Polydactylism – Should You Be Worried About Extra Toes?

Polydactyly is actually one of the most common malformations affecting as many as 1 in every 1,000 babies born today. The condition is most often related to genetics, but some research suggests that environmental factors could contribute to the development of extra fingers or toes during pregnancy. While extra toes may seem like no big deal, occasionally, these little extra limbs can cause problems. Here is a look at a few things that can come up when you have extra toes.

Problems Finding Properly Fitting Shoes

One of the biggest challenges people with extra toes have is the fact that it can be relatively difficult to find shoes that fit properly. Shoes are obviously designed for people with five toes. A six-toed foot can be substantially wider than the average foot, and the added toes can be in unusual spots, such as along the side of the big toe or seated slightly overlapping other toes.

Disruptions in Balance or Walking Form

In certain polydactyly cases, the added toe can cause a disruption in how an individual holds their balance or how they walk. For instance, an added toe that points in a more downward position may have the individual walking in an unusual way to avoid putting pressure on the toe. While having extra toes may sound like it would mean you have better balance, the opposite is often true. Many people with added toes have issues with an imbalanced stance, specifically, if the toe is in an odd place or one foot has an extra toe and the other does not.

Injury to the Extra Toe

Depending on where the added digit is located, it can be more prone to injury. For example, an individual with a nubbin (extra toe with little or no bone structure) on the side of their pinky toe can have issues with hitting the nubbin or catching it on things. Injuries to extra toes can be just as concerning as injuries to other toes. Infection is common with foot injuries and healing times can be a bit slower.

Talk to a Podiatrist in Austin, TX About Polydactyly Problems

If you have an extra toe or more on your foot as an adult, chances are your parents chose to not have the toe(s) removed when you were born. Reach out to us to discuss how we may be able to help with your extra toes and the problems they can cause. Contact the office of Dr. Jeffrey Lamour, DPM, PA to schedule an appointment.

OUCH! That Stubbed Toe May Be more Problematic Than You Think

It often happens in the middle of the night, when you’re in a rush, or when you’re not quite watching where you’re going. A stubbed toe can be one of the most painful everyday events, but, thankfully, the pain usually subsides relatively quickly. Nevertheless, there are some instances when a stubbed toe is more than just a painful “stub.” In fact, a hard enough hit can lead to a list of bigger problems. Take a look at just a few of the injuries that can stem from stubbing your toe.

Broken Bones

Believe it or not, broken toes are most often caused by the notorious accidental stub. While the toes in your feet are relatively strong, they do not have a great deal of fatty tissue to protect them. Therefore, hitting your toe directly against something can be enough to cause a fracture. If your toe is broken after you have stubbed it, you will likely know it. The symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • Swelling around your toe or up into your foot
  • A change in the overall shape of the toe
  • Severe pain that gets worse and does not subside
  • Difficulty trying to move your toe

Cracked Toenails

Smacking your toe against a hard surface can cause cracks in your toenail, which can be incredibly painful. You may have to bleed around the broken nail, throbbing pain, and discoloration. While cracked toenails are not necessarily a major health threat, this is an issue to keep an eye on. The toenail will not mend back together; you simply have to wait for the broken portion of the nail to grow. If your toenail comes off or is hanging off and you can’t remove it, it is best to see a podiatrist for advice.

Infection

If the hit against your toe causes a wound, your toe can be prone to infection. In some cases, you can get an internal injury you may not spot right away For example, a hard enough hit could force the edge of your toenail into the interior tissue of your toe. If bacteria are allowed to get inside this kind of injury, it could easily lead to an infection. Your toe may be red or irritated and feel hot to the touch. If you see any of these signs, schedule a visit to your podiatrist for help.

Get Help for Toe Injuries at an Austin Podiatrist

While your toes are one of the smaller parts of your body, these small body parts have some of the biggest responsibilities. If you suspect you have injured your toe after a run-in with a door frame, table leg, or corner, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA in Austin, TX to schedule an appointment.

Modern Innovations for the Treatment of Common Podiatric Ailments

Every year, numerous people make their way to a podiatrist for help with common foot-related injuries and illnesses. While traditional medicine still has its general place in podiatric care, many of the best practitioners have taken advantage of the latest forms of treatment. At our Austin podiatrist office, we are always implementing new ways to help patients have healthy feet. Here is a look at some of the modern innovations in podiatric care you may experience when you come in for a visit.

1. Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus and More

For many years, patients had to rely on minimally effective treatments to try to eradicate issues with toenail fungus. However, modern technology has afforded a new solution for people with this aggravating and unsightly issue: laser treatment. Laser treatment for toenail fungus targets the fungi without causing damage to the full toenail or the surrounding tissue. And, this modern treatment has been shown to be more effective than a lot of topical ointments and other traditional remedies.

2. Stem Cell Treatment for Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can be some of the slowest-healing injuries. For example, if you have a torn Achilles tendon, the tendon itself is slow to mend because it is dense and heavy, so it takes the body a long time to rebuild that tissue without some level of support. Stem cell treatment gives your body the growth-supporting cells that can help that tissue regenerate quicker so you can get back to normal faster.

3. PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Treatment for Foot Fractures

PRP has been used in numerous types of medical treatment, including orthopedic care. Platelet-rich plasma is essentially your own bodily blood plasma product in concentrated form. Blood is taken from you, put through a scientific process to condense the valuable platelets, and then that platelet-rich plasma is injected at the injury site. The PRP treatment may help encourage the rapid healing of the fracture in your foot.

Let’s Talk About Foot Care in Austin, TX

The ways in which innovative medicine has seeped into podiatric care are nothing short of amazing. If you have issues with your feet, reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA in Austin, TX. We work hard to provide all of the latest treatment options for our patient’s feet.

 

Odd Toenail Issues and What They May Mean

You probably clip them, paint them, and try to keep them clean, but you may not realize that your toenails can be a direct indicator of your health. Check out some of the odd toenail issues and what they may mean.

Your toenails break easy and seem extremely brittle.

Toenails should be thick enough to protect the tip of your toe, so if they are brittle and break easily, it can cause some concerns. Brittle toenails can be a sign of overexposure to certain detergents, chemicals, or moisturizers. Toenails can actually take in too much moisture and get thinner due to overexposure to certain agents. Likewise, toenails can become brittle and dry if you are not staying hydrated enough.

Your toenails are extremely thick and difficult to trim.

Toenails are naturally thicker than fingernails, which can mean they are a bit harder to trim. However, your toenails should not be so thick that they are practically impossible to trim with ordinary clippers. If they are, it can be a sign that something else is going on. For example, people with high blood sugar levels related to diabetes can develop thick toenails and toenail fungus can also be to blame.

Your toenails frequently fall off.

Toenails fall off when they separate from the nail bed, and once a toenail does fall off, it cannot reattach. You have to wait for a new nail to grow in its place, which can take as long as 18 months for toes. Losing your toenails can come from a lot of causes, such as:

  • Direct injury to the affected toenail
  • Taking certain medications
  • Exposing the toe to certain types of chemicals
  • Untreated toenail fungus
  • Psoriasis on the toes
  • Ringworm
  • Poor blood flow to the toenails

Talk to an Austin Podiatrist About Odd Toenail Issues

Your toenails may seem like a small part of your feet and the health of your feet, but even small problems can be a big deal, so you should seek professional advice. Reach out to us at the office of Dr. Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA, a podiatrist in Austin, TX, to schedule an appointment if you have odd toenail issues.

Frostbite: What You Need to Know

Frostbite is the most severe kind of cold-related injury and the fingers, and toes are at the highest risk of becoming frostbitten. There are a variety of symptoms associated with frostbite. Recognizing and then treating frostbite as soon as possible is vital, but preventing frostbite in the first place is even better.

Recognizing, Treating and Preventing Frostbite

Knowing the symptoms associated with frostbite is the first step in properly treating this injury. Sometimes, people confuse chilblains with frostbite; however, the symptoms are different. Chilblains occurs when the skin is exposed to wet, cold and windy weather conditions. It causes swollen, dry, red and rough skin with tiny red bumps, which may ulcerate.

There are three degrees of frostbite:

  • First degree (frostnip) — skin becomes red and irritated. Toes will feel cold to the touch. If not addressed soon, numbness sets in. Warming the toes may cause some tingling type of pain. Chilblains may be present once the toes are warm.
  • Second degree — blisters and inflammation, but no tissue damage. Redness dissipates and the toes become pale (white or grayish-yellow in color). Although the skin may remain soft, ice crystals have probably formed within the tissue. All sensation in the affected toes may be lost. If the toes are warmed and treated, stinging and burning should be expected. Inflammation is likely and blisters may form over the next day or two.
  • Third-degree — all skin layers are affected, resulting in permanent damage to the skin and its underlying tissues. The toes are completely numb; therefore, pain and discomfort are no longer an issue. However, the absence of these senses occurs because the nerves have sustained serious damage. Skin feels waxy, functioning of the muscles and joints is poor or non-existent. Tissue death is likely.

