Common Foot Problems:
Pain under the heel, particularly first thing in the morning, can indicate poor foot function. Wearing orthotics (insoles) in your shoes can often help alleviate the pain.
Tired aching feet/flat feet
Caused by poor foot function and complicated by standing or walking for long periods of time, pregnancy and by being overweight. Orthotics (insoles) can help improve foot function and relieve discomfort.
Hallux Valgus (commonly called bunions)
Poor foot function and badly fitting shoes can produce misshapened bones in the 1st toe joint. Wearing orthotics (insoles) in your shoes can help control poor foot function, delay the development of this condition and reduce pain. An important part of treatment is wearing shoes that conform to the shape of the foot and do not cause pressure areas.
Corns / Callus
A corn is a small conical shaped area of hard dead skin which presses on the underlying nerve endings and can often cause intense pain. They are caused by friction and pressure from shoes and the ground surface. They can be found anywhere on the foot but are more commonly found on the ball of the foot and on the top of the toes. Occasionally they are found between the toes. They are often easily removed or reduced in size giving instant relief from pain.Treatment involves relieving the pressure on the skin, usually by modifying the shoe. Pads or toe separators to relieve the bony pressure are helpful, but they must be positioned carefully. On occasion, surgery is necessary to remove a bony prominence that causes the corn or callus.
A callus is a larger area of hard dead skin but has no central core. Caused by friction and pressure from shoes and the ground surface. Calluses often produce a painful burning sensation on the sole of the feet. They are often easily reduced in size giving instant relief.
Ingrowing toe nails
This condition is where the edge of the nail (usually the first toe nail) grows into the skin at the side of the nail producing intense pain. Caused by tight shoes, poor foot function or incorrect toe nail cutting. Removing the side of the nail relieves the pain and helps resolve any bacterial infection present.
Thickened toe nails
Usually caused by trauma, poor circulation or a fungal infection which leads to discoloration and thickening of the nails. This condition can be painful if the thickened nail rubs against the top of the shoe. Thickened nails can often be reduced in thickness painlessly with an electric chiropody drill.
Painful fissures (cracks) in the skin, especially around the heels, can develop if the skin becomes excessively dry. Dry thickened skin usually needs to be removed and moisturising cream applied to help resolve this condition. Regular application of certain moisturising creams (such as Foot Miracle) can significantly help improve the quality of the skin.
A contagious skin condition caused by fungi and spread by sharing towels and/or walking on contaminated floors in showers and swimming pools. Symptoms include an itchy sore rash, splitting of the skin between the toes and small blisters forming on the skin. Correct diagnosis and regular application of an anti-fungal cream will normally control this condition.
Caused by damp cold weather which affects the circulation in the feet and lower limb. Small purplish red itchy swollen areas can develop on the toes and become uncomfortable. Correct advice and regular massage can help reduce chilblains.
Caused by a virus producing an area of dead skin. Normally found on very small areas on the sole of the feet but can cover much larger areas. They have many disguises (very small blisters, black dots in the centre) and can even look like a corn to the untrained eye. They are usually extremely painful to sideways pressure. They can resolve spontaneously but often need treatment as they are prone to multiply. Frequently caught at swimming pools.
Often caused by foreign bodies such as dog hairs entering the skin or by friction from shoes causing skin breakdown. Removal of the foreign body, establishing drainage, cleaning and correct dressing and padding can often very quickly resolve any bacterial infection.
Hammertoes are one of several types of toe deformities. Hammertoes have a permanent sideways bend in your middle toe)'joint. The resulting deformity can be aggravated by tight shoes and usually results in pain over the prominent bony areas on the top of the toe and at the end of the toe. A hard corn may develop over this prominence. Treatment usually involves a shoe to better accommodate your deformed toe. Shoe inserts or pads also may help. If, after trying these treatments, you still are having marked difficulty, surgical treatment to straighten the toe or remove the prominent area of bone may be necessary.
Treatment usually involves wearing wider shoes and taking oral medications to decrease the swelling around the nerve. A pad on the sole of the foot to spread the bones is often helpful. Your doctor also may inject cortisone around the nerve. If your difficulty continues, surgery to remove the neuroma may be suggested.
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