Seven Common Foot Problems

April 5, 2023 • The Kimmel Institute • foot pain

Do your feet hurt? It’s likely due to one of these common foot problems.

Your feet act as your body’s shock absorbers. With a network of 26 bones and more than 100 ligaments, your feet absorb two to three times your body’s weight with each step. It’s fair to say that your feet are the most overworked joints in your body!

As such, it’s not surprising your feet sometimes ache from the weight they carry. In fact, your feet are vulnerable to a number of common foot problems. Luckily, with rest and some home-based remedies, you can get your feet in shape again and stride without any pain.

Seven common foot problems

Most people experience foot pain at some point in their lives. The American Podiatric Medical Association sponsored a survey in 2014 that revealed 77 percent of Americans reported foot discomfort. However, only a third said they would see a podiatrist for treatment.

Foot pain can vary in severity and duration. Most will resolve with self-care or conservative options in a few days. But if pain persists, it’s important to consult a podiatrist for further guidance.

Do you have one of these seven common foot problems?

Bunions. A bunion is a bony protrusion on the side of the big toe and can make every step painful. It’s typically caused by wearing narrow, tight-fitting shoes. Slipping protective pads into your shoes and switching to wide-toed footwear can reduce the pain. If that doesn’t work, surgery can remove the bunion and align the big toe.

Plantar fasciitis/heel spur. Running along the bottom of your foot is the plantar fascia ligament. When it becomes strained due to running, weight gain, or fallen arches, the inflamed ligament causes extreme pain, especially in the morning. Sometimes a heel spur occurs with plantar fasciitis. Icing and stretching the calf muscles along with over-the-counter pain medications can relieve the pain.

Ingrown toenail. If your toenail juts into the surrounding skin, you have an ingrown toenail. Cutting your toenails too short and wearing snug shoes are the top reasons for ingrown toenails. To prevent an ingrown toenail, trim your nail straight across, and don’t round the edges.

Corns and calluses. Corns develop on the top of the feet or toes, while calluses form on the bottom of the feet. Both conditions are mainly caused by intense friction due to ill-fitting footwear. Do not try to remove the corns or calluses yourself. You can see a podiatrist, or soak your feet in soapy water to soften the irritated tissue and gently rub the skin with a pumice stone.

Athlete’s foot. Warm, moist environments such as public swimming pools and showers are breeding grounds for the fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot. It usually appears between the toes and causes itching, burning, and blisters. Over-the-counter antifungal medications or a prescription from a podiatrist can cure the infection. But you can prevent athlete’s feet by keeping your feet dry and clean.

Blisters. Like corns and calluses, blisters form when poorly fitted shoes repeatedly run against the skin. To protect the skin, a bubble of fluid develops, most often on the heel, sides of the foot, or top of the toes. Draining the blister at home is not recommended. You can patch it over with a bandage or put an antibiotic lotion on it until it heals on its own.

Fungal nail infection. Fungal nail infections, also known as mycotic nails, are nails infected by a fungus, making the nail thick, brittle, and discolored. The nail may also separate from the nail bed. Your podiatrist can treat the infection with an antifungal medication.

Don’t neglect your feet!

Now that you know how much you depend on your feet, take care of them! The physicians at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry have treated all the foot conditions here and helped patients get back on their feet. Contact us today for a consultation.

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