What is In-toeing?

Many children experience a condition in which their toes appear to point inward when they walk, which is sometimes referred to as being “pigeon-toed.” Although these abnormalities are usually outgrown by the age of two, the condition can appear in older children. Most cases of in-toeing in older kids resolve themselves by the age of 8 or 9 but may require special shoes or a cast for the feet to straighten out.

 

Types of In-toeing

 

There are three different types of in-toeing:

 

  • Metatarsus adductus—The inward bending of the foot occurs at the midpoint. In a mild occurrence, the feet remain fairly flexible, whereas in more severe cases the foot can be very stiff. If the foot remains bent after age 6, your foot doctor may recommend wearing specially designed shoes and inserts or a cast boot to help the straightening process.

 

  • Femoral anteversion—This is the name given to a twisted thigh bone that causes the knees and feet to also turn inward. If the child continues to walk oddly or begins to trip often and no improvement is noticed by the age of 9, then surgery may be necessary.

 

  • Tibia torsion—This is when the twisting tendency is originating from the shin area, or tibia. Again, while usually outgrown by the age of eight or nine, if the problem continues a surgical intervention may be necessary.

 

 

Another condition that is much less common than in-toeing is when the feet point outwards. Called out-toeing, it is often seen in children who have flat feet. This should be addressed early, since untreated arch problems can lead to pain and disability later in life.

 

If you are concerned about your child’s gait mechanics or foot shape, it is important to see a podiatrist for a proper evaluation. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).

Inflammatory Metatarsalgia

Excessive pain in the toes or the ball of the foot, especially while exercising or walking, may be a sign of an inflammatory condition called metatarsalgia.

 

The metatarsal bones are the long bones in your feet that extend to your toes. When the tendons and bones are stressed and pounded over time by the repeated impact of weight bearing, inflammation of the ligaments, tendons, and the thin covering on the bone itself can cause a burning, painful sensation often resulting in development of a callus on the ball of the foot.

 

Athletes who engage in high impact sports, such as running and tennis, are at a higher risk of developing this injury, but less active individuals can also fall victim. Some of the circumstances or conditions that can lead to a painful bout of metatarsal syndrome (as it is also called) include:

 

  • Foot deformities—Patients with other foot problems such as hammertoe, claw toe, and high arches are more susceptible to developing metatarsalgia.
  • Overweight individuals—Since excess weight puts more of a burden on your foot ball when walking, inflammation is more likely to occur.
  • Weak toe muscles—It’s important to maintain strength and flexibility in your toes because if they are too tight or too weak, metatarsal inflammation may result.
  • Arthritis—can contribute to metatarsal syndrome.
  • Poorly fitting footwear—Supportive footwear should be chosen and modified with orthotic inserts to address conditions such as pronation and high arches which can contribute to metatarsalgia.

 

Home remedies for metatarsal inflammation include rest, ice, ibuprofen and weight reduction.

If you continue to suffer metatarsal problems, it’s important to see your foot care specialist for a careful examination and x-rays to rule out a hairline fracture or other damage.

 

The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).

High Heels Affect Your Whole Body

While many women think high heels make them look and feel their best, the consequences of wearing them on a regular basis can range from minor inconveniences such as ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses, to more painful and debilitating conditions including Achilles tendon damage, knee, back, and hip problems.

 

Potential problems caused by wearing high heels include:

 

  • Bunions, corns, and calluses—Having your toes compressed in the small space at the front of a high heeled shoe can contribute to and cause such deformities.
  • Neuroma—Tightly fitting pumps can squeeze together the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot causing a condition called Morton’s neuroma which is characterized by a painful cyst forming on one of the nerves.
  • Achilles tendonitisRegularly wearing high heels can cause excessive pressure on the large tendon on the back of your heel. Your Achilles tendon can even become shorter over time which can permanently affect your calf muscles making even walking in regular, flat shoes a source of discomfort.
  • Abnormal gait mechanics—The center of gravity is shifted forward in those who wear high heels, causing more of the weight and pressure to be transferred from the heel to the ball of the foot. This causes a tendency to arch your back to compensate, causing misalignment problems with your spine that can adversely affect your knees, hips, and back.

