Toes

Conditions Treated

Learn more about how our podiatrists commonly treat toe conditions.

Gout

Gout is a common form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often at the base of the big toe.

A gout attack can occur suddenly, often waking you up during the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable.

Your Risk of Gout Can Increase Due To:

  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Chemotherapy
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor kidney function
  • Certain medications, including diuretics

Eating large amounts of purine-rich foods, including red meats, organ meats, shellfish, and even alcohol (especially beer), can also trigger increased gout flare-ups.

Gout Treatments

Pain and joint damage can get worse if gout is left untreated. If you’re experiencing a flare-up or have a history of gout, a podiatrist can help. Depending on severity and history, you may need any of these treatments.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Uric acid-lowering medications
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Steroid medications
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Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot condition where the toe has an abnormal bend, which can happen when continuous abnormal pressure is placed on the toe. This occurs when one or more of your middle toes are longer than the big toe, and when you wear shoes that don’t fit properly.

If you have bunions, it is very likely that you have or will have hammertoes. You’re also at a higher risk when you have diabetes, arthritis, a history of toe or foot injury, or an altered gait or walk.

Hammer Toe

Hammertoe Symptoms

Because hammertoes happen slowly over time, you may not have symptoms initially. Once the condition has progressed, symptoms can include:

  • Rigid toe joint
  • Limited toe mobility
  • Corns or callused skin
  • Pain in affected toes and foot
  • Swelling in toes and surrounding tissues

Hammertoe Treatment

If you have hammertoes, you should seek treatment to avoid long-term complications and worsening foot pain. Initial treatment options are conservative and include specialized padding/taping/splints, anti-inflammatory medications, topical creams, custom orthotics, steroid injections, and/or physical therapy. If those treatments don’t help or your condition is too progressed, surgery may be the best option.

Hammertoe treatment

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Ingrown Toenail

Have you ever experienced your toenail growing past the nail bed and digging into your skin, causing irritation and pain? That’s called an ingrown toenail and is a common condition, mostly occurring on the big toe. In fact, an estimated 20% of people who report toe issues to their family doctor have ingrown toenails.

One of the most common causes of ingrown toenails is improper toenail trimming—when you cut the nail too short or round the corners. Other causes include wearing shoes that don’t fit properly, genetics, toe/nail trauma, or toenail fungus. Additionally, if you have diabetes or poor circulation, you’re at a higher risk of developing ingrown toenails.

Ingrown toenail

It’s important to recognize ingrown toenail symptoms, which include:

  • Redness, heat, and swelling
  • Tenderness or throbbing pain
  • Drainage from the nail border
  • Discoloration of the nail
  • Pain when wearing shoes
  • Discomfort when bearing weight on the toe

Ingrown Toenail Treatment

If left untreated, eventually the nail becomes embedded in the skin and can lead to infection. An untreated infection could spread to the tissues and bones of the foot and leg and eventually your bloodstream.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please seek seek treatment, as the severity of an ingrown toenail can progress quickly. Treatment options include oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, toenail splint, and/or partial/complete removal of the nail—all of which can be performed in the office.

Toenail treatment

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Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus often starts on the skin, spreading from other fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot. It can affect one or more nails and may worsen over time if not treated. These types of infections typically grow and spread quickly in warm, damp places like inside socks and shoes.

Children and teens can get toenail fungus too. It’s essential to teach them to have good foot hygiene, not to share shoes or socks, and the importance of wearing shoes, especially in public places.

Older adults are at higher risk for a fungal infection due to poor circulation, a less effective immune system, and difficulty keeping their feet dry and clean.

Toenail Fungus

Other factors that place both children and adults at higher risk include:

  • Cutting nails/cuticles too short
  • Sweating heavily
  • Having poor hygiene
  • Having an open injury on your foot
  • Having diabetes or circulation problems
  • Having a history of athlete’s foot or other fungal infection
  • Walking barefoot in public areas, like locker rooms, playgrounds, or pools
  • Sharing socks or shoes, especially for children and teens
  • Having a suppressed immune system
  • Using shared pedicure tools that aren’t cleaned properly

Toenail Fungus Treatment

Toenail fungus may not be painful, but you should see a podiatrist if you notice:

  • Discoloration or yellowing
  • Brittleness or crumbling
  • Thickening or loosening
  • Debris under the nail

Toenail fungus can spread to other toenails or other people, so be sure to get treatment, if you suspect you may have symptoms. Treatments include laser therapy, antifungal soap, medications, and nail debridement. Severe and recurrent cases may require surgical removal of the nail.

Toenail fungus treatment

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