Your feet are, quite literally, under a lot of pressure. They’re made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. From your heel to your big toe, your feet are responsible for many functions and movements that guide you every day, bearing the weight and force while you’re in motion.
However, all of that force and mass can put your feet at risk of injury, and improper care can lead to a myriad of foot problems. The last thing you want is to experience foot pain, so you might be wondering what foot conditions you could become susceptible to. At our Toronto Foot Clinic, we have the services and products necessary to ensure your foot problems are corrected.
Here’s a list of foot conditions we treat:
Plantar fasciitis begins as a sharp pain in the bottom of your heel or part of your midfoot. Your plantar fascia ligament connects your heel to the ball of your foot and plays a role in both shock absorption and arch support. The plantar fascia can become strained and lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis can occur due to ill-fitting shoes with no support and prolonged standing, walking, running, weight gain, or other foot conditions. You may experience more pain after your feet rest for too long. Orthotics, physical therapy, or surgery are some of the treatment options available for plantar fasciitis.
Plantar warts are small, flat, and hard circular growths that appear like corns and calluses. They are a common viral skin infection transmitted through moist environments, such as public swimming pools or communal showers.
Pressure on the wart from walking or standing can make the wart grow inward and become very painful. Plantar warts can go away on their own, but in some cases, treatment involving products with salicylic acid may be necessary and require numerous applications. While these warts are contagious and can spread to other parts of the foot, they can be removed if necessary.
A bunion forms as a bony bump on the base of the big toe joint due to a misalignment of the joint. This condition bends your big toe toward your other toes and makes it difficult to walk. Bunions can cause pain and inflammation on your feet and toes and cause stiffness in and around the joint.
Bunions may have resulted from a few possibilities, such as genetic inheritance and poorly fitting shoes. While standing, walking, or running for too long can irritate them, the pain can be relieved by choosing the proper shoes to wear.
Experiencing heel pain while standing or doing any other activities on your feet can cause difficulties during your day-to-day life. The most common causes of heel pain are plantar fasciitis, which affects the bottom of the heel, and Achilles tendonitis, which affects the back of the heel.
However, there are other potential causes of heel pain. Foot problems, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, heel spurs, bursitis, or osteomyelitis, can cause a great deal of pain in your heels. The issue can be diagnosed by a Doctor or Foot Specialist to pinpoint the cause of the pain and recommend the proper treatment options.
Properly cutting your toenails straight across can prevent the risk of ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail is a common condition due to the nail digging into the skin. When an ingrown toenail occurs, it can cause pain, and in more severe cases, it can cause an infection.
Genetics can sometimes play a role in the formation of ingrown toenails, as well as tight shoes that compress your toes together. Mild ingrown toenails can be treated by soaking your feet in warm water, topical antibiotics, or by a Doctor if the ingrown toenails are more severe.
Diabetes is a condition involving high blood sugar levels that can affect your blood flow and nerves, and can make your feet more susceptible to foot problems and complications. You may experience diabetic neuropathy, which is when damage to the nerves occurs due to an unmonitored high blood sugar level.
With diabetic neuropathy, you may feel a sensation of needles and pins in your feet, as well as loss of feeling or problems walking. Diabetes can cause a variety of other issues, such as diabetic ulcers on your feet. Proper care and maintenance of blood sugar levels can reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy and other problems.
Metatarsalgia is an umbrella term that describes other foot problems and conditions that cause pain in the ball of the foot. The pain and inflammation begin in the metatarsal area under the foot between the arches and toes. The pain can cause problems for the five metatarsal bones in your foot, responsible for absorbing the force from your body weight while you walk, run, or stand.
The development of metatarsalgia can most commonly arise due to sport-related injuries or poorly fitting shoes. It can also form due to other common foot problems. Metatarsalgia can create a significant amount of pain and discomfort.
Achilles tendonitis is a condition that causes severe pain in the Achilles tendon, causing inflammation. The Achilles tendon is the bridge that attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone. Swelling can form at the back of the heel during activities like walking or running. As the condition worsens, it can cause difficulty with walking and other movements.
The condition can become chronic if it’s not treated. A Foot Specialist can recommend possible treatment or management options, such as stretching exercises, as well as custom orthotics to add support and relieve pain.
A heel spur is a benign bony protrusion that appears on the bottom of the heel bone. The protrusion is due to a calcium deposit that grows under the skin and tissue of your foot. Heel spurs can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation even when there are no symptoms experienced.
Other common foot problems can cause the formation of a heel spur, such as plantar fasciitis, which can make it difficult to diagnose. However, you can treat this condition by keeping pressure off of your heel and resting, as well as using cold compresses and medications. Surgery is sometimes necessary.
High arches are a condition that involves abnormally high arches in the middle of the foot. This condition can lead to foot pain and an array of other foot problems and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, foot blisters, as well as corns, and calluses.
