Your feet are important. They are what gives you mobility and the ability to get you from point A to point B. Your feet are also vulnerable to injury and infection. When something is not right with your feet, you notice it. Even something as small as a blister can make walking and wearing shoes difficult.
Most of the common foot problems listed below can be avoided or have their discomfort lessened with proper foot care which includes hygiene and wearing properly fitting shoes.
Blisters are soft, clear fluid-filled pockets of skin that result from wearing ill-fitting shoes. Blisters are often painful and make walking, running and wearing shoes difficult. Regular blisters can be pricked with a sterilized needle and drained. Blood blisters, the ones that fill with blood instead of the clear fluid, should not be popped and drained.
If you have one or two toes that are crossed, pointing in abnormal angles or are bent in the middle of the toe joint, chances are you have hammertoes. Like blisters, hammertoes are usually the result of ill-fitting shoes. The alignment and bend of hammertoes can be corrected if treated early. If enough time goes by without treatment, the toe will become permanently bent.
Those with claw toes have toes (with the exception of the big toe) that curl up at the joint where the toes and the foot meet and which curl down at the end of the toes from the toe joint. Ill-fitting shoes and nerve damage are common causes of claw toes.
If you have bunions, wearing shoes can be painful. Bunions are located at the base of the big toe, at the joint where the big toe connects to the foot. This joint grows crooked, often protruding out from the side of the foot, causing the big toe to turn inward. Ill-fitting shoes, heredity, arthritis, deformities and trauma are common causes.
Ingrown toenails are when the corners of the toenails dig into and grow into the nearby skin. Foot fungus, ill-fitting shoes, improperly cut toenails and abnormal foot structure are common causes.
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection whereeby an itchy, burning, peeling, white, scaly rash appears on the bottom of feet or in between toes. Poor foot hygiene such as not wearing or changing socks and not washing feet are the largest culprits.
Toenail fungus is easy to spot with discolored, deformed toenails. These unattractive toenails are the result of inadequate foot care and hygiene and exposing the feet to moist, unclean environments such as pools and locker rooms.
Gout is a painful type of arthritis that often results in red, warm, swelling and pain around the joint of the big toe. Gout is caused from the build-up of uric acid, which can be worsened with certain foods including alcohol, seafood and red meat.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are painful, hard patches of dead skin that are the result of bony areas of the toes and feet getting repeatedly rubbed, usually by tight shoes. Corns often form on the sides and tops of toes as well as in between toes. Calluses usually form on the bottom for the heel and ball of the foot.
Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis
Both heel spurs and plantar fasciitis are painful foot conditions that affect the heel. A heel spur is where pieces of bone that grow at the base of the heel bone. Plantar fasciitis is the painful inflammation of the fascia, the tendon that connects the hell and ball of the foot.
Taking care of your feet are important. Regular washing and drying of feet, wearing and changing socks, early treatment and wearing properly-fitting footwear can help stem the formation of many of these common foot problems.
If you experience chronic pain and discomfort, it is highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with your podiatrist.