At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 149

J O I N T H E A LT H ▲

Hammer time

HAMMER TOE
MOST FREQUENTLY
RESULTS FROM
WEARING POORLY
FITTING SHOES

HAMMER TOE

This condition causes the affected toe to become
permanently bent at the joint. The most common cause is
a muscle or tendon imbalance in your foot, although it can
also be caused by injury, bunions or rheumatoid arthritis.
They usually start out as mild deformities and get worse
over time. In the earlier stages, the symptoms can often be
managed with non-invasive measures. But if left untreated,
they become more rigid and can also cause stress on the
ball of your foot, leading to pain in the front of your foot.

TREATMENT

WORDS: JAMES JENSON | PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY IMAGES

Non-surgical options, such as corn and callous pads, and
orthotic insoles to help balance the muscle or tendon
imbalance, can ease discomfort. Pain can be relieved
by corticosteroid injections into the toe. Surgery is
usually considered for more severe cases.

INGROWN TOENAILS

An ingrown toenail (onychocryptosis) usually affects the
big toe and develops when the sides of the nail grow into
surrounding skin, or the skin grows over the side of the nail,
causing inflammation, redness and pain. If left untreated,
an ingrown toenail can become infected.

TREATMENT

When you trim your toenails, always cut straight across
the nail, as this helps prevent it digging into the
surrounding skin. As with many other foot problems, your
shoes are the key, so wear comfortable shoes which aren't
too tight around your toes. Surgery is considered in more
severe cases and involves either removing a section of the
affected toenail (partial nail avulsion) or removing the
whole nail.
Partial nail avulsion is 98% effective and is the most
common surgical procedure for this problem. It is
performed under local anaesthetic. Your toenail is made
narrower by cutting away its edges, so there is less chance of
it digging painfully into the surrounding skin.

STRAINS AND SPRAINS
Most ankle sprains and strains can be treated at
home with pain eased by over-the-counter painkillers.
However, if you're worried it may be something more
serious than a sprain and might, in fact, be broken,
you'll need to visit your local A&E department where it
will be X-rayed to determine the extent of the damage.
An ankle sprain occurs when your ankle rolls
outwards and your foot rolls inwards, causing the
ligaments around your foot to tear or stretch.

TREATMENT
For a sprained ankle, it's important that for the first 72
hours, you avoid Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage
- it helps to remember this as HARM. These will all
increase bleeding and swelling and could make the
injury - not to mention the pain - a lot worse.
You then need to adopt PRICE therapy: Protection,
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. For the first 48
to 72 hours, apply ice to the injury for 15 minutes every
two to three hours. Keep your ankle compressed using
a compression bandage or elasticated tubing (both
available from pharmacies) and elevate your foot
above your heart in order to reduce swelling.
After this time, you'll need to move the joint as much
as you can as this will speed up healing. Don't move it
to the extent it causes you significant pain, though.
If you have a sprained ankle, avoid driving until
strength and mobility has returned.
For an ankle strain, you're likely to be told by your
doctor to keep your ankle immobilised for a few days.
You may be given a splint to aid this. Keeping the
injured muscle still for this time allows it to heal more
quickly, without the risk of tearing or pulling it further.
Physiotherapy can help speed up the recovery process
and get you back on the move again.

www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2017 | 149



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