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March 2021

Monday, 29 March 2021 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.  

Published in Featured
Monday, 29 March 2021 00:00

What Is Hammertoe Correction?

Hammertoe correction is a surgical procedure used to straighten hammertoes, which are toes that are bent abnormally at the middle joint. The type of surgery you have will depend on how much your toe bends. In general, during this operation the surgeon makes one or more incisions in the area where your toe attaches to your foot. They will then loosen the tendons or ligaments that are causing the abnormal bending in the affected toe. Sometimes, joint or bone tissue needs to be removed to straighten the toe. You may also need wires, screws, or pins placed through your toe bones to keep the toe straight. When the operation is over, the incisions that the surgeon made will be closed with stitches. While full recovery time varies, hammertoe correction is an outpatient procedure and you will usually be able to go home the same day. For more information about hammertoe correction, and to find out if surgery is the right option for your hammertoes, please consult with a podiatrist. 

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Dr. Catherine J. Minnick of Illinois. Our doctor 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 offices located in Chicago, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Many popular athletic brands have running and walking shoes with an upward curvature in the toe area, known as a toe spring. Wearing shoes with toe springs requires less work from the muscles of the feet while walking, especially compared to walking in shoes with flatter soles. Because they can contribute to the weakening of foot muscles when they are worn habitually over long periods of time, shoes with toe springs may contribute to the onset of various foot problems. One common foot problem that may result from wearing these shoes is plantar fasciitis, in which the tissue running along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and painful. When it comes to footwear, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist to find out which type of shoes are right for you.  

If you have any concerns about your feet, contact Dr. Catherine J. Minnick from Illinois. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Biomechanics in Podiatry

Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.

A History of Biomechanics

  • Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
  • In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.

Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.

Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.

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

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Published in Blog
Monday, 22 March 2021 00:00

Biomechanics in Podiatry

Podiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of foot and ankle conditions. There are various subdivisions in podiatry; biomechanics is one of them. Biomechanics is the way in which the bones, muscles, and joints of the feet and lower limb interact with each other.

Our feet play crucial roles in the way we move, and it is rare to have feet that are completely symmetrical. Common biomechanical issues include high or low arches or uneven leg heights. Excessive pronation often leads to fallen arches, or flat feet, and is a common cause of running injuries. People whose feet are over-pronated tend to have flexible and unstable feet. Pain is usually experienced during walking and running.

At times, people may be able to adapt to these abnormalities without any difficulties, but in other cases, these issues can cause a great deal of pain. This pain occurs because the joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are put under an excess amount of stress during movement. Common symptoms of biomechanical problems stemming from the feet include hip pain, knee pain, leg cramps, ankle pain, lower back pain, weak ankles, tripping, heel pain, Achilles pain, and shin splints.

Many biomechanical issues can be treated with orthotics. Orthotics are shoe insoles that are used to help control the way the foot operates.  They can provide relief from foot pain, heel pain, and knee pain. Depending on your specific case, you may need to purchase over-the-counter orthotics or custom orthotics to fit your feet. Your podiatrist will be able to prescribe the perfect orthotic for your feet to help you walk around with ease.

Gait is defined as the way we move our bodies from one point to another. This is usually done by either walking or running. Gait analysis is a method used to assess the way we walk or run to highlight biomechanical abnormalities. Gait analyses are a great way to take a detailed look at how you walk and how your foot moves while you walk. An examination of the feet will help your podiatrist understand why you are suffering pain in other parts of your body.

Published in Featured
Sunday, 21 March 2021 00:00

Reminder: When Was the Last Time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Published in Blog
Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00

Walking on a Broken Foot

If you have broken a bone in your foot, you may still be able to walk, depending on the severity of the break. When recovering from this injury, it is suggested that you avoid walking excessively, as this can push the broken bone out of proper alignment and cause poor healing and foot deformities. Resting the broken foot can help the recovery process, which may take six to eight weeks. Elevating the affected foot frequently can reduce swelling and pain. If you have broken your foot, please consult with a podiatrist, who will be able to provide recommendations regarding when you can return to your regular activities following your injury. 

A broken foot requires immediate medical attention and treatment. If you need your feet checked, contact Dr. Catherine J. Minnick from Illinois. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Broken Foot Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A broken foot is caused by one of the bones in the foot typically breaking when bended, crushed, or stretched beyond its natural capabilities. Usually the location of the fracture indicates how the break occurred, whether it was through an object, fall, or any other type of injury. 

Common Symptoms of Broken Feet:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Blue in color
  • Numbness
  • Cold
  • Misshapen
  • Cuts
  • Deformities

Those that suspect they have a broken foot shoot seek urgent medical attention where a medical professional could diagnose the severity.

Treatment for broken bones varies depending on the cause, severity and location. Some will require the use of splints, casts or crutches while others could even involve surgery to repair the broken bones. Personal care includes the use of ice and keeping the foot stabilized and elevated.

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

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The human foot has 26 different bones, and the foot is divided into three parts: the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot. Each section of the foot is composed of a different amount of bones. For instance, the forefoot is made up of 19 bones. The midfoot is composed of five smaller bones called the navicular, cuboid, and three cuneiform bones. Lastly, the hindfoot is made up of only the talus and the calcaneus. The feet tend to be vulnerable to slipping and twisting; consequently, fractured bones within the foot are common. When a bone gets crushed, bent, twisted, or stretched it may become broken.

Many foot fractures occur through an accident or trauma. More specifically, common causes for broken feet are car accidents, falls, missteps, or overuse. If you have a broken ankle or foot, you may have one or more of the following symptoms: throbbing pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, deformities, and difficulty walking.

