9 Common Foot Problems and How to Treat Them


Our feet need care as much as other body parts therefore we need to learn about some common foot problems and how to treat them. We are going to look at the condition, the causes, presenting symptoms and the treatment options putting you in a better position to deal with the condition.

A human foot has 33 joints, 26 bones and 42 muscles connected by over 50 tendons and ligaments. This set-up is what enables you to move about as the foot also supports your full body weight. The foot endures a lot of pressure on a daily basis bearing the body weight therefore foot care is quite necessary though it often gets overlooked.

Some of the most common foot problems that you can face include the following:

1) Corns and Calluses

A callus or corn refers to a hardened and thickened skin area that develops when the skin is exposed to excess pressure and or friction. The two are commonly treated as one but they differ slightly. A corn is a tiny circle of thick skin having a central body pointing. Corns can be highly tender and are commonly situated on bony prominences due to lack of natural cushioning. A callus is a yellow rough region that can affect the feet almost anywhere but most commonly, the ball and heel. A seed corn however, refers to multiple small corns which accumulate in large numbers under a callus patch. Some of the common symptoms of calluses and corns include pain and a bump on the skin.

Causes:

. Wearing ill-fitting and high heel shoes
. Standing for long
. Structural foot deformities

Treatment:

. Wearing comfortable shoes
. Using silicon inserts and or insoles
. Padding the feet
. Debridement and surgical procedures such as excision and desiccation using anaesthesia(long term solution)

The treatment of corns and calluses using OTC drugs can be harmful if you suffer from diabetes or you have poor circulation. This is because they contain acids which damage the tissue rather than treating the underlying issue.

2) Dry Cracked Heels

The skin on the heels of the foot is thicker than any other skin on the body. This is because the skin is designed to specifically withstand heavy impact and pressure. The thickness however, makes it more prone to scaling and cracking. Cracked heels are unsightly to the eye and can also be painful. If the condition is left untreated, it can go deeper into the foot affecting the tissues and leading to bleeding and infections. Common symptoms of the condition include itchiness, redness, pain, peeling skin, and corns and calluses.

Causes:

. Dehydration
. Long soaking in hot baths
. Medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid and kidney diseases

Treatment:

. Foot filing and scrubbing
. Regular foot slathering using salves such as CeraVe and Aveeno Active Natural skin relief healing ointments

If the condition persists, you can visit a chiropodist for medical advice.

3) Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection. The fungus is found in the spaces between the toes. The spaces are usually warm and humid providing an ideal environment for fungi. The condition can spread to other parts of the body if not dealt with properly. Symptoms of the condition include inflammation, a white scaly rash, redness, slight odour and pain.

Causes:

. Wearing tight and damp shoes
. Body microbiome imbalance
. Poor immune system
. Contact with infected people and items

Treatment:

. Antifungal creams and powders such as Zeasorb A F skin care powder
. Topical and oral antifungal medication depending on the severity of the condition
. Maintain the feet clean and dry to prevent further disease progression

You should check with your doctor first to confirm if you are actually suffering from Athlete’s foot. The symptoms of this disease are commonly mistaken with those of either psoriasis or eczema.

4) Bunions

A bunion refers to a big bump in the joint located at the base of the big toe. The deformity causes the bigger toe to bend to the side of the little ones. Symptoms of the condition include soreness, tenderness, redness, pain and inflammation.

Causes:

. Underling instability issues
. Wearing ill-fitting shoes

Treatment:

. Proper footwear (cormfortable shoes that do not press against the bunion)
. Using shoe pads and inserts
. Applying ice on the inflamed area
. Surgery is recommended only if the bunions cause severe pain

5) Foot Pain

Pain in the foot can be due to quite a number of reasons. A common reason is as a result of Plantar Fasiitis. This is characterized by pain in the heels which is worse in the morning and improves gradually as the day goes by. Other examples include neuronal tendonitis, bursitis and osteoarthritis. Pain is the major symptom.

Treatment:

. Wearing comfortable shoes
. Pain medication
. Using the PRICE principle(P-Protection R-Rest I-Ice C-Compression E-Elevation)

It is advisable to seek further professional medical advice if the symptom persists. This will even help in identifying the underlying cause of pain.

6) Heel Spurs

Heels spurs start with an extra bone(calcium growths) forming on top of normal bones in the heels. The extra bone causes pain when pressed up against normal tissue or bone. Pain when the foot presses on the ground is a common symptom although sometimes spurs can be completely painless.

Causes:

. Tight ligaments resulting from dancing, jumping or running
. Flat feet
. Wearing ill-fitting shoes

Treatment:

. Using heel cups and pads
. Stretching exercises that ease the ligaments
. Surgery as a last mode of treatment if the condition persists

7) Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is a tissue which connects the calf muscles to the heel of the bone. The condition simply refers to inflammation of this tendon. Symptoms include pain and inflammation.

Causes:

. Tightening of the calves by running
. Intense calf involving sports such as basketball and tennis

Treatment:

. Rest
. Serious cases causing the tendon to rupture will require surgery

8) Involute/Ingrown Toe Nails

Involute toe nails occur when a piece of nail(commonly the sides or corners)cuts into the skin causing infections. The condition commonly affects the big toe and happens if you do not cut properly your nails. Symptoms include pain, redness, swelling and infection.

Causes:

. Failing to clip the toe nails
. Fungus infection
. Poor foot structure
. Shoe pressure

Treatment:

. Leveling the nails with the top of the toe
. Medication(analgesics, antibacterials and antifungals)

9) Hammertoe

Hammertoe is caused by shortening of tendons which control toe movements. The condition causes the knuckle to enlarge thereby drawing back the toe. The joint also becomes enlarged and stiffened. This will ultimately affect your balance. Symptoms include pain, swelling and redness of the toe joint and corns forming on top of the joint.

Causes:

. Arthritis
. Ill-fitting shoes
. Tight ligaments
. Toe injuries

Treatment:

. Wearing comfortable shoes
. Using shoe pads or cushions
. Stretching exercises that ease the ligaments

Do not let these manageable conditions affect your mobility. Most of the conditions can also be treated using natural home remedies for example using apple cider vinegar, raw honey, ginger and lemon. If you have suffered any of the conditions and in turn enjoyed any effective treatment methods, you need to share the post. Your shared post might have just helped out a person suffering from the above conditions. If you have any added information, you can leave your comments below.

To get more information on the above conditions, you can access the following:

  • nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Foot-problems-a-visual-guide.aspx
  • medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=22536
  • webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-common-foot-problems

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Author Bio:

Lilly is the chief editor of ShoesTracker.com, a place where she shares the journey of regaining her foot health after exercise injuries in 2015. She lives in San Diego, besides writing Lilly loves to read, run, and go to yoga classes. Follow her Twitter @lillyderrah to find more about Lilly and her work.

 

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