When the arches of the foot are too high, it can disrupt the arch’s ability to support the weight of your body and absorb the force of movement. The weight is then shifted onto the heel and the ball of the foot, causing strain. This issue can be corrected by custom orthotics or cushioning insoles.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in your body. The condition can often affect your feet, especially your big toe, and inflict painful feelings as if your foot is on fire. The buildup of uric acid can occur and affect the big toe joint first due to the toes being a colder part of the body. The uric acid crystallizes with temperature changes and causes significant pain.
The condition can either come and go or become chronic, damaging joints in the process. Gout can become worsened by eating certain foods or with an increase in age but can be managed by changing your lifestyle habits.
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease that results in the wear and tear of the cartilage in your joints. Your cartilage is important in cushioning your joints so that they don’t rub together. However, when the cartilage breaks down, the bones begin to grind together and create pain, swelling, and inflammation.
The condition is often due to increased age and affects the weight-bearing joints in your feet. It can have an effect on how you walk and move, as well as lead to other foot problems, such as bunions.
Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, between your arches and toes. It occurs when the tissue around a nerve in the ball of your foot begins to thicken. The swelling in the area can irritate the nerves and cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the toes.
The condition is caused by repetitive pressure on the area and is most common in those that wear high heels, poorly fitting shoes, do athletic activities, or have foot abnormalities. Wearing shoes that fit comfortably, using footpads, and partaking in physical therapy are some of the treatments that help with Morton’s neuroma complications.
Calluses are hard, thickened areas of skin that can appear under the foot on weight-bearing areas, like the ball of the foot or the heel. Calluses form to provide cushioning against spots that are exposed to repeated pressure or friction and are caused by the same factors as corns.
Calluses are usually harmless, but in some cases, they can cause pain and make it difficult to walk. If a callus becomes too thick, it can become cracked and get infected. The most common cause of callus formation is excessive force on certain parts of the foot while wearing poorly fitting shoes.
A corn is a small area of thick, hardened skin that’s normally found on the bonier parts of the foot, such as the toes. They form as a defence against excessive rubbing and friction of the skin. The corns add a protective layer of cushion to prevent pain or foot blisters.
They can either be hard or soft and don’t normally cause foot problems. However, if they become too big, they can cause pain while walking. Corns and calluses share similarities and are typically caused by shoes that don’t fit right or put excessive pressure on your feet. This is a problem that can be corrected by wearing shoes that fit comfortably and wearing corn plasters to reduce the size of the corn.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that arises from warm, dark, and moist environments, and commonly affects the areas between the toes and bottom of the foot. Athlete’s foot can cause scaly, rough skin on your feet, as well as itching, peeling, burning, and foot odour.
The risk of developing athlete’s foot can be reduced by maintaining your foot health by keeping them clean and dry, as well as changing your socks and shoes regularly, and avoiding walking barefoot in public locker rooms or showers. Many creams or sprays can be used to treat this fungal infection.
Cracked heels, also known as heel fissures, are a common foot issue that occurs when the skin on your heels becomes too dry and split open. The cracks on your heel can cause pain and irritation, as well as bleeding if the cracks become too deep.
If left untreated, the cracks can become infected. However, cracked heels can be treated quite easily with home remedies, such as moisturizers, gentle soaps, and over-the-counter insoles to provide cushioning while walking. A visit to a Chiropodist may also result in further treatment options for dealing with cracked heels.
Much like the name, foot odour occurs due to your feet having a pungent or unpleasant smell. A bad foot odour may be an indication that a fungal infection is forming or due to the smell of sweaty feet. Whatever the case, foot odour is a common foot problem and can be easily treated.
There is an abundance of products that can be used to provide effective treatment and management when it comes to bad-smelling feet. If the problem persists, it may be beneficial to see a Foot Specialist and have it looked at. This way, you’ll know for sure if it’s a fungal infection that requires specific treatment.
Hammertoe, also known as mallet toe, is a condition that’s often formed when a curved toe bends downward. Hammertoes may be a result of genetics, footwear that doesn’t fit properly, or other foot problems, such as bunions or high arches. In other cases, arthritis can lead to causing hammertoes.
The condition can be painful while walking or stretching out your foot. In more severe cases, you may have trouble wiggling your toes. These issues can be accommodated by wearing shoes that fit correctly, footpads, foot cushions, or custom orthotics crafted by a Foot Specialist.
Unlike high arches, flat feet refer to the lack of arch in the foot when you’re standing. Flat feet are usually a genetic condition and can either be flexible or rigid. A flat foot condition can disrupt the arch’s ability to support your body weight and absorb force while in movement.
Flat feet can displace pressure onto your toes, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Along with pain and discomfort, flat feet can put you at risk of developing other foot conditions, such as Achilles tendonitis, bunions, and hammertoes. Footwear with the proper arch support can treat painful conditions involved with flat feet.
Any type of painful foot condition can impede your day-to-day life and make it difficult to partake in the things you enjoy. You shouldn’t have to walk through your life in discomfort and strain. Make an appointment with a Foot Specialist today if you’re ready to begin the healing process.