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Blog - Foot Doctor, Podiatrist, Allentown PA 18104, Easton PA 18042, Northampton PA 18067, Lansford PA 18232

Wednesday, 03 December 2014 14:24

9 Reasons You Might Have Pain In Your Toes

Shooting pain, dull pain, aching pain in your toes. There's nothing quite like it, is there? You can change footwear or buy over the counter insoles, but those measures only go so far. Ultimately, your toe pain will still be there, and may even get worse over time. Here then are the nine most common causes of toe pain and what your podiatrist may suggest as the best way to alleviate them.

[caption id="attachment_4690" align="alignleft" width="300"]why-do-my-toes-hurt No apparent problems with these toes - they're just the way they're supposed to look.[/caption]

The 9 most common causes of toe pain

1. Arthritis is an inflammatory disease which attacks the joints in your body. It's one of the most common causes of pain in the toes, as our appendages frequently show the early signs of this disease. Arthritis can also occur in previously fractured areas of bone and sprained joints injured years earlier.

Treatment: Rest when necessary, use over the counter pain medicine like advil or aleve to manage the pain and inflammation. Custom orthotics can be helpful in relieving the pressure on toes. If pain is intolerable, visit your podiatrist.

**A stiff big toe which is also painful at the joint may be a degenerative form of arthritis called Hallux rigidus. Read more about Hallux rigidus.

2. Gout, a form of arthritis (also called gouty arthritis), is caused by uric acid buildup in the joints. Gout causes severe pain and swelling in the joints, most commonly in the big toe.

Treatment for gout includes prescription or over the counter medications to manage the pain, and ice to reduce swelling. Gout is also treated with dietary changes to reduce uric acid output.

3. A bunion is a protuberance in the joint below the big toe. Anyone can develop a bunion, which is caused by defects in the biomechanical structure of the foot. While poor choices in footwear do not directly cause bunions, they certainly aggravate the condition. Hammer toes and overlapping toes frequently appear with bunions.

Treatment for bunions includes changes in footwear and/or custom orthotics to take pressure off of the bunion, over the counter pain medicine to manage the pain and inflammation, and surgery when necessary.

4. Hammer toes occur when the middle joint of the second, third or fourth toe becomes bent, giving the toe a hammer-like appearance. Hammer toes are caused by an imbalance in the muscles and tendons, which pull incorrectly in the foot, ultimately bending the toe.

Treatment of hammer toes includes changes in footwear to keep the hammer toe from rubbing on the inside of the shoe, and stretching exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons. Your podiatrist may also recommend custom orthotics or surgery when necessary.

5. Overlapping toes, underlapping toes and crossover toes are deformities in which one toe crosses over or under the adjacent toe. Overlapping and crossover toes are each caused by abnormalities in the biomechanics of the foot, but for different reasons.

Treatment of overlapping toes, underlapping toes, and crossover toes includes over the counter pain relievers, stretching exercises, and splints to hold the affected toes in place. Only surgery can correct these conditions permanently, however.

6. Ingrown toenails occur when the skin on the side (or sides) of a toenail grow over the nail. Ingrown toenails can be incredibly painful and become infected if not treated.

Treatment for ingrown toenails includes soaking the foot in warm water four times each day, and treatment by a podiatrist to remove the skin and/or treat the infection.

7. Turf toe, most comonly occuring in athletes, is an overuse injury that occurs at the base of the big toe. It is usually the result of a hyperextension of the big toe, but may also be a form of sesamoiditis or sesamoid fracture (the sesamoids are two tiny bones in the ball of your foot).

Treatment of turf toe should always be handled by a podiatrist familiar with sports injuries.

8. Fractures can occur in any bone of the toe. A minor fracture needs only rest, ice, and if necessary, over the counter pain medicine to heal. But serious toe fractures must be immobilized and if extensive, may require surgery. Toe fractures should always be treated by a podiatrist.

9. A toe sprain occurs when the toe is jammed or stubbed, and the tendon or soft tissue is injured. Even though this injury can look quite nasty, the pain and swelling should subside in a few days, if there is nor fracture.

Any pain in your toes is not normal. Please make an appointment with the PA Foot and Ankle Associates office if you're experiencing any of these symptoms.

Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:01

Tips For Winter Foot Care

You may have looked at the title of this post and said, "put on thick socks!"  And you'd be right - that's one tip to protect your feet from the cold this winter. But depending on your health, your lifestyle, and the condition of your feet, you might want to consider a few other tips for winter foot care as well.

