My Podiatry Blog
By Maryland Podiatry Center
March 01, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Hammertoes  

Learn more about this foot deformity and how to prevent the problem from getting worse.hammertoes

Do you notice that your feet have started to take on a new shape, more specifically, your toes? Over time, all the abuse we put on our feet can truly take its toll if we aren’t careful. If you want to keep your feet healthy, our Ellicott City, MD, podiatrist, Dr. John Murphy, is here to tell you more about hammertoes and why they happen.

What is a hammertoe?

Even though the name alone might make you picture a big hammer-shaped toe, a hammertoe is a deformity that causes one or more toes to bend downward at the middle joint. In more severe cases, these toes can become so bent and fixed in place that they may even start to look claw-like. While this condition may sound serious it is entirely preventable if you take the right measures.

Why do hammertoes occur?

A hammertoe won’t just occur on its own. Some factors have to take place to predispose one or more toes to this deformity. Some risk factors include:

  • Arthritis in the feet
  • Extremely high arches
  • An injury to the toe
  • Bunions
  • Weak tendons or ligaments in the foot
  • Wearing poorly fitted shoes

One of the major culprits of hammertoes are poorly fitted shoes. If you wear shoes that bunch up toes, put pressure on the toes or are generally too small then you are putting your feet at risk for developing hammertoes. Wearing high heels and shoes with pointed toes can also leave women prone to this foot deformity.

How is a hammertoe treated?

The treatment plan our Ellicott City foot doctor offers will really depend on the severity of your hammertoe. If your condition and its symptoms are only mild then more conservative measures such as over-the-counter pain relievers, applying protective padding to the toe when wearing shoes, wearing appropriate shoes and certain stretching exercises can often alleviate pain and discomfort.

However, once a hammertoe becomes rigid (fixed in place) the only way to repair the toe is through surgery. Surgery is only necessary when the hammertoe is severe enough that the toe doesn’t move. During surgery, the toe is realigned and any deformed bone is removed.

Are you dealing with a hammertoe? Want to talk to us about ways to ease hammertoe pain and other symptoms? Then call Maryland Podiatry Center in Ellicott City, MD, today. We are here to help you.

By Maryland Podiatry Center
January 03, 2018
Category: Foot Health
Tags: Orthotics  

“Orthotic“ means “to straighten or align” in Greek, but when it comes to your feet, these devices can do so much more. Dr. John Murphy, orthoticsyour podiatrist in Ellicott City, MD, has the experience and training necessary to determine if you need an orthosis to help with your foot or ankle issue. The right orthotic device can make a big difference and your mobility and your comfort, so read on to learn more about orthotics and their benefits here!

What are orthotics?

Orthotics deals with using devices like braces or shoe inserts to correct problems with the feet and ankles; orthoses are the devices themselves. These can be purchased over the counter or can be custom-made for you; the severity and nature of your specific problem will determine if you need a prescription from your Ellicott City podiatrist. Custom-fitted orthotics typically last several years before needing repair or replacement.

Why do I need orthotics?

There are many reasons why a person would need to wear an orthotic device. Some medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or spina bifida, can affect mobility in such a way that moving around is very difficult without the help of a brace or other type of supportive orthosis. Some people naturally have anatomy, such as fallen arches, a shorter leg, or club foot, that needs correction; orthotics can help with this too.

Working with your Ellicott City podiatrist is the key to finding the correct and properly fitting orthosis for you, so if you’re having mobility issues, contact Maryland Podiatry Center today to set up a consultation. We want to help you get on your feet in the new year and for many years to come!

By Maryland Podiatry Center
November 03, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Pain  

Your feet endure a lot of stress on a daily basis. The impact of something as simple as walking can put excess strain on your feet. The foot painstress and strain of walking, running, climbing stairs or standing for extended periods of time can ultimately lead to the development of foot pain. Foot pain can be felt anywhere on the foot, including the toes, ankles or heels. Fortunately, there are treatment options for these different types of foot pain. At Maryland Podiatry Center, Dr. John Murphy is your podiatrist for treatment of foot pain in Ellicott City, MD.


Bunions are a common source of foot pain. Bunions are a bony protrusion on the side of the foot that develops when the joint of the big toe slips out of place. Since this bony protrusion sticks out from the foot, it can easily become inflamed when the inside of your shoes rub against it throughout the day. When bunions become inflamed, pain and discomfort can result.

Bunions will not simply go away in time. Treatment is necessary and there are a variety of methods for treating bunions. Wearing cushioned orthotics or footwear with extra room in the toe box are two methods for alleviating the discomfort associated with inflamed bunions. Another option is surgery. During surgery, the bunion is removed and the toe joint is realigned. In Ellicott City, foot pain caused by bunions can be treated by a podiatrist.

Ankle Injuries

Another source of foot pain is an ankle injury, such as a sprained ankle. An ankle can become sprained when it twists the wrong way, resulting in torn or stretched ligaments. Left untreated, a sprained ankle injury can result in chronic foot pain and the development of other foot problems. Treatment options for alleviating the foot pain associated with ankle injuries include resting and/or elevating the ankle, applying ice or using compression bandages. Surgery to repair torn ligaments is also a treatment possibility for severe cases.

