Common Foot Problems
COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS… This week we will cover some of the most common foot problems and offer some treatment options.
Plantar Fasciitis: This describes pain at the bottom of the foot usually near the heel area. Many times patients will describe their heel pain as a heel spur. While it is true that many people who suffer from plantar fasciitis do in fact have heel spurs, the heel spurs by themselves do not cause pain. Heel spurs are caused by the abnormal stress placed on the connective tissue (plantar fascia). Because of the added stress on the bone, a heel spur can form. Common causes for this condition are tight calf muscles, flat feet, desk jobs, excessive standing and obesity. Common treatments for this condition are stretching the calf muscles with exercise or wearing night splints to help stretch the muscles and connective tissues. Ice after activity, kinesiotaping, rest, arch supports and losing weight are also effective techniques to manage this condition.
Bunion: This describes the enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint of the big toe. Sometimes this condition can cause the big toe to turn into the second toe. This condition can lead to irritated skin around the joint, swelling, redness and pain when walking. Blisters may form more easily around the bunion. Bunions can be caused by mechanical problems in the mid-foot area, past injuries to the foot and connective tissue disorders.
Treatment options for bunions are alterations in foot wear, orthotics with padding and surgery.
Morton’s Neuroma / Morton’s Neuralgia: This is a condition that is described as pain, burning, numbness or abnormal sensations in the foot with weight bearing. Symptoms usually appear between the third and fourth toe, but may affect other areas as well. Treatments include orthotics, injections and surgery. This condition is believed to be caused by overuse or abuse of the feet, obesity or a general loss of health.
The above mentioned conditions can be prevented or greatly reduced in severity with lifestyle modifications. Such lifestyle modifications include: maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and proper stretching and good, properly fitted foot wear.