The Ultimate Guide to Foot Problems
Posted on December 23, 2015
Your feet provide a vital function for your body by:
- keeping you balanced;
- keeping you upright; and
- absorbing the impact of your body weight with each step.
For these reasons any foot pains you have could turn out to be a major problem for your health.
A recent study showed that 77% of people have experienced foot pain and only a third of those seeked care from a Podiatrist. Over half of the adults that experienced foot pain said it restricted activites (walking, exercising etc) in some way, but they would exercise more, if the foot pain didn't exist!
Common causes of foot problems included sports injuries, poorly-fitted shoes, genetics, weak ligaments in the feet or inappropriate foot care.
Below is a list of 12 of the most common foot problems that I see in patients at my clinic. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, I urge you to seek professional medical advice and get treatment.
Browse by Common Foot Problem: Click any of the links below to jump to a foot problem.
- Ankle Sprain
- Arch Pains
- Blisters on your Feet
- Corns and Calluses
- Fungal Skin and Nail Infections
- Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain)
- Ingrown Toenails
- Joint and Arthritis pain in your feet
- Plantar Warts
- Shin and Knee pain caused by bad feet
- Stress Fractures
- Arch pain can be caused by a variety of different factors and can originate from different structures within the foot. Therefore when diagnosing it is important to determine which structure is the source of the pain and what factors have contributed to the injury. This will allow for the most accurate solutions to reduce the symptons associated with Arch Pain.
Arch pain is commonly felt when wearing flat or unsupportive footwear, particularly if you have a foot that tends to pronate or roll in.
Reduced support from footwear increases the stresses on the structures within the foot, often overloading them and causing pain.
Arch pain can present as an aching or sharp pain and is often aggravated by activity.
What can you do about Arch Pain?
- Initially you can try wearing supportive footwear and rolling the foot over a frozen drink bottle which may help to settle or resolve the pain.
If pain persists a qualified Podiatrist (me!) can appropriately assess your feet, footwear and any other factors which may be contributing to your pain, to ensure a rapid recovery. See the video below for some simple exercises that can help with arch pain.
Blisters events in previous years and have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to help you beat this common yet painful problem.
What are Bunions?
- BUNIONS (also know as Hallux Abducto-valgus deformity) are a common bony deformity in the feet, that range from a minor structural change with no discomfort to severe deformity accompanied by debilitating pain.
Bunions are a large bump or exostosis on either the inside (more commonly) or outside of the foot caused by deviation of the bones around the ball of the foot.
They are caused by a variety of factors including genetics, tight or narrow footwear, high-heeled footwear or poor foot mechanics.
Whilst bunions more commonly present in the middle-aged to elderly population, they can also be seen in children and teenagers.
Watch this video to see just how bad bunions can be.
How can Bunions be treated?
- The goal of treatment for bunions is to reduce pain and prevent further deformity. This can be done with footwear modifications, orthotics and padding options. Pain can also be limited with rest, ice and medications. It is also important to treat any other pathology such as corns and callouses resulting from the structural change of the foot.
As bunions are a structural change around the big toe joint effecting the position of the bones, the only way to change the alignment is through surgery. Whilst surgery is usually seen as a 'last resort' treatment, it may be the best course of action in some individuals depending on the degree of deformity, pain and their activity levels.
Bunion Treatment Plan
I can determine the factors which are aggravating your bunions and design the best treatment plan to ensure your feet are comfortable and your bunions are not holding you back. When bunions are assessed and managed in the early stages of the deformity, you are most likely to prevent the progression and avoid the need for surgery in the future.
More Bunions Resources
Corns and Calluses
Further information on Corns..
Fungal Skin and Nail Infections
Plantar Fasciitis Treatment
I can take you through a thorough history and assessment in order to build a treatment plan appropriate for your individual needs. This may include things such as stretching, anti-inflammatory treatments, orthotics, footwear changes and activity modifications.
What are Ingrown Toenails?
- Ingrown toenails can be an ongoing and very painful problem. Ingrown toenails are particularly common in children and teenagers and can be caused by poor nail cutting technique, pressure from footwear (particularly in tennis and ballet dancing) or an involuted or curved nail shape.
How can Ingrown Toenails be treated?
In some cases an ingrown nail may only cause minor discomfort and can be easily settled by appropriately cutting the nail and clearing the nail edge or sulci. In some cases however ingrown nails can become very deep and infected requiring a more aggressive approach. If the nail is infected - (red, swollen with signs of pus), you must see your doctor for prescription anti-biotics. Once the infection has settled I can properly remove the ingrown section of nail to reduce discomfort. Podiatrist's are qualified to administer local anaesthetic where required to enable a thorough treatment without the presence of pain.
Where an individual has an ongoing problem with ingrown toenails the problem section of nail can be permanently removed with a surgical procedure called a Partial Nail Avulsion. This is a simple surgical procedure undertaken under local anaesthetic in the clinic. It involves removal of the problem section of nail right from the nail root and then application of phenol, a chemical which prevents the nail from growing back.
As this is a surgical procedure there is always risks involved and I can discuss with you whether or not you would be an appropriate candidate for this procedure.