Do you know it is estimated that you are more likely to walk around 70,000 miles by the age of 50. Being an evolutionary marvel, your feet experience a lot of wear and tear throughout life which attracts so many foot problems.
Keep reading to find out how to identify and treat common foot problems.
Your foot comprises of 33 joints, 26 bones, more than 100 muscles, tendons, ligaments which keeps your weight in motion. One more interesting fact about human foot is that they have more sweat glands than any other part of your body.
Being an integral part, your feet carry higher risk of injury than any other body part. Many common foot problems like blisters, corns, bunions, hammertoes etc; are caused by mainly the selection of wrong shoes, negligence, wear & tear.
Pain in your feet could also be the sign of a systematic problem like Gout that hits your joints first.
So here is the list of some common foot problems and how can you identify and treat them.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that develops in a moist, dark warm environment. It affects the gap between finger and bottoms of the feet. White Scaly rash, inflamed skin & red base are the common signs of the athlete’s foot. Itching and burning is common in Athlete’s foot also known as tinea pedis. While sometimes you may feel a slight odor.
One can reduce down the risk of tinea pedis by keeping the feet dry and clean. Changing shoes and especially the socks regularly and never walking barefoot in public locker rooms & showers could help a lot.
To treat athlete’s foot antifungal creams, sprays, powder can be used. You can also use the spray and powder inside your shoes to destroy any lingering fungus.
If the above said remedies don’t work, you may need to see a doctor. If untreated, the infection can migrate to other parts of the body. This could transmit to other people through shared towels, gym mats, shared floors etc;
You may have hammertoes, if your second, third or fourth toe is crossed and bent in the middle of the joint, or pointing at an odd angle. The main thing responsible for the formation of hammertoe is the ill-fitting shoes.
In addition to that, there are more likely chances of getting corns and calluses caused by the pressing of hammertoes inside the shoes.
Wearing roomier and more comfortable shoes with inserts or foot pads is advisable by doctors for those whose toe is still flexible.
While if the toe becomes fixed in bent position, than you may need surgery.
The soft pockets of raised skin filled with clear fluid that can burst easily on a rub and are found on your feet are called blisters. The main cause of blisters to appear is the friction between the skin of the foot and the inside of your shoes. This is why having a good pair of shoe is really important.
If blisters develop, it is best to not burst them and let them break on their, even, if you face problem while walking. Simply cover it with a bandage and let it burst naturally.
If the blister bursts, apply an antibiotic ointment with a bandage to prevent infection and to heal.
You can prevent blisters by wearing comfortable size shoes with socks.
People with diabetes need to be more precautious as they are more prone to infection. In this case or some other health condition where a person is more prone to infection, should consult a doctor before treating on their own.
You might have noticed some people with a bony bump at the base of the big-toe joint. This is called as bunion. This change also turn the big toe to turn inward, towards smaller toes.
Arthitis, congenital deformities, heredity or wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe are the most possible reasons of bunion. The condition of bunion could be more severe with women wearing high heels and constrictive shoes.
To treat bunion doctors advise to wear wider shoes, padded shoe inserts and pain relievers. If these methods don’t work then surgery may be recommended to bring back the big toe to its normal position.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses form after rubbing against a bony area of the foot repeatedly. The reason that doctors give usually is by the shoes that don’t fit well.
Corns can develop on the tops and sides of your toes as well as between your toes, while calluses appear on the bottoms of the feet. It can be really painful and hard to walk on carrying these compressed patches of dead skin cells.
Treatment of corns and calluses could be done at home. Soak the affected area in warm water and let the skin soften. You can use wet pumice stone or emery board to remove the dead skin. Do it gently as removing too much skin is not at all advisable, as it could lead to pain by bleeding and may also cause the infection.
Moisturizing cream or lotion can also be placed over corns and calluses and surrounding skin to soften the skin over time.
