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Dr. Kennan T. Runte, DPM, FACFAS

(530) 477-7200

152 Catherine Lane, Suite F
Grass Valley, CA 95945

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February 2024

Tuesday, 27 February 2024 00:00

What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

Hammertoe, a common foot deformity characterized by abnormal bending of the toe joints, can cause discomfort and limit mobility. Incorporating regular stretches into your daily routine can help alleviate tension and improve flexibility in the affected toes. One effective stretch is the toe extensor stretch, which involves gently pulling the affected toes upward and holding the position for several seconds to stretch the tendons and muscles on the top of the toes. Another beneficial stretch is the toe flexor stretch, where you interlace your fingers between the toes and gently press them together to stretch the toe joints and muscles on the bottom of the toes. Additionally, rolling a small ball or towel under the arches of your feet can help relieve tension and promote better toe alignment. By performing these stretches consistently and gently, individuals with hammertoes can enhance flexibility, reduce discomfort, and maintain better foot health overall. If you have hammertoe, and would like to know more about specific stretches to perform, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can offer a tailored treatment plan.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Foothill Podiatry Clinic. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.

Symptoms

  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe

Treatment

If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Grass Valley, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?
Tuesday, 20 February 2024 00:00

Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), or peripheral arterial disease, is a circulatory problem in which there is a reduction of blood flow to the limbs due to narrowed arteries. When peripheral artery disease develops, the extremities do not receive enough blood flow; this may cause symptoms to develop such as claudication, or leg pain when walking. The legs are the most common site of peripheral artery disease.

Claudication, or leg pain when walking, is one of several symptoms that can develop due to peripheral artery disease. Other symptoms caused by the disease include painful cramping in the hips, thighs, or calves after certain activities; leg numbness or weakness; coldness in the lower leg or foot; sores on the lower extremities that do not heal; hair loss on the lower extremities; and a missing or weak pulse in the lower extremities. In more severe cases, pain may even occur when the body is at rest or when lying down.

Peripheral artery disease is typically caused by atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits build up in the arterial walls and reduce blood flow. Smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are some of the risk factors for peripheral artery disease.

If you are experiencing pain, numbness, or other symptoms in the lower extremities, see your healthcare professional immediately. Diagnosed peripheral artery disease can be treated with various medications, angioplasty and surgery, exercise programs, or alternative medicine. It is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment for you.

Tuesday, 20 February 2024 00:00

Facts About the Ankle-Brachia Index Test

The Ankle-Brachial Index, or ABI, test is a diagnostic tool podiatrists use to assess peripheral arterial disease. This is a condition characterized by narrowed or blocked arteries, caused primarily by plaque buildup and which leads to poor blood flow to the legs. By measuring blood pressure at the ankle, at rest, and sometimes post-exercise, the ABI helps predict the severity of peripheral artery disease, a condition primarily caused by arterial narrowing or blockage due to plaque buildup. A normal ABI falls within the range of 1.0 to 1.4, indicating sufficient blood flow and minimal arterial obstruction, while values of 0.9 or lower suggest peripheral artery disease. Additionally, ABI values above 1.40 may also signal arterial stiffness and potential cardiovascular risks. Notably, a slight drop in ABI post-exercise further confirms the presence of peripheral artery disease. This test is instrumental not only in diagnosing lower extremity vascular issues but also in identifying individuals at heightened risk for heart attacks and strokes. Consequently, integrating ABI testing into routine podiatric assessments enables early detection and management of PAD. If you have peripheral artery disease symptoms, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for an examination and possibly ABI testing. 

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foothill Podiatry Clinic. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Grass Valley, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Peripheral Artery Disease
Tuesday, 13 February 2024 00:00

Heel Pain

Heel pain can be difficult to deal with, especially if you do not know what the underlying cause is. If you ignore your heel pain, the pain can magnify and potentially develop into a chronic condition. Depending on the location of your heel pain, you have developed a specific condition.  

One condition is plantar fasciitis.  Plantar fasciitis is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, or the band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. The pain from this condition is initially mild but can intensify as more steps are taken when you wake up in the morning. To treat this condition, medication will likely be necessary. Plantar fasciitis is often associated with heel spurs; both require rest and special stretching exercises.

There are various options your podiatrist may suggest for heel pain.  Treatment options for heel pain typically include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which may reduce swelling and pain. Other options are physical therapy, athletic taping, and orthotics. In severe cases of heel pain, surgery may be required.

Preventing heel pain is possible.  If you are looking to prevent heel pain from developing in the future, be sure to wear shoes that fit you properly and do not have worn down heels or soles. Be sure to warm up properly before participating in strenuous activities or sports that place a lot of a stress on the heels. If you are experiencing any form of heel pain, speak with your podiatrist to determine the underlying cause and receive the treatment you need.

High heels are known for their stylish appearance, but they can lead to heel pain and foot problems, including Haglund's deformity. The design of many high-heeled shoes places increased pressure on the back of the heel, leading to friction and irritation. High heels and pumps often have rigid backs or narrow heel counters, which can contribute to rubbing against the heel. This persistent rubbing can cause the formation of a bony enlargement at the back of the heel, known as Haglund’s deformity. Haglund’s is also known as pump bump because pumps so often contribute to the development of the condition. Choosing shoes with softer, more accommodating heel structures and avoiding styles that excessively press on the back of the heel can play a pivotal role in preventing or minimizing the risk of developing this condition. If you are experiencing heel pain or Haglund’s deformity, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist, who can help you find the cause of your pain, and guide you toward selecting appropriate shoes. 

