The human foot is highly complex. It has more than 20 bones, 30 muscles, and over 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles that are made of strong, fibrous tissues to keep the different parts moving together., The myriad parts of the foot include the heel, the toes and the ball. These parts work together to facilitate movement while enabling the foot to handle tons of weight each day.
Even so, the feet are constantly at risk of getting injured as they carry you around. As a matter of fact, most foot problems are as a result of negligence, wearing shoes that don’t fit well, as well as wear and tear. If you have foot care concerns, and are wondering about the foot ailments you’re likely to experience in your life, here are 11 of them:
1. Plantar Fasciitis
This foot concern is a common source of heel pain for people who develop it. Plantar fasciitis mostly occurs when the bottom part of the foot, known as plantar fascia, gets inflamed. The cause of this inflammation is not clear. However, there are certain risk factors that can predispose you to plantar fasciitis. These include having a high arch or a tight calf muscle, obesity, and engaging in activities, like running, that stress the heel repetitively. The most common signs of plantar fasciitis include pain at the bottom of the heal. The pain tends to be more intense in the morning as you get out of bed and during physical activities.
To ease the pain, doctors recommend home remedies, such as applying ice to keep inflammation low and resting the feet. Patients can also reduce heel pain by stretching their feet prior to taking physical activities, as well as after. Wearing supportive shoes may also reduce the pain caused by this condition.
In some instances, anti-inflammatory drugs, like naproxen sodium and ibuprofen, are prescribed to manage the pain. Where no improvements are registered, podiatrists often recommend that patients be placed under physical therapy. On very rare occasions, steroid injections are used to reduce inflammation. More often, Protalus insoles for plantar fasciitis can help reduce pain.
This foot abnormality is characterized by the development of a bump on the joint of the big toe. Often, bunions result from wearing narrow or tight shoes. Due to limited space in the shoes, the big toe tends to turns inwardly, increasing the likelihood of developing bunions, or what doctors call hallux valgus. Often, women tend to be more prone to bunions than men. This is due to the pressure that develops on the joint, known as metatarsophalangeal. This is the point where the foot bone connects with the big toe bone.
Bunions tend to be genetic. People who have a family history of this condition are more predisposed to the condition. Furthermore, the chances of developing bunions increase in persons who struggled with conditions like polio and rheumatoid arthritis. The most common signs of bunions include tenderness of the big toe, appearance of a visible bump on the foot side, and appearance of a corn or callus hist beneath the toe. People who have bunion may experience difficulties in moving the toe, as well as during walking.
Bunions may disappear by themselves as soon as one begins to wear well-fitting shoes that have no heels. To enhance comfort, it’s advisable that one uses bunion pads to avoid adding more pressure to the toe. Application of ice on a bunion can help in relieving the pain associated with bunions. Podiatrists often recommend that people who have bunion get customized shoe inserts to allow the big space to heal. Surgery may be conducted on people whose bunions don’t heal. Make sure to read more about getting foot treatment before considering one.
3. Athlete’s Foot
This is a common fungal skin infection that develops as a result of stepping on damp areas. Athlete’s foot is highly contagious and mostly attacks the space between the toes. Some common signs of this foot concern include itching, discomfort, cracking, and pain. People who have this condition also tend to experience peeling and blistering of the feet.
Most people contract athlete’s foot in shared spaces, like showers, gyms, or the swimming pools, where different people walk barefoot. You can also develop athlete’s foot if you wear damp, warm shoes that support fast growth of fungus. From the feet, athlete’s foot can spread to other skin parts, including the scalp, hands, and even groin.
4. Heel Spur
This is a foot condition that develops as a result of calcium outgrowth that occurs between the arch of the foot and the heel bone. Even so, majority of people who develop this condition don’t show any signs. However, for those who do, the common symptoms are inflammation and pain. The main cause of heel spur is prolonged straining of feet ligaments and muscles. Also, the condition may be caused by excess weight, arthritis, and wearing worn out or poorly fitting shoes.
As a foot condition, heel spur is not easy to diagnose. As such, medical imagery is required to confirm that a patient is suffering from the condition. Patients who develop this condition are treated using anti-inflammatory drug injections, orthotic shoe inserts, cold compress, feet rest, and over-the-counter medications.
5. Feet Blisters
Another common foot concern that you may experience in your lifetime is foot blisters. These result from friction between your foot skin and the inner parts of your shoes. They’re characterized by soft raised skin pockets that are full of clear fluid. There are several things you can do to prevent blisters from developing. These include wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and socks.
In case you develop blisters on your feet, don’t prick them open, even if they cause you pain and make it difficult for you to walk. Rather, allow them to break on their own. The best thing to do is to place a bandage over them and leave them to burst naturally. Once they burst, consider applying an antibiotic ointment or keep them covered with a bandage. This will prevent infection and accelerate healing.
