What to do about painful hammer-toes?What to do about painful hammer-toes?

Many of us have heard the term hammer-toe, but what is the medical definition of this condition? Hammer-toes are defined as an imbalance in the ligament and muscle at the base of the toe joint. This can cause the middle joint to become bent out of shape, which can be aesthetically unpleasing. This also leads to irritation in the bent toe and difficulty with walking and wearing certain footwear.

What kinds of hammer-toes are there?

There is a couple of different variations which can appear on the feet.  Fortunately, both can easily be treated if diagnosed in a timely fashion.  First, there are flexible hammer-toes which can be moved at the joint.  These usually develop in the early stages of development and are easier to treat.

Rigid hammer-toes are different, as they press the joint out of it’s natural alignment.  The toe is not mobile at this stage and surgery is likely required to correct the issue and return full mobility.

What Causes Hammer-toes?

Each of our toe muscles work together in pairs.  When the balance of the muscles shifts, a hammer-toe can develop.  There is a large amount of pressure which is put on the toe joints each and every day, especially for those of us who walk or run more than usual.  Additionally, those who wear high-heeled shoes or narrow footwear can suffer from hammer-toe development, due to the change in the arch of the foot.  Genetics play a large role as well, as this condition could be passed over in the family, and patients are likely to develop the condition in their adult life.  Those who have suffered from injuries to the foot or arthritis are most at risk.

If you suffer from pain in the feet, corn formation, swelling, dislocation or have gone through an injury, it is best to contact a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation.  Early detection is the key to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Call Dr. Hickey today at 516-735-4545 for your evaluation today!

Can shoes help my foot painWhen we think of footwear, we often think about aesthetics of how a high heel may make us look.  We think about how these shoes will make us feel taller, more confident and how they will dress us up. However, we often neglect to think about how they will make the bones, joints, ligaments and tendons in our feet react.  Putting an unnatural arch or pressure on our toes and the soles of our feet may not sound as appealing in those stilletos!

Starting From The Bottom

Studies show that nearly all American adults suffer from joint or muscle pain.  Some of the most common pain is Sciatica (or lower back pain shooting down the leg) as well as hip and cervical spine (neck) discomfort.  Very few patients realize that this pain can actually originate from the shoes which they choose. The natural arch in the foot must be preserved, and most shoes (from sneakers to flip flops) available in stores today do not offer this necessary support.

Ask The Doc Before You Shop!

Before going to the mall or your local boutique in search of a new pair of shoes for work or a special event, consult the expert: your podiatrist!

They will evaluate the condition of your feet and will advise you of the best options. The curvature of your feet will be
precisely measured, as well as the structure of the inner structures of the toes. Shoes which tend to "pinch" the toes or elevate the foot beyond it's natural range of motion can cause detrimental pain later down the road.

Call today to schedule your footwear consultation. Our doctor and experienced, professional staff will have you feeling stylish in comfort!

do i need a referral to see a podiatristWhen we are in pain, it can often be very frustrating and complicated to decipher our health insurance benefits.  This is especially relevant when it comes to issues pertaining to the feet and ankles, where your mobility can be affected as well.  It is important to have these ailments diagnosed and treated immediately, to avoid any further complications.  However, the question arises, how can I see a podiatrist quickly and do I need to provide a referral to do so?

What Is Podiatry?

Prior to speaking with your primary care doctor about a podiatry referral,  you may want to hear about what they have to offer and how they can help you.  Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in the treatment of foot, ankle and lower leg symptoms and diseases.  This is a large variety of ailments which range from plantar fascitis to deformities of the feet and toes.  They use different methods, both medication and in-office procedures, to cure those who suffer from these symptoms and prevent future ailments.

Up On Your Feet!

Studies worldwide show that nearly all adults suffer from some sort of pain the feet.  This can be due to wear and tear, footwear, poor circulation, toenail fungus, underlying cardiac disease or diabetes or even blisters.  The feet should be checked regularly by a podiatrist to prevent any gait, walking or postural abnormalities as well.  Your podiatrist can advise you on the best shoes, creams, ointments and preventative methods to keep you up on your feet!

When Would I See A Podiatrist?

There are a few tell tale signs that you must ask your physician for a podiatry referral, as soon as possible.  First, if you experience pain that does not stop for an extended period of time, especially if you are not bearing weight on the feet.  Secondly, it’s important to pay special attention to your heels, as they are prone to various forms of pathology.  If you experienced a heel injury and the pain seems to persist, even after icing and taking ibuprofen at home, it is time to make an appointment.  Lastly, if your feet develop a rash, discoloration, chaffing or odor it is important to be seen right away.  These can be signs of dangerous infections or fungus which are developing, or can even be symptoms of an underlying autoimmune complication.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local and trusted podiatry practice.  Dr. Hickey and his team of trained, professional and courteous staff will diagnose and treat you in their state of the art practice.  Call 516-735-4545 to schedule your appointment today!