[caption id="attachment_4769" align="alignleft" width="600"]winter foot care A good pair of insulated boots and thermal socks are your feet's best defense against winter weather.[/caption]

Cold weather tips for diabetics

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you're at greater risk of foot injury during the winter months than you are at any other time of year. A side effect of diabetes called Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy causes a loss of sensation in your feet, the result of persistently high blood sugar which damages blood vessels and nerves. DPN doesn't typically appear overnight - one experiences a slow loss of sensation over a period of years as the damage occurs. This makes a diabetic patient especially vulnerable to frostbite or frostnip, potentially damaging skin and other cells.

Diabetics - and everyone - should use common sense if they're going to be outdoors for a prolonged period. Keep moving to stimulate circulation, take breaks to warm up whenever possible, wear an excellent pair of waterproof boots, and wear 2 pair of thermal socks. Take an extra pair of socks with you in case your feet get wet. If your feet are icy cold to the touch, but you don't feel the appropriate sensation, you may have already developed DPN. Please make an appointment with your podiatrist immediately for an examination and treatment plan.

Cold weather tips for runners, hikers, skiiers, snowboarders, and all athletes

Just because you're moving, it doesn't mean you're invulnerable to freezing weather. In fact, splashing through wet streets, icy slopes, and getting your boots, socks, or sneakers wet, not only opens the door to a wicked wipeout, but also to frostbite or frostnip. Anyone who's spent significant time outdoors hiking, camping, sledding, or skiing is usually acutely aware of this from personal experience. But did you know that once you get frostbite or frostnip, you risk a more severe injury if it happens a second time?

[su_column][su_note note_color="#fff2f6" text_color="#ffffff" radius="3"]Learn to recognize the signs of frostbite (Mayo Clinic)[/su_note][/su_column]

Athletes should avoid training on wet surfaces, or at least splashing through puddles or snow. Hikers, campers, hunters, skiiers and snowboarders should have quality boots and appropriate socks to keep their feet warm and dry. If you notice a loss of sensation in your feet to any degree, get indoors immediately (or somewhere warm), take off your shoes and socks, dry your feet if wet, and allow your feet to slowly warm. If pain accompanies the warming, you may have frostnip. See a podiatrist for an evaluation.

Winter foot care for everyone

  • Use common sense and keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Wear comfortable, insulated boots that leave room for 2 pair of thermal socks. Your winter boots should also have a good sole to give you plenty of traction on wet surfaces.
  • Wear thermal socks. If your feet are cold, wear 2 pair. Pass on cotton - choose synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin.
  • If your feet tend to dry out in winter, moisturize them on a regular basis. But don't moisturize in between your toes - too much moisture in that area may lead to a fungal infection.
  • Stay well hydrated to avoid chafing. This helps to prevent dry, cracked skin and blisters.
  • Use talcum powder on your feet to keep them dry - good advice for any time of year.


arthritis2To counter any holiday weight gain, many runners will be fighting the cold to keep on exercising through the winter months. Exercising is also a great way to improve your mood and keep your energy throughout the day. Runners should keep in mind, however, the possibility of hypothermia while running. Prolonged exposure to cooler temperatures can decrease blood circulation to the hands, arms, legs, and particularly the feet. Keep in mind warning signs such as paleness, pain, or numbness of the affected area.  

Poor circulation is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. If you have any concerns with poor circulation in your feet contact one of our podiatrists of Podiatry. Our podiatrists will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Poor Circulation in the Feet

Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs can be caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is the result of a buildup of plaque in the arteries.

Plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, results from excess calcium and cholesterol in the bloodstream. It usually restricts the amount of blood which can flow through the arteries. Poor blood circulation in the feet and legs are sometimes caused by inflammation in the blood vessels, known as vasculitis.


Lack of oxygen from poor blood circulation restricts muscle growth and development. It can also cause:

-muscle pain    -numbness in legs
-cramps            -skin discoloration
-weakness        -slower nail & hair growth
-stiffness         -erectile dysfunction

Those who are over 50-years-old, have diabetes and/or smoke are at greatest risk for poor circulation. If you have poor circulation in the feet and legs it may be caused by PAD, and it is important to make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will dramatically improve conditions.

Consult a podiatrist or doctor to help determine a regime that suits you.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about poor circulation in the feet.

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