In most instances, foot blisters don’t require the intervention of a medical doctor. However, if you are diabetic or have an underlying medical condition that makes you vulnerable to infections, consider consulting your doctor before treating foot blisters on your own.
Though not a foot condition as such, gout affects the feet and is a condition that you may experience in your lifetime. This kind of arthritis develops following accumulation of uric acid in the joint fluid and tissues in the feet. Often, this happens when your body is not able to control the levels of uric acid. The uric acid tends to build up in the joint of the big toe. This is largely because the toes are the coolest part of the body and uric acid tends to crystallize as temperatures change.
A gout attack is pretty easy to detect. It’s often characterized by redness and swelling of the big toe joint where it connects with the foot. The toe feels hot and is extremely painful when touched. There are several things you can do to keep your chances of developing gout low. These include avoiding foods like seafood, red meat, and beer that cause the levels of uric acid in your body to spike. Keeping your body weight within range can also go a long way in keeping gout attacks at bay.
If you have a gout attack, ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking water regularly and taking time to rest. Even so, frequent gout attacks require the intervention of a doctor. In most instances, the doctor will prescribe medications to control production of uric acid in the body and reduce pain. It’s important to note that gout can shift to other body joints from the foot. In case this happens, your movement can be affected severely, hence, the need to treat it completely.
7. Claw Foot
Commonly known as claw toe, this foot concern occurs when the big toe joint faces up and the second toe faces down. There are instances when this condition is notable at birth. However, in other occasions, it just appears. Besides the appearance, claw foot is known to cause pain in some patients who develop it, while others exhibit no discomfort at all. In some people, claw foot is an indication of other health conditions, such as cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Claw foot is often treated though medications, splints, physical exercises, and the use of proper shoes. In extreme cases, surgery is conducted to fix claw foot.
8. Foot Corns
This foot concern is characterized by round circles of thick skin appearing on the sole of your feet on your toes. Often, foot corns are naturally formed by your body to keep blisters form forming on your feet. They may also form as a result of bunions, hammer toe, and poor fitting shoes. In most instances, foot corns do not feel painful immediately. However, you’ll begin to experience irritation over time and require treatment. Foot corns are pretty easy to treat with over counter medications, such as corn plasters that aid in relieving pressure to enhance healing. In very serious cases, doctors may recommend surgical procedures to remove them.
9. Ingrown Toenail
This foot concern is characterized by the growth of toenails in the skin that surrounds them. The main cause of ingrown toenails is curved nails, compressed toes, toe injuries, or poor trimming of toenails. Some people may inherit ingrown toenails from their family. Ingrown toenails may be mild or severe.
In mild conditions, the condition causes discomfort and the skin around the nail is pretty tender. Treating this form of ingrown toenail is pretty easy and can be done at home through the use of topical antibiotics, pain relievers, and warm soaks. On the other hand, severe cases of ingrown toenails are unable to heal by themselves. They may have pus due to infection, causing you much pain, bleeding, and redness. The best way to treat such ingrown toenails is to see a doctor. In very extreme cases, a surgical procedure may be used to get rid of the ingrown toenail.
10. Diabetic Neuropathy
If you’re diabetic, you may experience diabetic neuropathy in your life. This is a combination of feet conditions that diabetic patients are prone to due to blood sugar fluctuations. High levels of blood sugar can cause nerve damage over time, particularly in the feet. Risk factors such as alcoholism, smoking, and a family history of diabetic neuropathy can worsen the nerve damage. The most common signs of this foot condition are tingling, painful feet, and numbness.
The risk for these is higher if you have injuries or cuts in the feet. The most effective way to treat diabetic neuropathy is to control blood sugar levels and maintain good health. Though there is little that doctors can do to reverse nerve damage, there are treatments they can recommend to keep it from worsening. Working your feet, getting them checked regularly, and having your toenails trimmed professionally can go a long way in lowering the risk of developing diabetic neuropathy.
Also referred to as stone bruises, this foot concern can result from wearing poorly fitting shoes or engaging in high-impact physical activities. This foot condition causes the area between the foot arch and the toes to feel numb. Patients who have stone bruises may also experience sharp pains occasionally.
If not addressed, these symptoms can get worse with time. In some instances, a stone bruise can be a pointer to an underlying medical condition. To relieve metatarsalgia, patients are encouraged to rest their feet as much as possible and wear well-fitting shoes. Patients can experience relief from the pain associated with stone bruises by applying ice packs. If these remedies fail and the condition worsens, it’s critical to seek medical attention.
Your feet are an integral part of your life, and as you go through life, you’re likely to experience some foot problems. While most people are prone to experiencing the feet problems discussed above, those with underlying conditions are more predisposed to certain conditions than those who don’t.