Many people suffer from bouts of heel pain. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of Foothill Podiatry Clinic. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain is often associated with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissues that extends along the bottom of the foot. A rip or tear in this ligament can cause inflammation of the tissue.

Achilles tendonitis is another cause of heel pain. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon will cause pain from fractures and muscle tearing. Lack of flexibility is also another symptom.

Heel spurs are another cause of pain. When the tissues of the plantar fascia undergo a great deal of stress, it can lead to ligament separation from the heel bone, causing heel spurs.

Why Might Heel Pain Occur?

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes                  
  • Wearing non-supportive shoes
  • Weight change           
  • Excessive running

Treatments

Heel pain should be treated as soon as possible for immediate results. Keeping your feet in a stress-free environment will help. If you suffer from Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, applying ice will reduce the swelling. Stretching before an exercise like running will help the muscles. Using all these tips will help make heel pain a condition of the past.

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Grass Valley, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Heel Pain
Tuesday, 06 February 2024 00:00

Pregnancy and Foot Health

Many pregnant women complain about foot pain while they are expecting. Foot pain can primarily be caused by weight gain and hormonal changes taking place in the body. By understanding how pregnancy impacts the health of a woman's feet, a pregnant woman can take action to keep her feet as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Because a woman's weight changes during pregnancy, more pressure is brought to bear on both the legs and the feet. This weight shift can cause two major foot problems: over-pronation, also known as flat feet, as well as edema, which is swelling of the feet. Over-pronation occurs when the arch of the foot flattens, causing the foot to roll inwards when the individual is walking, and can aggravate the plantar fascia tissues located along the bottom of the feet. If these tissues become inflamed, a pregnant woman can experience pain in the heel of the foot as well as severe foot pain while walking or standing. Swelling of the feet, or edema, often occurs in the later stages of pregnancy. It is caused by slow circulation and water retention, and may turn the feet a light purple color.

To keep feet in good health and prevent over-pronation, pregnant women should avoid walking barefoot and be sure they are wearing shoes that offer good arch support. A device known as an orthotic can be added to regular footwear in order to provide additional support for the feet during pregnancy. Any expectant mother whose feet hurt should first check to see if the shoes she is wearing are old, worn out and not offering the proper support necessary for distributing the weight of her body during pregnancy.

To treat edema of the feet, a good start is to wear quality footwear which offers support and good circulation. Keep feet elevated whenever possible by using a foot stool while seated. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water to prevent water retention in the feet. Any swelling that occurs in only one foot should be examined as soon as possible by a doctor.

Good foot health during pregnancy can help expectant mothers avoid foot pain that leads to other health problems. Massaging the feet and doing regular gentle exercise like walking aids foot health by contributing to good circulation. Supportive shoes are also a good investment that will support foot health during pregnancy.

Pregnancy, a momentous journey marked by various changes, also brings about alterations in the body, including swelling in the feet. This phenomenon, known as edema, is a common occurrence during pregnancy due to increased blood volume and pressure on the pelvic veins. The growing uterus exerts pressure on the vena cava, which hinders blood flow from the lower extremities and leads to fluid retention. Hormonal changes further contribute to this swelling by causing the body to retain more water. To find relief, elevation of the feet whenever possible helps reduce fluid buildup. Supportive footwear and avoiding prolonged periods of standing can alleviate the strain on the feet. Staying hydrated, incorporating gentle exercises like walking, and incorporating a low-sodium diet can also aid in managing pregnancy-related foot swelling. If you have foot swelling or pain in any area of your foot during your pregnancy, it is suggested that you visit a podiatrist who can help you to find additional relief measures.

Pregnant women with swollen feet can be treated with a variety of different methods that are readily available. For more information about other cures for swollen feet during pregnancy, consult with one of our podiatrists from Foothill Podiatry Clinic. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What Foot Problems Can Arise During Pregnancy?

One problem that can occur is overpronation, which occurs when the arch of the foot flattens and tends to roll inward.  This can cause pain and discomfort in your heels while you’re walking or even just standing up, trying to support your baby.  

Another problem is edema, or swelling in the extremities. This often affects the feet during pregnancy but tends to occur in the later stages. 

How Can I Keep My Feet Healthy During Pregnancy?

  • Wearing orthotics can provide extra support for the feet and help distribute weight evenly
  • Minimize the amount of time spent walking barefoot
  • Wear shoes with good arch support
  • Wear shoes that allow for good circulation to the feet
  • Elevate feet if you experience swelling
  • Massage your feet
  • Get regular, light exercise, such as walking, to promote blood circulation to the feet

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Grass Valley, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Pregnancy and Foot Health
Friday, 02 February 2024 00:00

Do You Suffer From Painful Feet?

Painful deformities, such as hammertoes, can be treated. Stop living with foot pain, and have beautiful feet again!

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