All About Hallux Limitus

Hallux limitus is a medical condition which means “stiff toe”. It is actually an arthritic condition that limits movement of the big toe. The pain is usually located at the area where your large toe and foot meet. The condition is not serious, but should be treated since it can lead to hallux rigidus, in which motion of the big toe is extremely limited.

The symptoms of hallux limitus are easy to overlook. Anyone can feel a toe pain and believe that it is nothing serious. However, some of the things you will feel and see are sharp pain, development of bone growths, feelings of tightness around the joint, difficulties wearing shoes, inflammation of the joint, and even the change in the way you walk. If you experience these symptoms, you should see a podiatrist while the condition is still in the early stages.

This condition may be a result of genetics, or of simply wearing out your feet. In the first case, people can inherit hallux limitus from their parents, or even be born with a predisposition to arthritis. Injury or overuse can cause trauma to the joint which can lead to extra bone growth and the wearing a way of cartilage. These situations will lead to arthritis and thus pain and limited motion in the toe. In some cases, certain systemic diseases such as lupus or gout can cause hallux limitus.

There are different methods for diagnosis, but an x-ray is generally performed along with a test to determine the big toe's range of motion.

A limited number of treatments are available; in mild cases lifestyle and physical therapy are recommended, along with oral anti-inflammatory medications. The R.I.C.E. method stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, and it is immensely helpful in this case. With hallux limitus it is crucial not to overuse the toe, and to be careful when it comes to exercise and other physical activities. Too much activity can destroy the cartilage that remains in the toe joint, making the toe even stiffer.

However, if the patient does not show any improvement, surgery is the only answer. The most common surgeries are arthrodesis, to fuse the joint, and cheilectomy, in which the joint is cleaned of scar tissue so the toe can move more easily. Many patients who receive surgery are able to go back to the activities they enjoy a couple of months after the operation.

Corns: What Are They, and How Do You Get Rid of Them

Corns are thickened areas on the skin’s surface, to the point of being irritating and sometimes painful. Commonly found on the feet, corns are circular or cone-shaped and develop where there are areas of pressure or friction, such as on the little toe when it rubs up against shoes, or on the ball of your foot. The official medical term for corns is Helomas.

Corns are often confused with a callus, but there is a difference between them. Corns can be a raised bump that are painful to the touch. They consist of a rough, thick area of skin that may be dry or waxy. Corns tend to be surrounded by skin that is inflamed, and are usually much smaller than calluses.

Removing the dead skin that has built up is the key in treating corns. Salicylic acid medication is most common in accomplishing this. The acid works by dissolving keratin, which is the protein that makes up the majority of corns. You can purchase salicylic acid over-the-counter in products such as wart removers. It comes in a variety of forms such as medicated pads, drops, or creams. However, people who are diabetic should not use salicylic acid, but should consult their doctor immediately.

According to the product directions, applying the medication directly onto the corn will treat it. The top layer of the corn will begin to turn a white color after use. When that occurs, the layers of skin can then be peeled away, making the corn smaller. Shaving off corns with razors or other pedicure equipment is never a good idea. This can potentially lead to infection. If your corn gets infected, and you do not respond with medication, a visit to the doctor will be necessary.

Another way to treat corns and help prevent their return is by using orthotic inserts, fitted by a podiatrist. Inserts fit right into your shoes and adjusts the way your foot fits into your shoes, thus fixing the way you walk. This will lower your chances of getting corns, and eliminate current corns, by reducing the friction.

Surgery is rarely used to treat corns, but does occur on occasion. Surgery actually deals with the underlying issue that causes corns. During surgery, the bone is shaved and any abnormalities are corrected, thus reducing the amount of friction that occurs during walking.

To prevent corns, the first step is reducing friction. Always wear shoes that fit well and don’t rub your feet. Pads can be purchased if you notice rubbing developing. These pads can be purchased over-the-counter, and can be simply placed on the irritated area. Wearing cushioned insoles in your shoes can always reduce the friction, and making sure to wear well-fitting shoes. This will ensure that your foot is not being squeezed awkwardly, and prevent corns from forming in the first place.

