7 Common Foot Problems
- Keep Your Feet HealthyFeet do an important job, but they’re often overlooked. The shoes you wear, the activities you do and how you walk can take a toll on your feet. Certain health problems can affect your feet too. You might have foot pain, swelling, itching or other issues. These conditions are often treatable, so don’t ignore them. Taking care of your feet can keep you on the move. Being aware of these seven common problems is the first step.
- 1. Athlete’s FootAthlete’s foot is a fungal infection. Shoes, showers, and sweaty socks help create the warm, humid environment that can lead to this condition. Athlete’s foot usually develops between the toes. It can also spread to the bottom of the feet and toenails. It can even spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms include itching, burning, scaling and blisters. Antifungal medicines treat athlete’s foot. It's also important to keep feet clean and dry to prevent the fungus from growing.
- 2. BunionsA bunion is a swollen, sore bump on the joint between the big toe and foot. As it gets bigger and sticks out more, it can become very painful. In extreme cases, the big toe angles in toward the second toe. This pressure can force other toes out of alignment. Wearing tight, narrow or high-heeled shoes can cause bunions. To deal with them, put protective pads inside wide, low-heeled shoes. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove the bunion and correct the alignment of the big toe.
- 3. Claw Toe and Hammer ToeThese foot problems occur when toe joints don't bend like they should. This causes one or more toes to curl over or bend down toward the floor. Diseases like diabetes that cause nerve damage can lead to claw toe. Most often, tight shoes are to blame for both claw and hammer toes. These deformities can become permanent. Avoid narrow, high-heeled shoes. A splint or tape can also help keep toes in the right position. Severe cases might require surgery.
- 4. Corns and CallusesCorns and calluses are thick, rough and raised patches of dead skin. Corns develop on the top of the feet or toes. Calluses develop on the bottom of the feet. These spots form to protect the foot from constant friction. Tight shoes can make the bones in the foot rub the skin. Soaking can help soften these areas. A doctor can shave away the dead skin. Cortisone injections or surgery may help for stubborn corns and calluses.
- 5. Ingrown ToenailAn ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the skin on the side of the toe. Cutting toenails too short can cause this. So can wearing shoes that are too tight. Ingrown toenails can become swollen, sore and infected. Soak the foot in warm water a few times a day. Wear comfortable shoes and don't trim toenails too short. A good rule is to trim your nails straight across, just shy of the top edge of your toe, and don’t round off the edges. If the problem doesn't get better, a doctor can surgically remove the ingrown toenail.
- 6. Plantar Fasciitis and Heel SpursThe bottom of the foot contains a long, thin ligament. It acts as a shock absorber. It also supports the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis occurs when this ligament gets irritated and inflamed. You may feel heel pain. A bone spur, or growth, can also form where the ligament meets the heel. Regular running or high-impact activities can lead to plantar fasciitis. Obesity can also be a cause. Stretching calf muscles may help ease the pain. Also try rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Surgical treatment may be an option for you when rest, stretching and ibuprofen don’t provide long-term relief.
- 7. BlistersNew shoes or shoes that don't fit right can rub against your skin. This can strip away the top layer of skin. A blister is the cushion of fluid that forms in response to the irritation. Blisters usually develop on the back of the heel, sides of the feet, or top of the toes. Treat them with an antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Wearing socks or different shoes can reduce friction and prevent new blisters.
7 Common Foot Problems