GUIDE TO COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS

Our feet are a highly complex body part whose job it is to carry the weight of our daily activities, like walking, running, and jumping. This combination can lead to the development of various problems, such as ingrown toenails, fungus, bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and more.  These and other problems cause suffering, pain, and possible complications and affect our daily functioning. We have prepared a guide for you which includes a few of the most common foot problems, methods of identifying these, preventative methods, and various treatment methods.

Ingrown Toenails

When the nail tissue on the foot or hand grows deep into the surrounding tissue, it causes an inflammation in the region which can lead to severe pain, swelling, and redness. Overlooking the problem can lead to infection, puss, bleeding, and excess skin growth.

 

Causes of ingrown toenails include: incorrect trimming of nails, poorly fitting shoes, conditions such as diabetes, thyroid and other imbalances, obesity, genetic factors, trauma and injuries which irreversibly damage the nail’s root, and more.

 

More information on causes of ingrown toenails >>

 

To prevent these problems, it is important to ensure proper trimming of nails, wearing well-fitted and comfortable shoes. It is also important to change socks frequently and make sure they are clean and dry, drying the feet well after bathing or showering, and following safety rules to avoid injuries.

 

Home treatments are possible for ingrown toenails to relieve the situation if they are minor or in the early stages of development. Treatment includes soaking the foot in water with soap and trimming the edges of the nail carefully, soaking the foot in salt water and polydine to disinfect the area, spreading antibiotic creams on the area, bandaging, and more.

 

Home treatment is not a substitute for professional treatment by a specialist, and it is important to consult with a specialist before you begin trying to treat ingrown toenails yourself. Additionally, home treatment can offer first aid only and is not a substitute for professional treatment by a podiatrist.

 

The most efficient solution to ingrown toenails, with an almost 100% success rate, is treatment with a CO2 laser, which neutralizes the damaging cells in the nail bed, thus preventing recurrence.

 

More information about various treatments for ingrown toenails >>

 

Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs

Plantar fasciitis, sometimes known as Jogger’s Heel, Policeman’s Heel, Heel spurs and other popular names, results from inflammation in the connective tissue of the plantar fascia, which connects the nerve of the heel to the toes. The inflammation is created due to excessive burden on the tissue and it can cause sharp pain felt in the heel, especially on awakening, on standing from an extended period of sitting down, or after physical activity.

 

Causes of plantar fasciitis include wearing shoes that do not fit the foot properly, extended physical activity like walking, running or jumping, and work that requires standing for extended periods. People between the ages of 40 and 60 are particularly at risk for plantar fasciitis, as are overweight individuals. The problem is also common among people with flat feet, as well as those with high arches.

 

To prevent this problem, it is important to wear well-fitted walking shoes, wear shoes with shock absorption for athletic activity, allow the feet to rest, avoid extended periods of standing and strenuous activity, avoid walking barefoot, and reduce pressure on the feet through weight loss. Neglecting the problem can cause chronic inflammation of the heel, leading to changes in the foot’s structure. This condition could lead to further complications for the feet and other parts of the body.

 

Home treatment of plantar fasciitis includes placing an icepack on the region several times a day, performing stretching exercises for the feet and calves, massaging the area, and more. In the event that the condition does not improve, consult a podiatrist as soon as possible for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Toenail Fungus

General fungus of the foot is also known as “Athlete’s foot,” because it is very common among athletes, but it is also common amongst the general public . This problem presents as an infection which appears between the toes, causing redness, dryness, and itchiness.

 

Toenail Fungus can cause a change in the structure of the nail, which thickens, distorts, and turns dark yellow or brown/black. Neglecting this problem could lead to various complications including ingrown toenails and spread of the fungus to other parts of the body. Additionally, bacteria could develop within the area of infection, leading to severe pain.

 

Causes of toenail fungus include dermatophytes – three durable fungal pathogens that love warmth and moisture and feed on non-living tissue.

 

To prevent fungal formation, avoid wearing closed shoes for extended periods of time and keep the feet clean and dry. Drying well includes the spaces between the toes, after bathing or showering, wear flip-flops in communal showers, avoid sharing nail trimmers or scissors, towels, and sheets, change socks daily, and avoid excessively tight or nylon socks.

 

Nail fungus is treated differently depending on the level of infection. For a low-level infection, treatment can be attempted using a number of remedies; when the situation is more severe, medication is necessary.

 

In the event that the infection persists or a secondary bacterial infection develops in the area, a podiatrist is needed to correctly diagnose and treat the condition.

Bunions

Bunions, which have the scientific name hallux valgus, are a distortion at the joint at the base of the big toe, whereby the toe curves inward towards the other toes, pushing the other toes over and even rising under or above the other toes. This forms the actual bunion, a bony bump at the base of the big toe joint which causes inflammation and pain. 

 

Causes of bunions include genetic factors, internal collapse of the foot combined with internal collapse of the arch, wearing high-heeled shoes, wearing shoes that are too narrow in front, causing curvature of the toe, injury, joint inflammation, and more.

 

To prevent bunions, always wear flat, wide, comfortable shoes that fit the structure of the foot and avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.

 

Home treatment includes placing an icepack wrapped in a towel on the area of the bump, physiotherapy exercises, using orthopedic accessories for relief such as insoles, silicone pads, night splints, and more.

 

In the event that conservative treatment is not effective, consult a specialist podiatrist as soon as possible to avoid complications.

 

Corns / Heloma Durum

Corns (heloma durum) are areas of hardened skin which develop from friction or pressure. They are flat from the pressure placed upon them and from the friction of shoes on the foot. They can appear on the heel, the pad of the foot, or between the toes, and can cause severe pain.

 

Causes of corns can include wearing shoes that do not fit, standing or walking for extended periods of time, running or various orthopedic problems such as bone prolapse.

 

To prevent corns, wear well-fitted shoes which provide plenty of space in the toe area, ensure that socks are not tight, avoid walking barefoot, and ensure that the feet are dried well after bathing or showering.

 

Home treatment of corns includes soaking the feet in water with soap, using creams to soften the skin, special adhesive bandages, ring-shaped protective pads, and more.

 

In the event that conservative treatment does not lead to improvement, consult a specialized podiatrist.

 

Conclusion

We hope this guide is a helpful resource to help you recognize the signs of several of the most common foot problems, to understand the importance of prevention, and to familiarize you with the methods of treating them.

 

What all these problems have in common, along with many other problems, is the need for skilled diagnosis and treatment from a specialized, experienced podiatrist as soon as possible.

 

To make an appointment for diagnosis and treatment, please contact the clinic: (072) 390-2711