The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NYC Podiatrist Discuss the Most Common Foot Problems

Posted by on Friday, November 16th, 2018


The majority of Americans suffer from some type of foot pain, ranging from blisters to ulcers. Most problems are easily treated by podiatrists through conservative measures, but there are some troubles only corrected through surgery. No one wants to undergo an operation, but quality of life can be so much better for people with three of the most common foot problems: debilitating bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas.

most common foot problems
No one wants to undergo an operation, but quality of life can be so much better for people with three of the most common foot problems. [Image Source: Unsplash user Julie Johnson]

A Solution to the Most Common Foot Problems

1. Bunions

Bunions are bony outcrops that protrude from the base of the big toe. Bunionettes may also extend from the base of the little toe. While it’s true that wearing shoes with tight toe boxes can contribute to the development of a bunion, the deformity tends to run in families. If detected very early, bunion progression can be slowed with padding or shoe inserts, but surgery is the only true way to correct the anatomical issue. Surgical approaches vary. With osteotomy, the big toe joint is cut and soft tissues are realigned. In an exostectomy, the bunion is sawed away, without alignment. In arthrodesis, the damaged joint is replaced with an implant and/or hardware to correct the deformity. Minor surgeries will require about two weeks to heal, while more extensive surgeries may require six to eight weeks.

2. Hammertoe

A hammertoe is a deformity in the middle joint of a toe caused by weakened muscles or tendons. The toes tend to cross over one another horizontally instead of extending straight outward, which can impair walking. Hammertoes can be present at birth, caused by arthritis, or aggravated by high heel shoes. Gentle stretching can alleviate pain and stiffness, but surgery is the best option for true correction. For a flexible hammertoe, tendons are cut or transferred to re-align the toe. For a rigid or fixed hammertoe, a joint resection is done with an incision over the top of the toe, cutting ligaments and tendons to straighten the toe. Fusion surgery is another option, where the end of the bone is removed to allow for straightening, and the alignment is kept through temporary pins, which are then removed in about a month. Hammertoe surgery is done on an outpatient basis under general or local anesthesia. You can expect complete healing in about eight weeks.

3. Neuroma of the Foot

Pinched nerves between the third and fourth toe cause burning, tingling pain on the ball of the foot. Repetitive pounding is the most common culprit behind neuromas, but improper footwear, trauma, and biomechanical deformities cause a neuroma, too. Permanent numbness can result if you are not diligent about seeking care. At home, you can ice to reduce swelling, but surgery to remove the affected portion of the nerve is the best way to get over the pain. Recovery is quicker, as the bones are not disturbed. You can expect to be walking in a post-surgery shoe in three to four weeks.

Choose the Best Foot Surgeons in NYC

You’re in good hands at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City. Our founder, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert has nearly 50 years of surgical experience, particularly in three of the most common areas of foot surgery. We speak English, Spanish, and Russian languages to help a broad range of patients coming through our doors.

Our recognized professionals have operating privileges at esteemed area hospitals like Beth Israel, Mt. Sinai, Montefiore, and White Plains Hospital. We don’t simply operate on you and forget about you! We spend considerable time counseling each and every patient with kindness and compassion, schedule routine follow-up appointments, and oversee comprehensive rehabilitation programs designed to get you back to all the activities you love as quickly as possible, without sacrificing your health.

Through the latest surgical techniques and technologies, we provide state-of-the-art care. Contact us to schedule a consultation—no referral necessary!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.