Foot conditions refer to problems on any part of the foot caused by natural defects, over exercise, diseases and or wrong footwear. Feet, like any other body organs, need to be taken care of; otherwise foot problems might develop or get accelerated. Most foot conditions may not be a nuisance, but others can be extremely painful and or hamper day to day movement; not to mention can affect other body parts due to distorted walking style. Foot problems can affect toe joints, foot skin, arch, nails, heel bone and tendons in the foot. Bunions, Morton’s Neuroma, hammer toe, fallen arches or flatfoot, Plantar Fasciitis, cones, Metatarsalgia, gout, spurs, fungal nail infection, ingrown toes and athlete’s foot comprise common foot problems.
Some foot conditions may be inherent (such as bunions and hammer toes) while others may result from diseases (such as warts caused by viruses and foot problems caused by arthritis), extreme exercise of the foot or wrong footwear. Athletes have higher chances of suffering from Metatarsalgia and Plantar Fasciitis than regular people, due to the high foot activity. People who stand for long duration, wear high heels and or shoes that do not give their feet adequate room for movement or shock absorbing, suffer cones, Morton’s Neuroma, bunions and flatfoot among others.
High heels have gained an important place in contributing to foot problems.
This is because, in addition to the shoe height causing the heel to carry much of the body’s weight, which strains and or makes tendons tear and get inflamed, the shoes come in extremely narrow and narrow-toed shapes that compress the feet; preventing free movements of the foot. A compressed foot suffers more trauma than a freer one, if and when a person experiences a foot injury and the skin, ligaments, bones, nerves and blood capillaries become torn, compressed and even inflamed. Other wrong footwear, including flat rigid shoes, closed narrow shoes and shoes without ample shock absorbers, causes the foot to bear all the weight of a person or incident while shoes that lack ample space for the foot to wriggle freely hurt the foot skin and compresses the bones/ nerves.
This foot condition exhibits in the form of pain at the ball of the foot. The condition occurs when extreme pressure gets exerted on the ball of the foot (the area between the toes and foot instep, which comes into contact with the ground). The condition, mostly, occurs after long periods of standing, overusing that foot part and or wearing shoes that do not protect the foot from hard surfaces contacts. While this condition poses no major threat, the pain can be demobilizing. Relief from the pain and long term treatment can be achieved through icing the hurting part, wearing low, comfortable shoes, using floor mats and or taking ample rest to heal it.
Wrong footwear has its fair share of foot problems.Some people choose to wear extremely narrow shoes in the hope of narrowing the feet they consider wide.
This mechanism works by keeping the foot muscles and bones constantly pressed. The downside of this is that bones, especially the big and small toe, get pressed together with others, and this may cause their permanent, yet painful, diversion. The areas of the bends may become inflamed, due to strained nerves and ligaments, while the skin in contact with the shoes experiences excruciating pain. Treatment for this condition can be obtained by wearing flat shoes with ample space for the foot to breathe and move, taking antibiotics for the inflammation and or having surgery to correct the diverted bones.
This foot problem refers to an injury of the plantar fascia, the tissue that binds the toes to the heel bone. Extreme pressure on the foot may cause these thick tissues to tear and get inflamed. This problem, mostly, exhibits in the form of sharp pain in the heel; that shoots up during the first steps after a long rest. The knee, back and hip may get affected by the plantar fasciitis as the heel pain might cause a person to change his/ her walking style to avoid the pain.
While this foot condition, mostly, passes down generational lines, tight footwear can contribute to it. Hammer toe refers to a condition where the toes’ muscles become shorter, causing the first joint of the toe to sink and the toe bone to get raised. The raised toe joint, initially becomes painful, but after some time of getting pressed by the shoes, hardens. To avoid this condition, people should avoid wearing tight shoes as this presses the toes backwards, but if the condition is inherent or advanced, surgery can correct it.
Normally the foot of an adult human being is not flat. The toes, the ball of the foot and the heel make contact with the ground while the arch (between the heel and ball of the foot) is slightly raised. Flatfooted people have their arches collapsed, an indication of torn/ stretched tendons due to over-activity of the foot, rheumatoid arthritis, extreme body weight exerted on the foot and or wrong wear, which inflicts immense pain on the foot and causes the foot to tire easily.
This condition occurs when one or some of the nerves, leading to the toes, thicken. The thickened nerves, usually between the 3rd and 4th toe or 2nd and 3rd toe may get inflamed; causing pain in the ball of the foot, where the nerve is, and or numbness in the toes served by that nerve. High heels and sharp-toed shoes have received much blame for this condition as they press the toes and foot tight; preventing adequate blood circulation and sensitivity.
Many foot conditions can be avoided if only people took proper care of their feet; starting with wearing the right footwear. Common foot problems such as Metatarsalgia, Plantar Fasciitis, Morton’s Neuroma, hammer toe, fallen arch, bunions and cones, among others, can be prevented and or corrected through wearing comfortable height and wide shoes that take the body’s pressure off some parts of the foot, and also allow free movement of the foot inside the shoe. Podiatrists recommend foot rest, comfortable footwear, drugs and sometimes surgery to correct some of the advanced foot conditions.
Image Attribution: BruceBlaus