 

While not wearing high heels at all is the best way to avoid all these complications, there are steps you can take to limit the damage if you do decide to enjoy your stylish footwear. These include:

 

  • Lower heels are better—Choose styles with two inch or lower heels. These put much less strain and pressure on your toes than the higher heeled versions.
  • Commute to work in flat, supportive shoes—you can always change into high heels upon arrival.
  • Stretch your feet and calf muscles—Doing daily stretching and flexing exercises can help relax your tendons and increase strength.
  • Avoid stiletto heels—Choose wider, wedge shaped heels for better stability and more even weight distribution.

 

If you experience continued pain and discomfort from wearing high heels, contact your podiatrist for proper evaluation and recommended treatments.

 

The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).

Ingrown Toenail Prevention

An ingrown toenail results when the edge or corner of the nail—usually on the big toe—grows into the skin of the toe rather than over the top of it, creating a painful condition that can lead to infection and possible removal of the nail. Severe infections, especially in diabetic patients, can even spread to the underlying bone due to the restricted blood flow and weakened immune response. Amputation of the toe or even the foot may become necessary.

 

One of the main causes of ingrown toenails is improper cutting technique. The toenails should be cut straight across rather than on a curve. This helps prevent the edge of the nail from growing inward in the first place.

 

Some of the symptoms of an ingrown toenail include the following:

 

  • Painful, tender skin on the side of your toenail
  • Excessive swelling in the nail area
  • Pus, redness, and a bad odor may be signs of infection

 

If the nail has not grown too far into the side of the toe, you can often find relief by soaking your foot in warm water with Epsom salts. If you can lift up the edge of the toenail where it is poking into your skin, you can try inserting a small piece of cotton underneath the edge to guide it away from your skin.

 

Preventing ingrown toenails from happening is the best way to avoid complications:

 

  • Remember to be careful when trimming your toenails. Always trim straight across instead of rounded. Try to keep your nails even with the tips of your toes.
  • Wear shoes with a wide toe box that are appropriate for the activity you are performing. Excess pressure and rubbing from improperly fitted footwear can cause a nail to grow inward.
  • Check your feet every day for any injuries or signs of an ingrown toenail. This is especially important for diabetic patients who may not notice an injury due to peripheral neuropathy.

 

If your ingrown toenail is causing extreme pain and looks infected it is important to seek the help of a foot care professional for proper treatment.

 

The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).

What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Getting woken up in the middle of the night with a severe muscle cramp in your calf or foot is a startling experience. An uncontrollable muscle spasm—also called a charley horse—is usually harmless but can be extremely painful.

 

Causes of Muscle Cramps

Overworking tired muscles in warmer weather is frequently a cause of cramping. Since dehydration can play a role in muscle cramping, it is important to drink plenty of fluids while exercising and recuperating. Despite these associations, the actual cause of muscle cramping remains mysterious to researchers.

 

While occasional muscle cramping is no cause for alarm, there are several conditions that can cause persistent cramping and point towards a more severe medical condition. These include the following:

 

  • Mineral deficits—Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are essential for proper muscle function and an insufficient amount can lead to muscle cramping. Some medications such as those taken for high blood pressure can have a diuretic effect, sapping your body of these vital nutrients and liquids.
  • Compressed nerves—A condition called lumbar stenosis can compress the nerves in the spinal cord causing muscles to cramp. Leaning slightly forward while walking can help reduce this compression.
  • Poor blood circulation—Conditions that cause a narrowing of the arteries, such as peripheral artery disease, can prevent the extremities from receiving sufficient blood supply during exercise leading to leg and foot cramping problems. Resting often relieves the muscle contraction.

 

Stopping a Muscle Cramp

Once a muscle cramp has started it is important to take quick action to prevent it from getting worse. Try the following exercises as soon as you feel a cramp coming on:

 

  • Stand up—Putting weight on your leg while your knees are slightly bent can relieve the cramp.
  • Leg extension—While sitting on the floor, extend your leg out and pull back on your toes to counteract the cramp.
  • Stretch and massage—Gently stretch the contracting muscle while massaging the area so the muscles relax.
  • Warm water—A warm bath or shower will help to loosen up tight muscles.

 

Any muscle cramps or contractions that continue for no obvious reason should be brought to your doctor’s attention, especially when accompanied by redness, swelling and weakness.

 

The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).