Two of the more common but painful complaints seen by our Tempe podiatrist at Desert Foot Surgeons are bunions and hammertoes. Bunions are bone deformities that are caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. The enlarging toe and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear.
Bunions if left untreated can cause constant irritation and make walking painful and can even give rise to bursitis and arthritis. Tight shoes are the leading cause of bunions. Other contributing causes of bunions include flat feet, injuries, neuromuscular problems and pronated feet. Bunion treatment from our Tempe podiatrist has two goals; to stop the progressive growth of the enlargement and to relieve the pressure and pain caused by the irritation. One treatment option is the use of protective padding or orthotics inside the shoe to reduce the friction and irritation. Removing the corns and calluses on the foot also helps. Sufferers can also do exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness. If these more conservative treatments don’t work our practice may recommend a surgical procedure called a bunionectomy. This procedure is used to remove the bunion and realign the bone.
A hammertoe is a dislocation of the joints among any of the toes, usually in the second, third, or fourth toes. It is called a hammertoe because the toe bends like a hammer. Often corns and calluses accompany hammertoes. The dislocation starts out flexible and progresses to become quite rigid, which is when the hammertoe becomes painful and irritated in everyday shoes. Our Tempe podiatrist treats mild cases using relatively simple methods including trimming the corn or callus, using orthotics and shoe pads to relieve the pressure, or wearing special shoes. If the condition is more severe our doctor may perform a minor surgical procedure to remove a portion of bone causing the hammertoe that is done under a local anesthetic. So, if you’re encountering foot or ankle problems let our doctor assess your condition and work with you to start you walking with a smile again.