This is not an exhaustive list, nor is the information included meant to replace treatment. Should you have any pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, seek the help of a Podiatrist.
Achilles tendonitis is pain associated with the back of the heel. The tendon becomes inflamed and damaged from a variety of mechanical forces such as pronation (inward tilting of the heel) or supination (outward tilting of the heel), excessive weight, overuse, diabetes, arthritis, or gout. However, most Achilles tendon problems are mechanical in nature.
More serious ankle sprains are usually characterized by difficulty in walking after the injury and require medical treatment, which includes x-rays, to rule out a fracture to the foot or ankle.
There are many causes of arthritis, and most of these conditions affect the human foot. The most common of these conditions is osteoarthritis. This is the simple wearing and tearing away of the cartilage of the joints. Age, excessive weight, genetic predisposition and trauma (injury) are the basic causes of osteoarthritis. Fortunately, this condition is very treatable.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin and toenails. It typically affects the skin between the toes, but can move anywhere on the foot. Bacteria may thrive as a secondary infection, which worsens the symptoms of the disorder and makes it more difficult to treat. A fungal infection is one of the more common nail and foot conditions.
A bunion is the tilting of the toe away from the midline of the body. It is usually characterized by a lump or bump that is red, swollen and/or painful around the big toe joint. There are many causes of bunions, but the primary one is genetic predisposition.
Corns and Calluses
A corn is a thickening of the outer layer of skin. It usually occurs on the tops of the toes and is the foot’s defense against friction and pressure. Calluses are a similar condition that affects the bottom of the foot. These conditions are usually painful, but can respond to conservative care. When necessary, corns can be treated with simple surgical procedures.
Diabetes is probably the most damaging disease that a patient can encounter in regards to their feet. One serious condition caused by diabetes is ulcers on the bottom of the foot. The goal and treatment of diabetics with foot ulcers is to relieve the pressure, prevent infection, and ultimately ensure the patient does not lose their limb. If you are a diabetic and have foot pain, immediate medical attention is necessary.
Dry Cracked Heels
Dry, cracking heels constitute a painful foot problem. When the problem persists, especially in diabetics or people with impaired vascular sufficiency, this can lead to a serious medical problem.
The causes of flat feet are many, but the most common is genetic predisposition. Flat feet can also produce conditions known as heel spurs and/or plantar fasciitis. This condition can be often accommodated by a prescriptive orthotic. Additionally, early diagnosis in children can avoid painful problems in later life.
Foot Concerns Related to Immunodeficiency Syndrome
People with immunodeficiency syndrome often develop peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a disease that affects the nerves located outside the central nervous system. Neuropathy leads to insensitivity, stiffness, and numbness in the feet. People suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to their inability to sense pain. If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation.
Foot ulcers are generally a breakdown of the skin on the bottom of the foot. They have many causes, but the most common are diabetes and vascular insufficiency. This condition must be taken very seriously as any break of the skin on the bottom of the foot can lead to loss of the limb.
If the toenail is discolored and thickened, then you may have a fungal infection. If it is ignored, it could impair one’s ability to walk comfortably. Thickened nails cannot be easily trimmed, and may cause pain and infection. This disease can frequently be accompanied by a secondary bacterial or yeast infection of the nail plate.
Gout is the end result of a buildup of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes and settles in the joints in the body, most often in the bigtoe joint. When it does so, it produces an excruciating pain. The onset of an attack of gout can be sudden and extreme.
Hammertoes are a result of an imbalance of the muscle structures of the toes. They occur when the toes become crooked, bent, or buckle under, causing joints to protrude. These are all descriptions of a biomechanical imbalance. Often, such imbalances can be treated with simple surgical techniques.
When describing foot structure or type, the opposite extreme from a flat foot is the high-arched foot. A high-arched foot lacks the needed flexibility for absorbing shock and tends to roll outward or supinate, which can increase the risk of ankle sprains.
An ingrown toenail is a condition in which the nail is cutting into the flesh. This condition is usually very painful and can cause an infection of the toe. A nail is ingrown when one or both corners or sides of the nail grow into the skin of the toe. Irritation, redness, uncomfortable sensation ofwarmth, as well as swelling, pain and infection can result from an ingrown toenail. This condition is very treatable with proper podiatric care.
In severe cases of calluses, which usually occur on the bottom of the foot, an IPK can develop. An IPK is an Intractable (meaning that it will not go away) Plantar (meaning bottom of the foot), Keratosis (meaning a deep seated callus) that usually occurs under a weight bearing metatarsal, the long bone of the foot. If orthotics, padding, massage and other conservative methods do not relieve the problem, surgical intervention is necessary.
Pinched nerve, nerve tumor, and swollen nerve are some common terms for this rather painful condition, usually situated between the third and fourth toes. Characterized by a sharp pain, usually when the patient is wearing shoes, neuroma is a pinching of the nerve between the toes caused by constricting shoe gear. When the pain becomes more frequent and lasts over a longer period of time, the nerve becomes enlarged.
Plantar Fasciitis & Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are often associated with Plantar Fasciitis. Heel spur, a bony overgrowth on the bottom of your heel bone, affects men and women equally. The heel spur is usually a result of an inflamed ligament (plantar fascia) on the bottom of the foot that attaches to the heel bone. Constant abnormal pulling of this ligament irritates the heel bone and the body lays down a bone spur as a protective mechanism. The patient usually complains of pain with the first step in the morning, some relief following activity, but returning after extended amounts of time bearing weight.
A shin splint is the tearing away of muscle from the bone. Shin splints affect the muscle that runs from the mid portion of the foot up the front of the leg. Overuse is a frequent cause, especially among those who engage in sport activities and have not sufficiently allowed their muscle tone to build up over a proper conditioning program, or whose conditioning program is too rigorous in the beginning.
Stress fractures are usually the result of altered biomechanics, in that the structures of the foot are either mechanically unstable or the bones of the foot are subjected to repetitive trauma. Stress fractures usually take time to develop and the symptoms are pain, redness and swelling.
Sweaty Feet and Foot Odour
Shoes and socks that are made of synthetic materials are contributing factors of the production of excessive perspiration and the bacterial growth that causes foot odour. These two conditions often lead to athlete’s foot.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome affects the lower ankle area of the foot. There are many structures that run through this area, including tendons, veins, arteries and nerves. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve becomes inflamed due to excessive pronation, arthritic problems, trauma, and even obesity. The symptoms that are characteristic of this disease are persistent burning pain, pain that radiates down to the toes and/or up to the lower leg and pain that does not subside after weight has been removed from the foot.
Warts are caused by a virus and are contagious. They may grow singularly or in groups, are painful and may appear particularly on the bottom of the feet. Treatments are numerous. The wisest course of action is to discuss the options with your Podiatrist to determine which treatment procedure suits your individual case.