Did you know the average person takes about 10,000 steps every day? That is a lot of stress on your feet! When you consider the array of surfaces and inclines that people walk on, you can imagine why foot problems are a common complaint among us all.
We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Corns tend to be smaller than calluses and are the hard center is surrounded by irritated skin. While corns can be found on the bottom of the foot where pressure is usually applied, it is more common that you find corns on the tops and sides of your toes and even between your toes. When pressure is applied, corns can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Calluses, on the other hand, don’t usually cause pain. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses vary in size and shape and are often larger than corns.
Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. Pressure can begin to weigh heavy on the toes as you wear shoes which is where pain and other symptoms develop. Hammertoes typically begin with small symptoms and deformities and continue to worsen with time. In its beginning stages, hammertoes are often impressionable which means they can be controlled using minimal treatment. It is important to know the signs of hammertoes to get them evaluated early. If left untreated, hammertoes can become more firm and difficult to manipulate, requiring surgery.
Diabetic Foot Care
Daily preventative care can help you decrease your risk of developing these other serious conditions like ulcers and infections. Inspecting your feet at the end of the day to look for any abnormalities, maintaining proper hygiene, keeping your feet warm in cold weather, encouraging blood flow in the feet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can discourage other conditions from developing.
Plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus and cause tiny cuts and breaks on the bottom of your feet.
While most plantar warts are not a major health concern, it is advised you see a doctor to have the warts examined and removed. Some symptoms include small, rough lesions on the base of the foot, calluses in one spot, and tenderness when walking or standing for long periods of time.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
Chronic ankle instability is usually caused by repeated ankle sprains and is described as the gradual giving way of the outside of the ankle. Some symptoms of ankle instability include constant inflammation or swelling, tenderness, and instability in the ankle. After a sprained ankle, the ligaments become stretched and torn. Proper rehabilitation is required to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and rehabilitate the tissues within the ankle that affect your balance. In addition, physical therapy, medications, and bracing can help treat chronic ankle instability. Failure to do so may result in repeated ankle sprains, or possibly surgery.
Flat foot is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened which causes the sole of the foot to touch the floor when standing upright. It is likely for flat feet to be caused by the arches not fully developing during childhood and is considered a very common and painless condition. On the other hand, flat feet can occur after an injury or from the normal aging process.
While it is common not to experience any pain or symptoms of flat feet, some people do tend to sense pain in the heel or arch area. Physical activity can irritate the area and inflame the foot along the inside of the ankle. This can be caused by the tendon that is supporting the arch being stretched as it is depreciating.
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a specific type of fungal infection that typically begins between the toes. A common cause of athlete’s foot is sweaty feet that are confined to tight shoes for a long period of time. Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. Athlete’s foot is contagious and should be carefully monitored and treated. Athlete’s foot can easily be treated with antifungal medications, but the infection is likely to recur. Prescription medications also are available.
Achilles tendinitis is caused by overuse of the band of tissues that connects the lower region of your calf muscle to your heel bone, also known as your Achilles tendon. Those at a higher risk for Achilles tendinitis are runners engaging in intense training or middle-aged people who participate in sports on occasion.
A neuroma can occur in many areas of the body when nerve tissue thickens. Morton’s neuroma is the most typical neuroma that occurs in the foot and it occurs between the third and fourth toes. Also known as an intermetatarsal neuroma, the name describes its location in the ball of the foot.
Compression and irritation typically cause the nerve tissue to thicken. This pressure creates inflammation of the nerve, ultimately causing untreatable damage to the nerves in the foot.
Geriatric Foot Care
As we age, foot problems are almost inevitable and completely normal. However, there are important steps to take to make sure you stay on your feet.
Health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory issues may cause problems that present themselves in the feet. It is very important to monitor your foot health and seek medical attention whenever you notice a problem. Below are some daily tips and tricks to keep your feet healthy.
A sprained ankle occurs when you twist your ankle in an abnormal way causing the ligaments holding your ankle bones together to stretch or tear. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although you may just need proper rest and pain medications to heal, it is important to have the sprain looked at by a professional to determine the severity and proper treatment.
