Part I Foot Disorders & Ailments

Millions of individuals are plagued with some sort of foot disorder, injury, or ailment. These disorders can cause innumerable symptoms, while some are curable, others are not and can potentially lead to debilitation, at some point.

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot becomes noticeable, when a scaly rash appears between the toes. Tinea pedis is a fungal infection that is linked to ringworm and jock itch. It is considered to be highly contagious and spread through contact, with towels and floors that have been contaminated.

  • Treatment can be found with antifungal medications (ointments, creams), which can be purchased over the counter, at the local pharmacy.
  • Prevention can start with wearing shoes or sandals, when visiting a beach or gym.

Corns & Calluses

While corns and calluses (hyperkeratosis) are a pesky disorder, they normally do not cause any potential health risks.

  • Corns are commonly found on the dorsal and lateral sides of the feet. A corn is basically a tiny patch of thick, dead skin with a center core. They can cause pain, when being restricted by shoes or heavy weight. Improper shoe size can be related to the condition, but it is not uncommon for individuals that exhibit abnormal ambulation or walking motion to be plagued by them, as well.
  • Seed Corns are linked to blocked sweat ducts and are found on the soles of the feet.
  • Calluses can be found on the feet and hands and are normally linked to friction. They are basically caused by the same factors as a corn.
  • Plantar Callus begin on the soles of the feet.

Risks of these ailments is staph infections, which are rarely noted. Bacteria will enter the corn and cause an infection.

  • Treatment begins with salicylic acid, which is available in drop form, pads, plasters, and applicators. These products can be purchased over the counter, at the local pharmacy.

Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails (onychocryptosis) are very common and normally occur, when the toenail’s growth extends into the surrounding tissue. They are very painful and can become infected, if untreated.

  • Causes may extend from tight-fitting shoes, injuries, curved toenails, and improper toenail clippings.
  • Treatment will most likely be an avulsion procedure (toenail removal)

Adult Acquired Flatfoot

Flatfoot is a very common problem that affects millions of individuals. It is basically characterized by a flattened instep arch and over time it will tend to disappear, all together. This can make wearing high heel shoes very difficult.

Accessory Navicular Syndrome

This disorder is characterized by an extra accessory navicular bone. This normally does not cause any issues and is asymptomatic (without symptoms). It has been noted on rare occasions to cause discomfort, when wearing a specific type of shoe.

  • Treatment is not required, but a change in shoe preference may be suggested.

Achilles Tendinitis

Is characterized by inflammation of the Achilles Tendon, which may be linked to poor circulation to that area, injury, and overuse of the tendon. This is a common disorder in athletes.

  • Symptoms begin with posterior foot pain, which worsens, when standing or stretching. The pain may be accompanied with edema and stiffness.
  • Treatment normally begins with a change of physical activity. For example, if you are a biker or runner, it may be suggested that you switch to swimming or walking. The ideal involves putting less stress on the Achilles Tendon.

Ankle Sprain

Is very commonly associated with injuries such as twisting of the ankle ligaments (the lateral ankle is more often affected). This can occur, when stepping on an uneven surface.

  • Symptoms can vary according the injury’s severity. Edema, pain, tenderness, and stiffness are common symptoms. Sometimes bruising may be noted, as well.
  • Treatments involve elevation, cold packs, OTC analgesics (Motrin, Tylenol), and rest.

To see the foot anatomy please click here.