Heel Pain

In addition to bunions and ankle injuries, another source of foot pain is damage or injury to the heel area. Two common types of heel injuries are achilles tendonosis, associated with pain behind the heel, and plantar fasciitis, associated with pain on the bottom of the heel. Possible treatment methods for either of these two heel conditions include resting the foot, wearing orthotic shoe inserts for added cushion, undergoing physical therapy or Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT). In some cases, surgery might be necessary.

No matter what type of foot pain you have or what the cause is, it is possible to end your foot pain with treatment from an experienced podiatrist. For treatment of foot pain in Ellicott City, MD, schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy by calling Maryland Podiatry Center at (410) 992-8504.

By Maryland Podiatry Center
August 22, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  

Your left foot is very painful when you walk. The discomfort centers on the joint at the bottom of your big toe. Could it be a bunion? Bunionsbunions affect a full third of the population in the US. Learn here about this common foot deformity and Dr. John Murphy at Maryland Podiatry Center in Ellicott City, MD can help.

What is a bunion?

Basically, it's a painful bump on the side of the foot at the big toe joint. Characterized by redness, swelling and tenderness, a bunion impacts how easily you walk and even leads to callus and corn formation at the side and bottom of the foot. Left untreated, bursitis and arthritis can develop in the joint.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American Podiatric Medical Association agree a bunion has a distinct hereditary component. In other words, if your relatives have had bunions, you, too, may be prone to them. However, foot care professionals also say that poorly fitting shoes put pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joint at the base of the big toe--so much so that the joint bulges.

Additionally, the big toe often moves in toward the second toe, and in extreme cases, the second toe can move in toward the third toe. Hammertoes and other podiatric defects can result.

Finding help

Dr. Murphy has extensive experience in treating deformities of the lower extremities. In fact, he is a Diplomate of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and has treated numerous bunions in his years of practice in Ellicott City.

If you present with a painful foot, he'll do a hands-on examination, watch you walk, ask you about your symptoms, current health history and medications and take some digital X-rays. If you have a bunion, he may advise any one of a combination of several treatments. Your foot doctor will individualize your care plan according to the particulars of your case.

Treatments may include:

  • A simple change of shoes to ones with a wider toe box and more support
  • Removal of any corns and calluses
  • Customized shoes inserts (orthotics) to remove the pressure from the joint and to normalize your gait
  • Night time splints
  • Shoe padding
  • Surgery (bunionectomy)
  • Over the counter analgesics

Walk well, feel great

You can when you visit Maryland Podiatric Center for your bunion and all your foot health needs. Contact the office in Ellicott City, MD for your consultation today: (410) 992-8504.

By Maryland Podiatry Center
June 30, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Pain  

Are you wondering if your foot pain could be due to plantar fasciitis?Foot Pain

You don’t know what is causing your heel pain but you certainly know that it’s putting a damper on your days. You want to go for a run but the aching, gnawing heel pain is enough to keep you benched. Perhaps it’s difficult just to get around the house let alone think about working out. Our Ellicott City, MD, podiatrist, Dr. John Murphy, is here to offer up some insight into what might be going on.

One of the most common causes of heel pain is a condition known as plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, for many people, this condition isn’t serious and will go away on its own. Of course, this isn’t the only thing that could cause your heel pain so it’s a good idea to visit your Ellicott City foot doctor if your heel pain doesn’t get better after a week, or if symptoms get worse.

Other common causes of heel pain include:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Heel spurs
  • Bursitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Heel pad inflammation
  • Stress fracture

It will be nearly impossible to diagnose the cause of your heel pain all on your own, but this is where we come in. We have the tools and knowledge necessary to get to the root of your problem so that we can provide a treatment plan to get you back up and moving around.

What is plantar fasciitis?

There is a thick band of tissue that runs the length of your feet known as the plantar fascia. It extends from the toes along the soles of the feet until it attaches at the heel. Sometimes, through injury or overuse, this band of tissue becomes inflamed and irritated. This is a common condition found in runners or those who are on their feet a lot throughout the day. Athletes and those who are overweight are also prone to developing this inflammatory foot condition.

In most cases, the inflammation will go away on its own, but there are simple everyday things you can do to manage your symptoms and ensure that the problem doesn’t get worse. Promote faster healing by:

  • Resting the foot as much as possible and avoiding high-impact sports or activities like running or football.
  • If you must continue to exercise, opt for the stationary bike or swimming, which won’t put more stress on the bones, tissues or joints.
  • Also, talk to us about ways to splint the foot to improve the alignment all while providing additional cushioning and support that the inflamed tissue will need to heal more efficiently.
  • Only wear shoes that provide the proper amount of support and stabilization. You may also need to wear orthotics in your shoes to improve foot alignment and to absorb shock while walking, standing or moving.
  • In cases that don't respond to conservative treatment, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT) may be needed.

Are your symptoms pointing to plantar fasciitis? Do you hate battling foot pain? Then don’t do it alone. Call Maryland Podiatry Center in Ellicott City, MD, today to find out how we can help.

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