There are some factors that may put you at a higher risk of developing a broken foot. People who participate in high-impact sports are more likely to develop foot fractures because of the stresses, direct blows, and twisting injuries involved in gameplay. Additionally, those who suddenly increase their activity level are more likely to suffer a stress fracture.

Unfortunately, there are different complications that may arise because of a foot fracture. For instance, arthritis may be caused by fractures that extend into the joints. Bone infections are also possible in open fractures due to the bone being exposed to bacteria. However, there are ways you can help prevent yourself from breaking your foot. One way to avoid fractures is to wear proper footwear. If you plan on going on a run, you should wear running shoes. You should also replace your shoes if you notice that they are becoming worn out. For runners, it is best to replace shoes every 300 to 400 miles.

Treatment for foot fractures usually consists of rest, ice, elevation, and compression (RICE). If you plan on wrapping your foot, try not to wrap it too tightly because doing so may cut off blood supply in the foot. You should also avoid walking on the fractured foot.

If you suspect you have a broken foot, you should see your podiatrist right away. It is important that you have someone bring you to your doctor, since driving with a broken foot can be dangerous. You should especially seek urgent care if you are experiencing numbness, pain, or deformities in your foot.

Published in Featured
Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Joint Replacement Surgery

When conservative, noninvasive treatments prove unsuccessful, podiatrists will often turn to surgery as the last line of treatment for their patients. If patients are suffering from joint pain, issues in mobility, or are seeking to correct a deformity, joint replacement surgery is an effective option. Joint replacement surgery is also successful in treating arthritis, which is the most common cause of improperly working joints.

Patients with symptoms that include joint pain, stiffness, limping, muscle weakness, limited motion, and swelling are typically considered for joint replacement surgery. Range of motion and activity post-surgery will vary between patients and depending on the specific surgery performed, the affected joint, and the damage that will need to be repaired.

Joint replacement surgery replaces the damaged cartilage and bone, the latter if required. The damaged cartilage is typically replaced with a prosthesis that is attached to the bone, allowing the implant to grow into the bone. Following surgery, the patient will typically undergo physical therapy to become familiar with movement using the replaced joint.

 

Published in Featured
Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00

Ankle Joint Surgery

A joint connects two or more bones to each other. One of the most prominent joints in the lower limbs is the ankle, where the shin bone and the bone at the top of the foot come together. Like other joints in the body, the ankle joint can be affected by injury or arthritis. When the ankle joint is significantly damaged, usually by late-stage arthritis, ankle replacement surgery may be necessary to improve joint function and relieve pain. During joint replacement surgery, the joint is partially or fully removed and replaced with an implant. For more information about ankle joint replacement surgery, please consult with a podiatrist.

In certain cases, in which the patient suffers from extreme pain or damage in a joint, joint replacement surgery may be deemed useful. If you have constant pain in a foot joint, consult with Dr. Catherine J. Minnick from Illinois. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Over time, joints wear down; this can be exacerbated by diseases and conditions. Joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is when a damaged joint is surgically removed and replaced with a prosthesis. Prostheses, which can be made of ceramic, plastic, or metal, act as joints in lieu of an actual joint. One of the most prevalent causes for joint replacement is arthritis.

Arthritis in the Foot

Arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, including in the feet. Common types of arthritis in the foot are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The big toe is usually where arthritis occurs in the foot; this is known as hallux rigidus.

Joint Replacement Surgery in the Foot

The most common form of joint replacement in the foot is a first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint placement. MTP joint replacement surgery is designed to treat hallux rigidus. Surgery is not intensive, and recovery occurs within one to two months after the procedure has been done. Overall, joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to treat pain in the joint of the foot.

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

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Published in Blog
Monday, 01 March 2021 00:00

Achilles Tendon Injuries

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body; it is a tough band of fibrous tissue that stretches from the bones of the heel to the calf muscles. This tendon is what allows us to stand on our toes while running, walking, or jumping, it is common for this tendon to become injured. In severe cases, the Achilles tendon may become partially torn or completely ruptured. However, this tendon is susceptible to injury because of its limited blood supply and the high tensions it endures.

The people who are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries are athletes who partake in activities that require them to speed up, slow down, or pivot. Consequently, athletes who engage in running, gymnastics, dance, football, baseball, basketball, or tennis are more likely to suffer from Achilles tendon injuries. Additionally, there are other factors that may make you more prone to this injury. People who wear high heels, have flat feet, have tight leg muscles or tendons, or take medicines called glucocorticoids are more likely to have Achilles tendon injuries.

A common symptom of an Achilles tendon injury is pain above the heel that is felt when you stand on your toes. However, if the tendon is ruptured, the pain will be severe, and the area may become swollen and stiff. Other symptoms may be reduced strength in the lower ankle or leg area, and reduced range of motion in the ankle. When the Achilles tendon tears, there is usually a popping sound that occurs along with it. People who have acute tears or ruptures may find walking and standing to be difficult.

If you suspect you have injured your Achilles tendon, you should see your podiatrist to have a physical examination. Your podiatrist will likely conduct a series of tests to diagnose your injury including a “calf-squeeze” test. Calf squeeze tests are performed by first squeezing the calf muscle on the healthy leg. This will pull on the tendon and consequently cause the foot to move. Afterward, the same test will be performed on the injured leg. If the tendon is torn, the foot won’t move because the calf muscle won’t be connected to the foot.

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