We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Corns tend to be smaller than calluses and are the hard center is surrounded by irritated skin. While corns can be found on the bottom of the foot where pressure is usually applied, it is more common that you find corns on the tops and sides of your toes and even between your toes. When pressure is applied, corns can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Calluses, on the other hand, don’t usually cause pain. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses vary in size and shape and are often larger than corns.
Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. Pressure can begin to weigh heavy on the toes as you wear shoes which is where pain and other symptoms develop.
Hammertoes typically begin with small symptoms and deformities and continue to worsen with time. In its beginning stages, hammertoes are often impressionable which means they can be controlled using minimal treatment. It is important to know the signs of hammertoes to get them evaluated early. If left untreated, hammertoes can become more firm and difficult to manipulate, requiring surgery.
Diabetic Foot Care
Daily preventative care can help you decrease your risk of developing these other serious conditions like ulcers and infections. Inspecting your feet at the end of the day to look for any abnormalities, maintaining proper hygiene, keeping your feet warm in cold weather, encouraging blood flow in the feet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can discourage other conditions from developing.
Plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus and cause tiny cuts and breaks on the bottom of your feet.
While most plantar warts are not a major health concern, it is advised you see a doctor to have the warts examined and removed. Some symptoms include small, rough lesions on the base of the foot, calluses in one spot, and tenderness when walking or standing for long periods of time.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
Chronic ankle instability is usually caused by repeated ankle sprains and is described as the gradual giving way of the outside of the ankle. Some symptoms of ankle instability include constant inflammation or swelling, tenderness, and instability in the ankle. After a sprained ankle, the ligaments become stretched and torn. Proper rehabilitation is required to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and rehabilitate the tissues within the ankle that affect your balance. In addition, physical therapy, medications, and bracing can help treat chronic ankle instability. Failure to do so may result in repeated ankle sprains, or possibly surgery.
Flat foot is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened which causes the sole of the foot to touch the floor when standing upright. It is likely for flat feet to be caused by the arches not fully developing during childhood and is considered a very common and painless condition. On the other hand, flat feet can occur after an injury or from the normal aging process.
While it is common not to experience any pain or symptoms of flat feet, some people do tend to sense pain in the heel or arch area. Physical activity can irritate the area and inflame the foot along the inside of the ankle. This can be caused by the tendon that is supporting the arch being stretched as it is depreciating.
A neuroma can occur in many areas of the body when nerve tissue thickens. Morton’s neuroma is the most typical neuroma that occurs in the foot and it occurs between the third and fourth toes. Also known as an intermetatarsal neuroma, the name describes its location in the ball of the foot.
Compression and irritation typically cause the nerve tissue to thicken. This pressure creates inflammation of the nerve, ultimately causing untreatable damage to the nerves in the foot.
Fungal infections in the toe or fingernails can appear as thickened, discolored, or disfigured. While it may seem like the condition is just an aesthetic concern, fungal infections can lead to worsened symptoms and pain. Diabetes, a weakened immune system, and the normal aging process are all causes associated with fungal infections. It is more likely for senior citizens and adults to develop a fungal infection as opposed to children.
Wounds/ Wound Care
Ulcers on the foot may not always come with pain, but they are serious conditions that should be evaluated by a medical professional. The symptoms of ulcers may include drainage, or red, inflamed tissue. To properly diagnose and develop a treatment plan x-rays may be ordered.
Since nearly one-fourth of the bones in our body are in our feet, fractures of the foot are common and rarely debilitating.
There are two types of fractures. A stress fracture typically occurs in the space between the toes and middle of the foot, usually as a result of a physical activity gone awry. These fractures are only on the surface of the bone. General bone fractures extend through the bone. These injuries are usually caused by trauma to the foot.
Depending on the fracture and placement, different treatments will be discussed. Foot fractures typically heal on their own, although more serious cases may require surgery.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect your foot is fractured so treatment can begin right away.