With every step, your feet take a beating that adds up over time. Age, weight, improper footwear, and genetics contribute to foot problems like bunions, corns, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails.
Visiting a foot clinic can help keep your feet healthy and pain-free. Whether over-the-counter pain relievers, custom-fitted shoes or surgery, foot doctors can provide treatment options that improve your quality of life.
This thick tissue runs along the bottom of your feet from your heel to your toes. This tissue supports your arch by creating tension. When it becomes inflamed, it can cause you pain.
This type of pain is usually worse when you take your first steps out of bed in the morning, and it can get exacerbated by long periods of standing or getting up from sitting. It can also worsen when you exercise, like running or cycling.
This type of heel pain can be prevented by doing calf stretching exercises, using ice on your feet twice daily for 10 to 15 minutes, and wearing shoes that provide good arch support. People who are overweight or have flat feet are more at risk for developing this condition.
Metatarsalgia is a pain in the ball of the foot. It develops due to overuse and participation in high-impact activities, especially running. The repetitive pressure on the front of your foot causes excess stress that can aggravate the area’s tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Other factors contributing to this condition include foot deformity, wearing shoes that are too tight or loose and carrying excess weight.
Symptoms include a sharp pain that feels like a bruise in the ball of the foot. It may also be accompanied by a hard skin growth (callus). It’s important to seek medical care if the pain lasts more than a few days or if you notice excessive swelling in the ball of the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma is an uncomfortable condition that occurs on the ball of the foot, usually between your third and fourth toes. The tissue surrounding a nerve becomes thicker due to irritation or pressure. Most commonly, this is caused by tight shoes or high heels that put pressure on the feet.
You may experience a burning or sharp pain on the ball of your feet or feel numbness in your toes. The pain is constant, but it can become worse if you exercise.
A foot specialist can feel the spaces between the toes. A foot X-ray may be taken to rule out any other conditions, such as arthritis. You may be given a numbing shot or undergo “decompression surgery,” which involves cutting some areas of your foot to relieve pressure on the nerve.
A bunion is an uncomfortable lump of bone that forms at the big toe’s joint. The metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP, helps distribute and bear our weight when we walk or run. A bunion at this point causes the big toe’s angle to be outward towards the smaller toes. It is possible to develop a fluid-filled sac called a bursa.
Bunions usually develop slowly over time as the bones in the feet shift and certain ligaments stretch out or tighten. They are more common in women as they wear shoes that put extra pressure on the toes. This can include high-heeled shoes, which tip your body weight forward and squeeze the toes together. Bunions are more common in people with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Ingrown toenails are one of the most common foot issues. Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or edges of the nail grow into the skin near the pin, causing inflammation and pain. It is more common when the nails are too short or rounded. Other causes include shoes that squeeze your toes or excessive sweating.
Infection and pus can sometimes develop around an ingrown toenail, forming new tissue called a granuloma. This can weep and produce a foul odor.
To prevent ingrown toenails, soak your feet daily in warm water and trim your toenails straight across to keep them visible. You can also wear shoes that fit properly and give up tight or pointed shoes.