Hammertoes

Foot Facts

  • Each foot has 26 bones
  • There are more than 100 ligaments in each foot
  • Diabetes is the #1 cause for lower extremety amputation
  • A toenail takes 4-9 months to completely grow out
  • Pain in the feet is NOT normal

Surgery: YES OR NO????

  • Deciding whether or not to have surgery is a big decision. 
  • Our foot and ankle surgeons are skilled in both surgical and conservative options. 
  • We will present the options most suitable for you and help you with your decision.

How much pain should I be in before I make an appointment?

  • Foot pain is not normal.
  • Foot pain is a signal that something is not right.
  • Any degree of foot pain warrants an evaluation to determine the source of the pain and possible treatment options.
  • Most foot pain left untreated will get worse and become more difficult to cure.
  • If you have foot or ankle  pain, make an appointment, do not wait.

Will soaking cure my ingrown toenail?

  • Soaking an ingrown toenail will often make it feel better, but it will not cure it. 
  • The symptoms of an ingrown toenail include pain, redness, and swelling.
  • An ingrown toenail is easily cured with a simple in office surgical procedure. 
  • The toe is anesthetized so that pain is not felt during the procedure.
  • The ingrown nail, or portion of the nail, is removed.
  • Most people feel no pain afterwards and return to normal activities the next day. 

What are orthotics?

  • Custom made foot arch supports designed to hold the foot in its optimum position
  • Can alleviate the discomfort caused by a number of foot conditions such as heel pain, bunions, and flat feet. 

Happy Feet...Happy Bride

happyComfortable footwear can help make the perfect day even better. Many times foot or ankle discomfort can be alleviated with appropriate shoes. It is not unusual for people to buy shoes that are too small for their feet. If your foot problem has an easy solution, our podiatrists will gladly provide you with that information. Sometimes the right shoe is not enough and custom-made orthotics is necessary to help the feet maintain the best position. Our podiatrists can utilize a three dimensional digital scan to have custom made inserts (orthotics) fabricated for your shoes, made from the scan of your feet to correct your specific foot abnormality and fit your feet only. If your foot or ankle problem can be resolved with conservative treatment, our podiatrists will advise you of the best treatment for you. There are times when the best solution for a foot or ankle problem is surgery. If you require foot or ankle surgery, our podiatrists can provide you with the latest state of the art surgical techniques. They will take the time to explain to you what to expect before, during and after surgery and will try to answer all your questions. Whatever your foot or ankle problem may be, our podiatrists will explain the various treatment options available to you. Everyone is happier when their feet are happy!

Thoughts on Celebrating 30+ Years

anniversarySome thoughts from Dr. Jacoby:
On April 30, 1984 I took over this podiatry practice. Elgin became my professional home as well as my personal home. I am forever grateful to Dr. Roger Hess who started this practice 50 years prior. Dr. Hess was a gentleman whom I admired and emulated both professionally and personally. I am forever honored to continue caring for the patients who initially trusted Dr. Hess.

My first office was at 860 Summit on the East Side of Elgin. I remember painting the office myself. I moved twice into larger space at 860 Summit. Eventually we outgrew the space there and moved to larger space at the Sherman Hospital Medical Building and then finally here to 750 Fletcher. I am grateful to the multitude of patients we have had the privilege of treating and that have kept us growing. I am also grateful to the multitude of other physicians in the area whom I am so privileged to work with.

Not only has this practice grown in physical space, but we have grown technologically as we offer many state of the art alternatives.  My staff has been and continues to be essential.  To all my staff, both past and present, I say a most sincere Thank You.

I look back on the years with much pride and sentimentality. I look forward to the future with the same enthusiasm and joy I felt on April 30, 1984. I love what I do and every day I realize how blessed I am to be in this wonderful profession!

What Is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop.

 

Hammertoe2Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time. In the earlier stages, hammertoes are flexible and the symptoms can often be managed with noninvasive measures. But if left untreated, hammertoes can become more rigid and will not respond to non-surgical treatment.

Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes never get better without some kind of intervention.

Causes
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle/tendon imbalance. This imbalance, which leads to a bending of the toe, results from mechanical (structural) changes in the foot that occur over time in some people.

Hammertoe1Hammertoes may be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit properly. A hammertoe may result if a toe is too long and is forced into a cramped position when a tight shoe is worn.

Occasionally, hammertoe is the result of an earlier trauma to the toe. In some people, hammertoes are inherited.

Symptoms
Common symptoms of hammertoes include:

  • Pain or irritation of the affected toe when wearing shoes.
  • Corns and calluses (a buildup of skin) on the toe, between two toes, or on the ball of the foot. Corns are caused by constant friction against the shoe. They may be soft or hard, depending upon their location.
  • Inflammation, redness, or a burning sensation
  • Contracture of the toe
  • In more severe cases of hammertoe, open sores may form.

Diagnosis
Although hammertoes are readily apparent, to arrive at a diagnosis the foot and ankle surgeon will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. During the physical examination, the doctor may attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and will study the contractures of the toes. In addition, the foot and ankle surgeon may take x-rays to determine the degree of the deformities and assess any changes that may have occurred. 

Hammertoes are progressive – they don’t go away by themselves and usually they will get worse over time. However, not all cases are alike – some hammertoes progress more rapidly than others. Once your foot and ankle surgeon has evaluated your hammertoes, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.

Non-surgical Treatment
There is a variety of treatment options for hammertoe. The treatment your foot and ankle surgeon selects will depend upon the severity of your hammertoe and other factors.

A number of non-surgical measures can be undertaken:

  • Padding corns and calluses. Your foot and ankle surgeon can provide or prescribe pads designed to shield corns from irritation. If you want to try over-the-counter pads, avoid the medicated types. Medicated pads are generally not recommended because they may contain a small amount of acid that can be harmful. Consult your surgeon about this option.
  • Changes in shoewear. Avoid shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or shoes with high heels – conditions that can force your toe against the front of the shoe. Instead, choose comfortable shoes with a deep, roomy toe box and heels no higher than two inches.
  • Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic device placed in your shoe may help control the muscle/tendon imbalance.
  • Injection therapy. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to ease pain and inflammation caused by hammertoe.
  • Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Splinting/strapping. Splints or small straps may be applied by the surgeon to realign the bent toe.

When Is Surgery Needed?
In some cases, usually when the hammertoe has become more rigid and painful, or when an open sore has developed, surgery is needed.

Often patients with hammertoe have bunions or other foot deformities corrected at the same time. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your particular case, the foot and ankle surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity, the number of toes involved, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.