Treating Frostbite

Seek medical assistance if you think you have frostbite. If you have frostnip of the toes, remove any clothing that is wet and/or may prevent blood flow to your toes. To keep your blood vessels from constricting, do not smoke or drink any beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine. If there is no chance that they will re-freeze, you can use water that is not too hot to warm your toes. Warming them as soon as possible is essential to preventing damage. Remain in a warm area and avoid walking around. You can reduce inflammation by keeping your feet elevated. Once warmed, apply a sterile bandage or cotton to the affected toes, this helps prevent rubbing.

Preventing Frostbite of the Toes

When spending time in the frigid outdoors, warm-up sessions are important. Be sure to keep an eye on your toes because sometimes you will not even know that frostnip or frostbite is setting in.

Prevention tips:

  • Wear two pairs of socks. Your inner sock should consist of synthetic fiber because these fibers wick water away from the skin. Your outer sock should be wool because it offers a great deal of insulation.
  • The boots or shoes you wear need to be insulated and waterproof.

If you are experiencing any type of foot problem, contact Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA, today at 512-451-3668. We can help.

3 Causes of Deformed Feet

Millions of Americans suffer from deformed feet. Deformed feet can be painful and this condition can make it challenging to walk. Because of the structural build of the human body, deformed feet can also lead to secondary issues that may radiate throughout the body. Surprisingly, deformed feet can be a cause of migraine headaches, backaches and neck pain. So what causes deformed feet? There are several possible causes.

1. Ill-Fitting Shoes

You may have perfectly formed feet, but if you make a habit of wearing ill-fitting shoes your feet could become deformed over time. There is a tremendous amount of pressure put on your feet. This pressure can push your feet into your shoes. If there isn’t sufficient space, the feet end up being pushed out of shape. Over time, this deformity can become permanent. An example of how ill-fitting shoes can cause deformed feet to include hammertoe. This condition consists of one or more toes that are permanently bent as if you were bending your toes. The difference is that you cannot unbend it. Hammertoe in women is frequently caused by wearing high heels, which put all the weight of the foot forward into the toe of the shoe. The toe bends because it’s being pushed into the front of the shoe by the weight coming from the back. Hammertoe is very painful because the top knuckle of the toe is now creating friction with the top surface of the shoe. Even when you stop wearing high heels, the hammertoe may persist unless you visit a podiatrist for treatment.

2. Intense Sports Play

One of the lesser-known causes of deformed feet has to do with professional sports players or athletes. Sports that include a high amount of foot interaction with a hard surface can lead to deformed feet. Examples of sports that can cause this include football and soccer. These professional athletes frequently develop certain deformities that can lead to painful conditions unless treated.

3. Birth Defects

Many people are born with deformed feet. This is sometimes caused by a genetic condition or another cause. In cases like this, surgical treatment may be needed so that the individual can walk normally and wear traditional footwear.

There are many treatment options available for deformed feet. If you have this condition, book an appointment with a podiatrist for treatment recommendations.

Debunking Common Myths Associated with Ingrown Toenails

Just as painful as a toothache, ingrown toenails are one of the most common reasons for a visit to a podiatrist. This foot problem is so common, that 20 out of 100 people who visit the doctor with podiatric complaints have an ingrown toenail. As common as the issue is, there are a lot of myths out there associated with the problem.

Myth: Only people with oddly shaped toes get ingrown toenails. 

People with toes or feet of any shape can actually experience an ingrown toenail; the shape of your feet or toes doesn’t really affect your chances of having the issue. However, if you have certain toenail shapes, you may be more prone to ingrown toenail problems. For example, people who have “pincer” toenails that grow in a highly curved way can be more at risk.

Myth: You can prevent ingrown toenails by cutting the corners of your toenails. 

Cutting notches or curves at the corners of your toenails is probably not going to thwart ingrown toenail issues. In fact, it is always best if you cut your toenail straight across and don’t cut the nail too short in any area.

Myth: Ingrown toenails always have to be professionally removed.