There are a few things in this world I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Plantar fasciitis is one of them. This debilitating and annoyingly persistent injury can happen to anyone, and is particularly common among runners. I've had my bouts with it, and while home remedies can provide some relief, improving your running technique is your best defense. Practicing the Chi Running Form Focuses will put you on the path to injury prevention and recovery.

Where is the Plantar tendon and what does it do?

The plantar tendon runs the length of the bottom of your foot, spanning the area from the base of the toes to the front of your heel. The two ends of the tendon attach at the base of the toes and at the front of the heel bone by means of fascia, a strong fibrous membrane. The plantar tendon keeps the arch of the foot from flattening completely when the foot bears weight, thus providing cushioning and shock absorption when you're walking, running or standing. This tendon also allows you to point your toes.

What is Plantar Fasciitis and what causes it?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia caused by any motion of the legs that creates a pull on the Plantar tendon. Walking or running up or down hills, climbing stairs, walking or running on your toes (including wearing high heels), or dorsiflexing (pointing your toes up as your heel comes down with each stride) all pull the plantar tendon.

Plantar fasciitis can also be caused by heel striking, which is usually a result of over-striding. If you reach forward with your legs with each stride, you're very likely to land on your heels. Landing in this way can create a force on your heels of up to six times your body weight with each footstep.

Tight calves and an inflexible Achilles tendon can also pull the plantar tendon and weaken the attachment of the fascia to the bone. If the plantar tendon is stretched beyond what the fascia is capable of holding, the fascia forms micro-tears and begins to pull away from the bone, causing inflammation.

When the plantar tendon is consistently over-stretched, the body begins to add calcium where the attachment between the tendon and the heel bone takes place. Over time, enough calcium is added to build more bone mass in that particular spot, creating a heel spur that can be even more painful than plantar fasciitis.

Other common causes of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Wearing inflexible or worn out shoes

  • Very low or high arches

  • Being overweight

  • Spending long hours on your feet

  • Tight calf muscles or tight/stiff ankle muscles

  • Walking barefoot in soft sand for long distances

What does plantar fasciitis feel like?

It varies for everyone, but plantar fasciitis usually follows this progression. When it first appears, you may feel like you've got a lump in the heel of your sock. Not pain, just an uncomfortable "thick" feeling right under your heel.

In the early stages, your heel may feel tender when you first get up from sitting or when getting out of bed in the morning, but the discomfort subsides once you're up and about on your feet. As the injury advances, tenderness lingers and begins to feel like needles sticking you in the bottom of your heel with each step. In the very advanced stages, you find yourself searching the Internet for books on levitation. It aches all day, not only when you're on your feet.


why see a podiatristMany of us live with various aches and pains, some of which effect us much more than others.  One of the most common discomforts which people live with is foot and ankle pain.  Many are afraid or embarrassed to even mention this to their loved ones or even their primary care physician. However, there is no reason to live with this pain any longer, it is time to see a podiatrist.


What Will The Podiatrist Do?


Podiatrists, or DPMs, are certified trained doctors who specialize in medical diagnosis of the feet and ankles.  This most commonly includes sprains, fractures, heel spurs, hammertoes, infections, injuries, fungal growths, corns/calluses and bunions.  Podiatry is a rapidly growing field, as more and more Americans are being treated and relieved of their pain.  During your initial visit, the podiatrist will perform a full evaluation of your feet and surrounding structures.  In some cases, this may include taking x-rays or even MRIs to rule out any potential fractures, fluid buildup or ligament tears.  In some cases, the issue may be superficial (an ingrown toenail, a visible fungus, athlete’s foot, etc.) and in others it may require further testing and/or imaging.


How Do I Know If I Should See A Podiatrist?


Besides the pain factor, there are many other reasons to see a podiatrist.  Some people have unexplainable foul odor coming from their feet, while others may experience difficulty with their posture or mobility.  All of these can be directly related to the health of the feet and/or ankles.  Some people may walk, run and even jump on damaged feet, without being examined for many years.  This is not only extremely uncomfortable, but also dangerous to your long term health.  If pathology of the feet goes untreated for extended periods of time, this can lead to several health repercussions, including abnormal gait and balance.


There is a very wide variety of issues with the feet which podiatrists treat.  For patients who suffer from fungus, rashes, athlete’s foot or ingrown toenails, several topical ointments can be prescribed, which are very effective.  For those who suffer from abnormalities of the toenails, special medicated nail polish is available which too takes effect fairly quickly.  Patients who suffer from growths such as bunions or Morton’s Neuroma can actually undergo minimally invasive procedures which are performed by the podiatrist, to remove these unwanted formations.

Take a positive step into the new year, by seeing a podiatrist today!

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