common foot conditions

Common foot conditions including plantar fasciitis, heel and arch pain, bunions and hammer toes.

achilles tendonitis

If your calf muscles ache or the back of your heel and ankle is swollen or tight, you may be suffering from a common condition known as Achilles Tendonitis.

This injury is caused by overuse of the large tendon that connects the calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. When overused, the Achilles tendon can get irritated, painful, stiff and swollen.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Proper foot support to reduce excessive stretching.
  • Wear shoes with adequate support.
  • Decrease, or in severe cases suspend physical activity.
  • Avoid uphill climbs.
  • Apply ice after activity.
  • Avoid excessive stretching which can worsen the condition.
  • Add arch supports to shoes.
  • Raise the heel with heel cups, cradles, or slightly higher shoes.

bunions

Bunions are a very common condition that affects women significantly more than men due to poorly fitted footwear.

A bony protrusion that can occur at the base of the big toe joint, a bunion can cause friction and pain when wearing shoes. If not treated successfully, a bunion can lead to the big toe resting under or over the second toe, often called a hammer toe.

Treatment suggestions:

  • In early stages of bunion formation, soak feet in warm water.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes such as rocker soled shoes to relieve pressure.
  • Wear bunion shields to limit progression and pain.
  • Choose shoes with a high, wide toe box.
  • Add arch supports to your shoes.
  • Wear night splints.
  • Surgery may be necessary if left untreated.

Calluses

Calluses are unattractive and sometimes painful patches of thick skin on your feet that form when dead skin cells harden and thicken over an area of the foot, usually the ball, the heel or big toe.

This buildup is our body’s defense against excessive pressure and friction. Eliminating the source of the friction or pressure is the first step in treatment.

Don’t trim or cut calluses yourself, as it can make the condition worse. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, call your doctor because the condition can lead to an infection that may be more difficult to treat.

Treatment Suggestions:

  • Stop the pressure and friction causing calluses.
  • Choose properly fitted shoes, specifically ones that absorb shock.
  • Wear toe separators.
  • Lose excess body weight.
  • Add arch supports to redistribute press

corns

Toe corns are the small bumps on your toes that seem impossible to remove.

Foot and toe corns, the irritating bumps that usually appear on the sides or tops of your toes, are one common result of shoe friction. Similar to calluses, they develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells on the foot, forming thick, hardened areas. They contain a cone-shaped core whose point can press on a nerve below, causing pain.

Toe corns are very common and can become inflamed due to constant friction and pressure from footwear.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Wear properly fitted footwear with extra room in the toe box area.
  • Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose.
  • Avoid tight socks and stockings.
  • Custom-fitted, custom-crafted and over-the-counter orthotic arch supports.
  • Gel sleeves, gel caps, and other foot accessories to protect painful corns from continued friction inside a shoe.

Note: Diabetics and all other individuals with poor circulation should never use any chemical agents to remove corns.

diabetic foot

Diabetes affects approximately 16 million Americans and is classified into two different types: Type 1 and Type two.

Type 1 is usually associated with juvenile diabetes and is often linked to heredity.

Type two, commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, is characterized by elevated blood sugars, often in people who are overweight or have not attended to their diet properly. Diabetics must pay particular attention to their feet as they are at risk for developing complications that can lead to foot and lower leg amputation and even death.

Treatment Suggestions:

  • Inspect your feet daily, including between the toes.
  • Wash your feet daily. Dry carefully, especially between the toes.
  • Inspect the insides of your shoes.
  • Wear properly fitted shoes and socks at all times. Never go barefoot.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold.
  • Always wear seamless socks with your shoes.
  • Cut your nails straight across, using an emery board to file corners.
  • Increase blood flow to your feet by wiggling your toes and moving your ankles up and down for 5 minutes 2 or 3 times.
  • Get regular foot examinations. Call your doctor immediately if you have a cut, sore, blister or bruise that does not heal after one day.

diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from Diabetic Neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to insensitivity in their feet.

If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation.

Recommendations to help prevent Diabetic Neuropathy include:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Have regular physical exams and regular blood and urine tests.
  • Exercise regularly, according to your doctor’s recommendation.

gout

Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis.

It is characterized by severe pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in a joint, most commonly the joint at the base of the big toe although it can affect other joints such as the ankle, knee, fingers, wrist, etc.

Acute attacks often strike in the middle of the night and can be so painful that even the weight of a sheet is intolerable. Gout can affect anyone but it more commonly affects men age 40 to 50 and women after menopause. Gout is highly treatable.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Medications.
  • Modifications to diet.
  • Arch supports.
  • Rocker bottom shoes.
  • Shoes with deep, wide toe boxes and additional modifications.

hammertoes

If your toes appear crooked or bent downward you may be suffering from hammer toes, mallet toes or claw toes.

These three related conditions, which can result in limited toe motion, intense pain, calluses or corns, occur when you wear high heels or other shoes that are too tight in the toe box. Nerve damage or arthritis could also cause these conditions.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Choose comfortable shoes with adequate toe room and soft, flexible materials.
  • Arch supports.
  • Custom toe splints.
  • Gel toe shields and caps, hammer toe crests, splints and/or pads.

heel pain

Heel pain is a common complaint for which there are a variety of causes so it’s important to diagnose the cause of your pain.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Custom-fitted, custom-crafted orthotic arch supports.
  • Over-the-counter arch supports.
  • Cushioned heel pads.
  • Rocker bottom shoes.
  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Stretch feet and legs.
  • Ice and massage the foot.

heel spurs

A heel spur is an abnormal growth of the heel bone. The heel bone absorbs the shock and pressure of every step you take.

A heel spur is a calcium deposit that forms when the plantar fascia (a band of tissue that runs the bottom length of the foot) pulls away from the heel and a bony protrusion develops. This is called plantar fasciitis and can cause extreme heel pain, especially while standing or walking.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Stretch regularly.
  • Lose excess body weight.
  • Choose low-impact exercise.
  • Heel cradle or cup inserts for comfort and cushioning.
  • Arch supports to reduce excessive stretching.
  • Wear specialty rocker bottom shoes or shoes that absorb shock.

metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia, the medical name for pain in the ball of the foot, derives its name from the long bones of the foot or “metatarsals.”

Pain occurs when the balance between the metatarsal bones is thrown off. People who suffer from this condition often feel intense pain in the ball of the foot.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Low heels instead of high heels.
  • Properly fitted shoes that absorb shock.
  • Metatarsal inserts or pads.
  • Arch supports.

Morton's neuroma

Morton’s Neuroma is a common foot problem associated with pain and swelling of nerve tissue in the ball of the foot. It usually occurs between the 3rd and 4th toes, but also can occur between other toes.

Treatment suggestions:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine.
  • Lessen activities.
  • Wear properly fitted, supportive shoes, especially during physical activity.
  • Arch supports.
  • Metatarsal pads.

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