Proper Shoe Fitting

When it comes to maintaining foot health, wearing properly-fitting shoes is important. While wearing the appropriate pair of shoes may seem like a trivial concern, the reality is that improperly fitted shoes cause an astounding amount of injuries to the feet. The overall structure and the biomechanics of our bodies are directly affected by our posture, gait, and feet; because of this, pain and discomfort felt throughout the body are often related to a problem in the feet—and most foot problems usually stem from improper footwear.

Shoes should not be purchased with the expectation that they will easily stretch and contort to the size and shape of your feet. When shopping for footwear, look for shoes that fit correctly and comfortably as soon as you put them on. Do not purchase shoes that are too large or that slip in the heel area when you walk, and do not choose shoes that slip or that are loose with the intention of wearing thicker socks to compensate for the space. The widest portion of the shoe, the ball of the foot, must be made sure to fit comfortably in the shoe. 

Keeping all of these suggestions in mind may be difficult when shopping and when trying to select from a wide array of different shoes. Nonetheless, your time and money will be wasted if you purchase a pair of shoes that are too uncomfortable for you to actually wear them. After finally selecting and purchasing a pair of shoes, try them on at home. To truly ensure whether or not your shoes fit comfortably with normal activity, walk around on a carpeted surface to determine how they feel on your feet.

The possibility of damaging your feet’s 33 joints, 26 bones, and 100+ ligaments is much higher than many people suspect. Finding an appropriate and properly-fitted pair of shoes is perhaps the single most important action you can take to maintain excellent foot health and help prevent injury. The fact that our feet continue to change with age is one that many people often forget. Even if our feet no longer change in size with greater maturity, our feet will still change in shape.

If you already have pre-existing foot problems, there is a great possibility that wearing improperly-fitted shoes will worsen those problems. The good news, however, is that appropriate footwear is not difficult to find. While shopping for shoes, remember that improper footwear can not only detrimentally affect the feet, but the entire body and its biomechanical structure as well. The shoes you wear can greatly impact your legs, back, and entire body, as your posture and gait are related to your feet. Finding and selecting the best properly-fitted shoes is necessary in achieving optimal health.

Hyperhidrosis of the Feet

Plantar hyperhidrosis, or hyperhidrosis of the feed, affects approximately 1-2% of Americans. Plantar hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating in the feet not set by other causes such as exercise, fever or anxiety. Many people affected by plantar hyperhidrosis also suffer from palmar hyperhidrosis, or excessive seating of the hands, in addition.

Normally sweating is a process used by the body’s sympathetic nervous system to cool itself and maintain a steady internal temperature. In individuals affected by hyperhidrosis, the sympathetic nervous system produces far more sweat than actually needed.

Plantar hyperhidrosis is considered a primary hyperhidrosis, as secondary hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating in areas other than the feet, armpits or hands. Secondary hyperhidrosis could indicate other medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism and menopause.

Symptoms of plantar hyperhidrosis include athlete’s foot, infections, blisters and foot odor. Due to the continual moisture, socks and shoes can rot, creating an additional odor that can ruin the materials and cause socks and shoes to need frequent replacement. In addition to physical symptoms, this disorder can also affect emotional health as this disorder can be embarrassing.

Hyperhidrosis can persist throughout an individual’s life if left untreated. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available. A common first approach is using a topical ointment often containing aluminum chloride, an ingredient found in antiperspirants. Another treatment method is using Botox, which is injected directly into the foot, and can effectively minimize the sweat glands in the injected area. These injections need to be repeated every 4 to 9 months.

If either of these treatments prove ineffective, oral prescription medications may be taken to alleviate the symptoms. As with any treatment, some will experience relief while others do not. Another method that reportedly provides relief is going barefoot.

A final approach to fighting plantar hyperhidrosis is through surgery, although it is less successful on those with hyperhidrosis in the feet as opposed to hands. Surgery is only recommended when the sweating is severe and other treatments have failed to work. This type of surgery involves going into the central nervous system and cutting nerves to stop transmission of signals telling the foot to sweat.

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New England & Ankle Specialists

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