can be caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, and this is often the cause of flat feet that develop in adulthood. Like the other conditions above, treatment for PTTD usually involves bracing, orthotics, or providing custom devices that provide additional support to the arches of the feet.

If you are experiencing foot pain, swelling or other problems that affect mobility then it’s time that you turned to a podiatrist for care. Conditions and injuries that don’t respond to rest and at-home care may require more advanced treatments and therapies.

By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
March 20, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions

There are 52 bones in your feet and ankles, which means that feet contain about 25 percent of the bones in our bodies. Our feet also contain about 20-25 percent of the total joints in our body; therefore, it’s not too surprising to find out that your feet and ankles are unfortunately more likely to deal with tendon and joint pain at some point, whether through injury or certain conditions such as arthritis. When pain and other foot problems arise it’s important that you have a podiatrist you can turn to.

Common Causes of Tendon and Joint Pain in the Feet

Tendons are soft tissues that connect the muscles to the bones. Everything from overuse and foot injuries to structural imbalances can lead to pain. Common causes of tendon and joint pain include:

  • Tendonitis: inflammation of the tendon caused by injury or overuse
  • Sprains and strains: a common but usually minor foot and ankle injury, typically caused by physical activity
  • Arthritis: a chronic, progressive condition that leads to joint pain, stiffness, and damage (osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect feet and ankles)
  • Obesity: being overweight or obese can also put excessive pressure on the joints and tendons of your feet and ankles, leading to pain and other problems

Treating Tendon and Joint Pain

Visiting a podiatrist is the best choice you can make if you are dealing with severe, persistent, or new foot and ankle pain. Since some conditions can get worse without proper care and rest it’s important to find out what’s causing your pain so you know how to effectively treat it.

If you are dealing with pain caused by a sports injury or strain it’s a good idea to see a medical professional so you know the extent of the injury. More severe sprains may require protective boots or crutches to reduce the amount of weight being placed on the injured ankle or foot.

Arthritis is also a surprisingly common cause of foot pain. If you notice joint pain and stiffness that affects functionality, range of motion and mobility in your feet then you could be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis can get worse without treatment, it is important that you work with your pediatrician and a team of medical professionals to determine the best medications and course of action to help manage your foot pain and to prevent permanent joint damage.

If you are experiencing foot pain it’s important to see a qualified medical professional that can determine the best way to treat your symptoms. Call your podiatrist today for a comprehensive evaluation.

By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
February 17, 2020
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Heel Pain  

Heel pain is a common foot problem that podiatrists often treat. Knowing the cause of your pain is important in determining the most effective treatment method. Even if the pain heel painseems minor, it’s amazing how much it can affect your whole body, making it difficult to get out of bed let alone go on your regular run. If you are struggling with heel pain you might be dealing with a condition known as plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The source of your pain may originate in the plantar fascia, a tough band of connective tissue that connects your toes to your feet. If the fascia becomes inflamed, you may feel pain in your heel. Of course, everything from wearing high heels to long runs can actually irritate and cause inflammation within the plantar fascia. When this happens this is known as plantar fasciitis. This condition is usually the result of overuse and repeated stress rather than an injury.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis causes heel pain that originates at the bottom of the heel below the heel bone. The pain may spread to the arches of the feet and may also be accompanied by stiffness. These symptoms are often exacerbated first thing in the morning or after long bouts of sitting or standing. Sometimes, light activity and exercise can momentarily lessen the pain.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

If you know that you have plantar fasciitis (perhaps you’ve had it before) then you know it’s important to rest, avoid physical activity, and take over-the-counter pain relievers. Of course, if you’ve never experienced heel pain before it’s important to see a podiatrist to find out whether it’s plantar fasciitis or another condition such as heel spurs or Achilles tendonitis. A thorough evaluation from a medical professional is often necessary, especially if this is the first time dealing with heel pain.

Your podiatrist can also show you stretching and strengthening exercises that you can perform to help stretch the plantar fascia to reduce pain and discomfort. Some patients also choose to wear a night splint to reduce morning stiffness and arch pain.

If your symptoms aren’t being alleviated through conservative treatment methods or if you are experiencing chronic heel pain your podiatrist may recommend surgery.

If you are dealing with stubborn and painful heels turn to a podiatrist for a consultation.

By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
July 05, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Hammertoes  

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.