Your feet are very complex, composed of numerous bones, nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. Like the rest of your body, your feet are susceptible to many types of injuries and conditions. If you develop a foot problem, see your podiatrist in O’Fallon, MO, right away for the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are five common foot problems and how to deal with them.
1. Diabetic Foot
The high blood sugar characteristic of diabetes damage circulation and nerves in the lower extremities. Feet often lose sensation, leading to undetected injuries and wounds, deformities (Charcot’s foot), gangrene, and sadly in some situations, the amputation of the foot or leg.
However, you can manage your diabetic foot problems with the help of your foot and ankle doctor in St. Peters, MO. In fact, we recommend that you see your podiatrist every three months if you have diabetes so that issues can be detected and treated early on before worsening.
There are also at-home practices you can employ to avoid the serious complications of diabetic foot. These include:
- Good control of your blood glucose levels
- Wearing well-fitting, supportive footwear, and never going barefoot (even in the house)
- Washing your feet daily with soap and water, drying them completely, and applying moisturizer to avoid roughness and cracking
- Inspecting feet daily, looking for areas of friction, sores, or bruising
This acquired foot deformity involves the turning of the big toe toward the second and third toes. The joint at the base of the big toe bulges out, causing a widening of the foot and pain related to friction against the footwear.
To treat bunions, our podiatrist suggests wearing shoes with low heels and wide toe boxes to avoid pressure on the forefoot. When a bunion is advanced and debilitating, a bunionectomy may be performed to remove the bony bump and straighten the joint.
Bunions occur largely in adult women. Excess body weight and tight shoes contribute to bunion formation.
Chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of connective tissue between the toes and heel, causes this painful foot condition. Podiatrists attribute its occurrence to overpronation, a continual turning inward of the foot toward the midline when you walk or run. Athletes are particularly prone to plantar fasciitis, as well as those who are overweight.
Fortunately, most cases do not require surgery. Instead, good footwear that fits and supports the feet helps avoid and relieve the pressure and pain. Customized shoe inserts, or orthotics, can offer more support to the feet, as well. Your podiatrist in Wentzville, MO, can tell you if orthotics will help your foot condition by doing a gait analysis.
3. Heel Pain
Very common in older adults, heel pain happens when the fatty pad on the bottom of the foot gradually decreases in thickness. Heel spurs often accompany foot arthritis, as well, and plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis contribute to painful heels.
Your foot and ankle doctor in O’Fallon, MO, can determine the source of your heel pain with a hands-on examination and X-ray imaging. Weight loss and wearing in-the-shoe heel cups can reduce pressure on the heels. Cortisone shots may calm inflammation. In rarer cases, surgery to remove bone spurs may produce the best therapeutic outcome.
4. Hammer Toe
Hammer’s toe impacts the second, third, or fourth toe at the middle joint. The affected toe bends and stiffens in place, causing pain, hard corns, and gait problems.
Over time, hammer toes can worsen, but most can be managed with sensible shoes and customized shoe inserts. In some cases, surgery to straighten the affected joint may be necessary.
Trauma, diabetes, age-related arthritis, and even an inherited foot structure may lead to hammer toes.
- Corns and Calluses
When your feet have to deal with friction or pressure on a regular basis, such as when you wear tight shoes, you run the risk of developing corns and calluses. These thick and hardened layers of skin develop in areas of the foot that are routinely receiving a lot of friction. It is the body’s attempt to protect these vulnerable areas.
Corns and calluses typically do not cause pain and are considered cosmetic issues. Podiatrists can easily remove them and guide you on how to prevent a reoccurrence.