Welcome to the New Hampshire Podiatric Medical Association FAQ page.  Here we will post answers to the most popular questions about Podiatric health and concerns to “Keep You on Your Feet!

What is a Bunion?

bunionA bunion is described as a bump on the side of the great toe and can often times cause pain with shoe gear and irritation. The “bump” actually reflects changes within the underlying structure of the bone. Bunion can be a progressive disorder and gradually the angles of the bones can change over years. The big toe gradually leans more towards the second toe creating a callus between the big toe and second toe.
Bunions are often inherited as one’s foot structure is past on from our parents. Although a common misconception is that shoes will cause a bunion, wearing shoes that crowd the toes may make the symptoms appear sooner
Symptoms related to a bunion are pain, soreness, inflammation, redness, burning and numbness sensation.
Non-surgical treatment options for bunions include changes in shoe-wear, padding, activity modifications, anti-inflammatories, icing injection therapy and orthotic devices. Should non-surgical treatment options fail to relieve your pain, you should discuss surgery with your podiatric surgeon.

What are Ankle Sprains?

High-Ankle-SprainAn ankle sprain is an injury to the lateral or medial ligaments of the ankle.  The ligaments connect  bone to bone and bind the  joints together to provide for stability limiting side to side movement.  Ankle sprains vary in  severity and can cause ligaments to be stretched, partially torn or completely torn and can involve one or more of the ligaments.
Ankle sprains occur as a result of a fall, sudden twisting, or direct  injury to the ankle forcing the ankle out of its normal position during sports or even walking on uneven surfaces.
Symptoms of an ankle sprain  include pain, swelling, bruising, stiffness and difficulty in walking.  Diagnosis of an ankle sprain will be made by your doctor after a complete history and physical examination, x-rays are obtained.   Further imaging will depend on the symptoms and the severity of the ankle sprain. 
Treatment of the ankle sprain   can be treated conservatively and surgically.
 Rest, ice, elevation, compression, early physical therapy and anti-inflammatories are indicated in initial therapy. Surgery is indicated if you have not adequately returned to your activity level, are having pain and the ligaments are damaged.

What is a Hammertoe?

hammer-toeA hammertoe is a bend of one or more of the joints in the toe(s).  Hammertoes often start out as a mild irritation of the toe in the shoes and are flexible.  In this case, padding and strapping can be effective in eliminating pressure and pain.  In later deformities, the toes become rigid and often fail to respond to conservative options. 
Hammertoes are caused as a tendon/muscle imbalance in the foot and lower leg that results  in a change in structure in the foot. 
Symptoms of a hammertoe include irritation from a shoe, corn or callus, redness and inflammation. 
Your podiatrist will diagnose a hammertoe after obtaining a thorough history and physical examination and attempt to reproduce symptoms of pain by manipulating the toe joint.  Hammertoes can worsen over time. 
Nonsurgical treatments for hammertoes will include padding, taping, shoe gear alterations, orthotics, injections and anti-inflammatories.  Surgery is indicated if symptoms persist despite non-surgical treatments.

What is a Tailor's Bunion?

Tailors-BunionA tailor’s bunion is also called a bunionette deformity and is a prominence of the fifth metatarsal bone near the little toe.  It is caused by faulty mechanics of the foot that is inherited from our parents.  With the changes of the foot and ankle structure, the enlargement of the fifth metatarsal head can develop.  As the fifth metatarsal bone shifts outward, the little toe can approach and rub on the fourth toe, sometimes causing inter-digital callusing. 
Symptoms of tailor’s bunion are redness, swelling, pain along the outside of the foot and can be worsened by wearing  shoes that are too narrow.
Diagnosis of a tailor’s bunion is made after your podiatrist obtains a thorough history and physical examination and x-rays can assist the podiatrist in determining the cause as well as extent of the deformity.
Non-surgical treatment of a tailor’s bunion include, shoe modifications, ice, rest, padding, injections, orthotics and anti-inflammatories. Surgical options can be discussed with your podiatrist should your symptoms continue.