Ingrown toenails can oftentimes be treated at home, but you do have to be careful about doing so. If the nail has just started to embed into the edge of the toe, you can usually use nail clippers, tweezers, or other small manicure tools to break the nail loose from the skin. Just make sure you are using sterile tools and don’t cause an injury to your toe in the process. Once the ingrown gets to a point where it cannot easily be pulled up and out of the surrounding skin without extreme discomfort, it is best to see a podiatrist for help.

Ingrown toenails can be super painful, and they can also lead to infections around your toes if you’re not careful. Therefore, it is best to seek professional attention if your problem seems severe. The treatment for ingrown toenails is simple and can help prevent issues with ingrown toenails for a long time. Reach out to us at the office of Jeffery LaMour, DPM, PA for help.

How to Prevent Athlete’s Foot This Summer

Summertime is here, and the livin’ is easy … unless you have athlete’s foot. Then the living is rather itchy, with some pain, dryness and scaling involved.

Because you have better things to do this summer than deal with athlete’s foot, Dr. Jeff LaMour, a top podiatrist in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas, has some recommendations to prevent you from getting athlete’s foot. Let’s start by talking about what athlete’s foot actually is.

What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that can spread to anyone. Most people contract it from walking barefoot in a warm, moist environment like a locker room or swimming pool area. You can also get it if your feet stay sweaty (i.e. if you wear tight socks with no ventilation in your shoes).

The infection commonly results in a rash or itchy skin on the soles of your feet and between your toes. It can also cause small, red blisters, dryness, scaling, and can even cause your toenails to become discolored and pull away from the nail bed.

How can you prevent athlete’s foot?

Wash your feet often

Use soap and water. When you’ve finished washing, make sure you dry them well, especially between your toes. This will keep the fungus from finding an easy place to grow.

Wear footwear in wet public places

Whether you’re near a pool, in a gym or locker area, or in a hotel, make sure you wear sandals, flip-flops or some sort of shoes. The fungus can live on floors, so you want to avoid it as much as possible.

Keep your feet dry

Wear socks made of natural fabric or a fabric that wicks away moisture from your skin. Also, make sure your shoes fit properly and are ventilated. Wear shoes of a breathable fabric, such as canvas. You can even alternate the shoes you wear every day to ensure they’re dry when you put them on.

If your feet, socks or shoes do get wet, dry them off and change them as quickly as possible to keep the fungus from finding a home.

Don’t share

If you live with someone who has athlete’s foot, don’t share shoes, towels, linens, or socks, and don’t walk around the house barefoot.

Athlete’s foot is no picnic, but if you follow these prevention tips, your summer should be free of fungus. Stay diligent as the summer progresses, and if you need any sort of treatment for athlete’s foot, contact Dr. LaMour on the phone or through his website.

Relieve Back, Ankle, Knee and Hip Pain With Custom Orthotics

It may be surprising to learn that your foot may actually be at the root of your back, knee or hip pain. As a result, custom orthotics – so much simpler and safer than pain medications or surgery – could be the remedy you’ve been waiting for.

At Family Foot & Ankle in Austin, Texas, Dr. Jeffrey Lamour provides individualized foot and ankle care, using the latest treatment techniques and top quality custom foot orthotics. Learn about the variety of benefits you didn’t know custom orthotics can have.

Custom foot orthotics: A superior level of foot care

Custom orthotics are significantly superior to one-size-fits-all, over-the-counter options. These shoe inserts can’t relieve the variety of symptoms that custom-made orthotics can.

Made-for-your-foot orthotics address foot issues that are specific to you, using state-of-the-art technology that screens your feet for structural irregularities like high or low arches. Dr. Lamour knows that each patients’ feet are as unique as their personality. For that reason, generic foot inserts from the drugstore don’t provide the specific corrections needed to alleviate pain.

When we say pain, we don’t just mean foot pain either. Instabilities or gait problems caused by structural issues in your feet can create ankle, knee, hip and even lower back pain. Your feet have a hefty task, carrying you everywhere you go. That said, it stands to reason that starting from the ground up can help alleviate the pain you have in other parts of your body.

Custom orthotics carry plentiful benefits

Many patients who invest in custom orthotics for foot pain find additional benefits. After wearing their orthotics for a while, they often notice such perks as:

  • Diminished ankle or leg pain
  • Improved balance
  • The ability to walk farther or stand without pain for longer periods of time
  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Fewer calluses, corns, and bunions
  • Better posture

When your feet enjoy optimal support, so does the rest of your body.

