Top ten foot problems

1. Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the long band of connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. Heel spurs are bony overgrowths on the heel bone. Painful steps first thing in the morning are common to 83.5 % of patients with plantar fasciitis or heel spur.

2. Bunion

Bunions are an enlargement at the base of the big toe, caused by a misalignment of the joint. They tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot. Surgery is frequently recommended.

3. Ingrown Toenail

When nail corners dig painfully into the skin, they have become ingrown. They are caused by improper nail trimming, as well as by shoe pressure, tight socks/stockings, injury, fungus infection, heredity and poor foot structure. Women are 50% more likely to have ingrown toenails than men. Trim nails straight across and select proper shoe sizes and styles to help prevent them.

4. Athlete’s Foot and Onychomycosis

Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin characterized by itching, scaling, redness and the formation of small blisters. In general, the lesions start between the toes and can extend to the borders and bottom of the foot. The fungus has the potential to spread to the toenails, causing them to become thickened, discolored and painful. In this case the infection is called onychomycosis. A warm, dark and humid environment encourages fungal growth. The infection can be picked up anywhere where bare feet come in contact with the fungus. A podiatrist may prescribe anti-fungal medications to treat athlete’s foot.

5. Corn or Callus

A corn or callus is a build-up of skin that forms at points of pressure or over bony prominences on your foot. Calluses form under the foot; corns form on top of the foot or between the toes. They afflict 37 out of 1,000 men, and 91 out of 1,000 women. Wearing supportive shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel helps alleviate them.

6. Hammertoe

When a toe is bent in a claw-like position, usually because of a muscle imbalance, it is called a hammertoe. Selecting shoes and socks that do not cramp the toes will avoid aggravating the condition.

7. Flat Foot/Fallen Arches

A flat foot is a structural deformity that causes the lowering of the arch of the foot. Painful fallen arches or high arches may need treatment such as custom orthotics or surgery. People with flat feet may have ankle, knee or low back pain.

8. Plantar Warts

Warts invade the skin through small cuts and abrasions. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses, which are layers of dead skin that build up on an area of the foot that is constantly irritated. Warts, however, are caused by viral infections. They can be painful, particularly if they develop on weight-bearing areas. The virus thrives in moist, warm areas, which is why infection is common at bathing facilities.

9. Neuroma

A neuroma is an enlarged benign growth of nerves, commonly between the third and fourth toes. This can result in pain, burning, tingling or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Poorly fitting shoes, high heels, trauma and heredity can all be causes.

10. Achilles Tendonitis

Athletes who over train or don’t do warm-up exercises can experience an irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone. It can be treated with ice, rest, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications. Chronic pain or any swelling should be professionally evaluated.