Fungal infections in the toe or fingernails can appear as thickened, discolored, or disfigured. While it may seem like the condition is just an aesthetic concern, fungal infections can lead to worsened symptoms and pain. Diabetes, a weakened immune system, and the normal aging process are all causes associated with fungal infections. It is more likely for senior citizens and adults to develop a fungal infection as opposed to children.
As a result of damaged peripheral nerves, peripheral neuropathy can occur causing symptoms like weakness, numbness, burning, and tingling in the hands and feet as well as other parts of the body. Traumatic injuries, diabetes, and even some exposure to toxins can cause peripheral nerve damage.
Once damage to nerves occurs, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are gradual and worsen with time. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to aid in the prevention of damage to those specific nerves.
Often we associate arthritis with older patients who have lived an active lifestyle. Gout, on the other hand, can affect anyone. Gout is a common form of arthritis that is known for its sudden attacks of pain and joint tenderness. Joints that are affected by gout are often hot to the touch, swollen, and very tender. While symptoms are not chronic, it is essential to take preventative measures to manage gout as its side effects can be debilitating and intolerable.
The foot and ankle are highly specialized structures that absorb the weight of the body and enable us to move. Experts estimate that the force and pressure on your feet when walking can be up to two times your body weight. This pressure can increase with more vigorous movements such as running and jumping. With so much pressure on your feet and ankles, they undergo a lot of wear and tear throughout your life and are highly susceptible to injury and trauma.
The foot and ankle are a complex system of bones, ligaments, muscles, and joints that provide the structure and stability we need to move freely. If any of these components become compromised or weakened due to injury, overuse, degenerative conditions, or sprains, it can significantly impact your foot’s ability to move and function properly.
For those struggling with foot and ankle pain, it is important that you seek medical attention for a proper evaluation. Our orthopedic physicians are highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating all facets of foot and ankle pain or injury. After a thorough examination, we can begin to craft a customized treatment plan that will take your unique needs and lifestyle into account.
Pediatric Foot Conditions
Pediatric foot conditions often go unnoticed and are often misdiagnosed. Most doctors dismiss any pediatric foot issues as being a part of normal structural development that children will eventually outgrow. However, foot problems are often prevalent in children due to their high levels of physical activity. Children are resilient, meaning that any potential foot issues may be overlooked.
To recognize any abnormal pediatric foot developments, we will analyze your child’s ankles, arches of the feet, and inquire about any instances of cramping. It is crucial to send your child to an experienced, licensed pediatric podiatrist, in order to treat the problem at its early stages. If your child continues to grow leaving any potential foot conditions untreated, more serious conditions could develop.
Initial treatment options for pediatric foot pain, deformities, or injuries include minimally invasive techniques, activity modification, custom orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medications. If these conservative treatment options aren’t helping your child, surgery may be required.
During your child’s appointment, we will conduct a thorough examination to pinpoint the problem, while educating both you and your child on future preventative measures. Our goal is for your child to grow up with happy, healthy, and perfectly functioning feet.
Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain in the ball of the foot—the area between your arch and toes. The area under your toes can be a common source of pain because it supports your weight when standing, walking, or running. Metatarsalgia is described as painful swelling that occurs in the ball of the foot. The pain can feel like a tingling or numbness, or sharp shooting or burning pain. You may feel pain in a small area under your toes, or it can be felt across the whole width of the foot. Symptoms should be caught early since the condition worsens over time.
This condition can be irritated by standing for a long period of time, stretching your foot, or walking barefoot or with minimal support. Intense exercise like running or jumping can also worsen the symptoms. A few ways to manage the pain is to wear cushioned footwear that supports the arches of your feet and resting your feet regularly. If you participate in high-impact sports or run, consider taking breaks for a few days or weeks. Try low-impact activities like swimming or cycling until the symptoms are alleviated.
If you have questions about Metatarsalgia or would like to request an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!