A domino effect

Chronic lower back pain is one of the most common complaints among adults in this country, and among the most frequent reasons for missing work. If everyone with back pain wore custom-fitted foot orthotics, the domino effect could take place from the ground up. The reason:

If your arches are too high or too flat, or you have other structural abnormalities in your feet, it forces your feet out of alignment with your shins. If your feet and ankles turn inward or outward instead of staying in alignment with your shins, eventually, your knees also become misaligned. Once your knees shift, it can cause your thigh bones to shift and become misaligned where your thigh bones meet your pelvis.

As a result, the problem that began in your feet has affected your hips and posture, which makes your spine less stable. When your feet, legs, hips, and spine out of proper alignment, chances are you will experience lower back pain. Foot orthotics can correct this misalignment of bones beginning with your feet, creating a positive domino effect upward, until your posture improves, alleviating back pain.

Custom orthotics change the way your body moves. They also absorb impact when you walk, run, or stand. Along with alleviating back pain, this additional shock absorption may alleviate pain in your ankles, knees, and hips. And that could very well improve the quality of your life.

Your feet may not be the first area that comes to mind when you’re trying to get to the root cause of your back and joint pain, but it’s certainly worth investigating as part of the problem. To learn whether custom orthotics may be right for you, call or book a consultation online with Family Foot & Ankle.

How to Prevent Getting a Toenail Infection at the Nail Salon

With sandal season approaching, you might be thinking it’s time for a pedicure. Pedicures are relaxing, therapeutic cosmetic treatments that make your feet and toes look their best. Most pedicures include a foot soaking, scrubbing, nail clipping, massage, and nail polish.

Pedicures are relaxing, and they can make you feel good, but did you know that they can put you at risk for a toenail infection, or worse? The skin on your feet can easily be cut, increasing your risk for infection. An unsanitary nail salon can expose you to bacteria and fungus that can be hard to get rid of.

Luckily, these tips can help you can make an informed decision when you choose a nail salon for your next pedicure. Jeffery LaMour, DPM and our team regularly treat toenail fungus and other infections to help patients have healthy feet. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you stay safe during a pedicure.

Make sure the salon is sanitary

Nail salon technicians use a variety of tools on every guest in the salon. Nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, and more should be sterilized after every use, but up to 75% of salons in the United States don’t follow state protocol for disinfecting tools. The salon should use a medical-grade sanitizing machine called an autoclave to sterilize tools. Consider bringing your own tools, including a nail file, clippers, and polish, if you’re worried about the sanitary conditions of your favorite salon.

A warm foot bath can feel great on tired feet, but the bath can transfer fungus like athlete’s foot and toenail fungus if it isn’t properly cleaned. Nail technicians should disinfect foot baths between each use. If the bath isn’t sanitized properly, you might be at risk for getting a nail fungus. Consider finding a nail salon that uses plastic liners in foot baths to avoid infection.

Watch out for cuts on your feet

It’s possible that you can suffer a small cut or injury during the process of your pedicure. Nail technicians often cut cuticles with small scissors instead of pushing them back. Cutting cuticles can expose your nail bed and increase your risk of toenail infection. If your cuticles bleed or you’ve been injured, it’s a good idea to stop the pedicure.

Some nail technicians cut or shave off corns and calluses. Just like cutting your cuticles, removing corns and calluses in this way creates a wound in your skin. Bacteria can enter through the cut, and you may develop an infection as a result. Instead of cutting or shaving, ask your nail technician to use a pumice stone to work down these areas of dead skin.

Don’t get a pedicure if you have an injury or infection

If you have a known injury or infection, your immune system might already be weakened. A cut on your foot increases your risk of contracting an infection, and you could spread the infection if the salon doesn’t properly clean their instruments.

If you have diabetes, your feet are especially prone to injury. Most people with diabetes should avoid traditional nail salons to keep their feet healthy and injury free.

To fully enjoy your pedicure, make sure your feet are injury- and fungus-free before you go. Ensure the salon follows state regulations when it comes to sanitizing all the tools they use to perform pedicures.

And be sure to go to a licensed salon — one that has been evaluated by the state health department. The salon should display their license, and your nail technician should have a certificate from the board of cosmetology. At a clean salon, your chances of having a beautiful pedicure and healthy feet is much higher.

If you think you might have a toenail infection or other foot condition, we can help you heal. Call one of our offices in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas, or use our convenient online booking tool to make an appointment with Dr. LaMour today.