15 Common Foot Problems

Foot Problems

Body:

Each of your feet consists of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 120 muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. All these work together to support the weight of your body, act as shock absorbers, keep you balanced and push you forward with each stride. Because feet are small compared to your whole body, they receive an enormous impact with each footfall. Many foot problems develop due to negligence, ill fitting shoes, and simple wear and tear.

The most common types of foot problems:

General Foot Issues

  • Bunions
    • A bunion is a painful bony bump that develops on the inside of the foot at the big toe joint. Bunions are often referred to as Hallux valgus.
    • Bunions develop slowly. Pressure on the big toe joint causes the big toe to lean toward the second toe. Over time, the normal structure of the bone changes, resulting in the bunion bump. This deformity will gradually increase and may make it painful to wear shoes or walk.
    • Anyone can get a bunion, but they are more common in women. Many women wear tight, narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together, which makes it more likely for a bunion to develop, worsen and cause painful symptoms.
    • In most cases, bunion pain is relieved by wearing wider shoes with adequate toe room and using other simple treatments to reduce pressure on the big toe.
  • Corns and Calluses
    • Corns and calluses are annoying and potentially painful conditions that form thickened areas on the skin in areas of excessive pressure. The medical term for the thickened skin that forms corns and calluses is Hyperkeratosis.
    • A callus refers to a more diffuse, flattened area of thick skin, while a corn is a thick, localized area that usually has a popular conical or circular shape.
    • Corns sometimes have a dry, waxy, or translucent appearance. A callus is also known as a tyloma.
    • Corns and calluses occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns are often painful, even when they are small.
  • Hammertoes
    • A hammertoe occurs from a muscle and ligament imbalance around the toe joint which causes the middle joint of the toe to bend and become stuck in this position. The most common complaint with Hammertoes is rubbing and irritation on the top of the bent toe.
    • Toes that may curl rather than buckle, most commonly the baby toe are also considered hammertoes.
    • The middle three toes are likely to be affected. Women are more likely to get pain associated with hammertoes than men because of shoe gear.
    • Hammertoes can be a serious problem in people with diabetes or poor circulation because they have a higher risk for infections and foot ulcers.
  • Athlete’s Foot
    • Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight fitting shoes.
    • Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread via contaminated floors, towels or clothing.
    • Athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, but the infection often recurs. Prescription medications also are available.
  • Blisters
    • Blisters on feet and toes are a common problem and a cause of foot pain.
    • A foot blister is a small, fluid filled bubble-like pocket that develops on the upper layers of skin.
    • Blisters are most commonly caused by friction, they can also occur due to things such as infection, burns and chemical exposure. They usually contain clear fluid known as plasma, but can sometimes contain blood or pus.
  • Plantar Fasciitis
    • Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.
    • Plantar fasciitis commonly causes a stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.
    • Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
  • Heel Spurs
    • A heel spur is a calcium deposit causing a bony protrusion on the underside of the heel bone. On an X-ray, a heel spur can extend forward by as much as a half inch. Without visible X-ray evidence, the condition is sometimes known as “Heel Spur Syndrome”.
  • Claw Toe
    • Claw toe also is often the result of nerve damage caused by diseases like diabetes or alcoholism, which can weaken the muscles in your foot.
    • Having claw toe means your toes “claw,” digging down into the soles of your shoes and creating painful calluses. Claw toe gets worse without treatment and may become a permanent deformity over time.
  • Morton’s Neuroma
    • Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.
    • Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.
    • High-heeled shoes have been linked to the development of Morton’s neuroma. Many people experience relief by switching to lower heeled shoes with wider toe boxes. Sometimes corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
    • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, is a painful condition of the foot caused by pressure on the posterior tibial nerve as it passes along a passage called the Tarsal Tunnel just below the bony bit on the inside of the ankle, causing a burning pain in the foot along with pins and needles and pain radiating in the arch of the foot.
  • Achilles Tendonitis
    • Achilles Tendonitis is a term that commonly refers to an inflammation of the Achilles tendon or its covering. It is an overuse injury that is common, especially to joggers and jumpers, due to the repetitive action and so may occur in other activities that requires the same repetitive action.
  • Mallet Toe
    • Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort.
  • Gout
    • Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines that are part of many foods we eat.
    • An abnormality in handling uric acid and crystallization of these compounds in the joints can cause attacks of painful arthritis, kidney stones, and blockage of the kidney filtering tubules with uric acid crystals, leading to kidney failure.
    • Gout has the unique distinction of being one of the most frequently recorded medical illnesses throughout history.
  • Ingrown Toenails
    • An Ingrown toenail is a common, often unpleasant condition frequently seen in the big toenail.
    • Athletes commonly suffer from ingrown toenails.
    • Improper shoe gear and toe injuries are frequently associated with ingrown toenails.
    • It is not unusual for an ingrown toenail to recur unless treated appropriately.
  • Toenail Fungus
    • Toenail fungus is an infection that gets in through cracks in your nail or cuts in your skin. It can make your toenail change color or get thicker. It can also hurt. Because toes are often warm and damp, fungus grows well there.
    • Different kinds of fungi and sometimes yeast affect different parts of the nail. Left untreated, an infection could spread to other toenails, skin, or even your fingernails.
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