For those whom the above said treatment does not work, Placing moleskin or padding around corns and calluses is recommended by podiatrist to relieve pain.
A common foot problem among runners and other athletes of all levels, plantar fasciitis comes with pain and stiffness in the foot with no visual signs or symptoms. In this foot problem, the “fascia”ligament that connect the ball of the foot to the heel becomes inflamed or even torn due to the overuse injury.
This tightness in the mid part of the foot can be reduced by the physical therapy where the stretching exercises are done. To relieve pain cold compress is advised by the podiatrist with recommendation of wearing a splint at night to stretch the foot. Very few percentage of people require surgery to cure and are mainly treated by the stretching exercises.
Ingrown toenail is a foot problem caused by the shoes that are mainly short and press your toes together in a manner that it curves your toenails.
To prevent ingrown toenails, do proper toenail clipping. If the corners are left improperly, that can dig into your skin, causing pain & infection.
To cure an ingrown toenail, you can go for soaking your toe in warm water for 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a day and putting small part of dental floss or cotton under the ingrown edge of the nail to let it grow, away from the skin.
If this doesn’t help you or having diabetes, you should see a doctor, who can inspect it and either remove the ingrown nail or lift it up as per the condition.
Claw Toes and Mallet Toes
From the picture you can see how a person’s foot look with a claw toe.It curls upwards at the joint, making the toe look curved. People with claw toes are more prone to corns and calluses.
Due to the tight shoes clawtoe develops in a person’s foot. Another reason is damaged nerve, caused by the diabetes or other conditions resulting into weakening of foot muscles.
Usually starts with big toe joint, gout is a type of arthiritis responsible for hot, red, swollen joints and more painful painful at touch.
Gout is formed by a buildup of uric acid in joint tissues and joint fluid. This happens when the body fails to keep uric acid levels in control.
Uric acid crystallizes with temperature changes, and the toes are the body’s coolest parts, this is why gout starts from the big toe joint.
You can help reduce your risk of gout attacks by making changes to your diet. This involves cutting down the foods that lead to a rise in uric acid, like red meat, seafood, pulses and alcohol, particularly beer.
Body weight also plays an important role in preventing from gout attacks.
Drinking water to keep hydrated and staying in bed is considered to be helpful if, you are in the in the midst of a gout attack. On frequent attacks, you can consult a rheumatologist to manage the condition.
Medication are given to control the production of body’s uric acid level and to relieve pain.
A foot problem caused by the fungus, that forms after damage to the nail. A deformed and unattractive nails can be seen once the fungus hits the toenail. This does not stop just here, it can also spread to other nails.
The possible reasons for toenail fungus are ill-fiting shoes, overstress caused by hiking or running resulting in pressed or lift nails . Another reason can be after a pedicure.
Protein in the nail bed attracts the fungus towards it, and feet which lies down inside your shoes most of the day, are the best place for it, as fungus develops in a moist, dark and warm environment.
Fungus comes back often times, even after complete treatment. Anti-fungal medication described by the doctors sometimes becomes necessary part in completing the curing process.
Sesamoiditis is a type of inflammation in the sesamoids bones of the foot, where tendons connect to help bend your big toe.
It develops when the sesamoids are injured or inflamed, often in particular sports activities like ballet or playing catcher in baseball.
To treat sesamoiditis you can rest you feet by using ice or heat, compression bandage can also be used to support the feet. You may also take Pain relievers to reduce down the pain.
Stone bruise/ Metatarsalgia
Stone bruise or metatarsalgia is a conditionin which the area between your toes and arch may feel sharp pain, feel numb or tingly or may even feel like you have pebble in your shoe. Metatarsalgia increases over time.
This condition is caused by poor-fitting shoes, hardcore exercises etc;
To treat stone bruise you may find comfortable fitting shoes. Rest your feet by applying ice to them, you can also use pain relievers to reduce down the pain.
Podiatrist should be consulted if the pain rise.