Foot Health

 

Achillies Tendonitis Achillies tendonitis causes inflammation and degeneration of the achilles tendon. The achilles tendon is the large tendon (more...) located in the back of the leg that inserts into the heel. The pain caused by achilles tendonitis can develop gradually without a history of trauma. The pain can be a shooting pain, burning pain, or even an extremely piercing pain. Achillies tendonitis should not be left untreated due to the danger that the tendon can become weak and ruptured. Achillies Tendonitis is aggravated by activities that repeatedly stress the tendon, causing inflammation. In some cases even prolonged periods of standing can cause symptoms. It is a common problem often experienced by athletes, particularly distance runners. Achillies Tendonitis is a difficult injury to treat in athletes due to their high level of activity and reluctance to stop or slow down their training. Individuals who suffer from achilles tendonitis often complain that their first steps out of bed in the morning are extremely painful. Another common complaint is pain after steps are taken after long periods of sitting. This pain often lessens with activity.

 

Arch Pain / Arch Strain The term arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.

 

Arthritis Definition Arthritis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the body’s joints. Inflammation causes redness, warmth, pain and swelling. There are about 40 million Americans who suffer from arthritis. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, estimates that by the year 2020, about 60 million Americans will have arthritis. The primary targets for arthritis are people over the age of 50. Arthritis is a major cause of foot pain because each foot has 33 joints that can become affected by the disease.

 

Athlete’s Foot  Definition Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that (more...) causes red, dry, flaking skin, sometimes accompanied by pain or itching. The condition usually occurs between the toes or on the soles or sides of the feet. In its acute stage, the infected foot exhibits blisters that itch or “weep.” Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, causing chronic fungal infections. Often when a patient thinks the feet are only dry and cracking, Athlete’s Foot is responsible for the problem.

 

Bunions  Definition Bunions, referred to in the medical community (more...) as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe towards the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. This causes a common forefoot condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. The discomfort commonly causes a patient to walk improperly. Another type of bunion which some individuals experience is called a Tailor's Bunion, also known as a Bunionette. This forms on the outside of the foot towards the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump that forms due to the little toe moving inwards, towards the big toe.

 

Calluses Definition The formation of calluses is caused by an (more...) accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. This callus formation isthe body's defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe. Some calluses have a deep seated core known as a nucleation. This particular type of callus can be especially painful to pressure. This condition is often referred to as Intractable Plantar Keratosis.

 

Claw Toes A claw toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP and DIP joints (middle and end joints in the toe), and can lead to severe (more...) pressure and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards. Claw toes may occur in any toe, except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe that is rubbing against the shoe and at the end of the toe that is pressed against the bottom of the shoe.

 

Corns Corns like calluses develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells on the foot, forming thick, hardened areas. They contain a cone-shaped core with a point that can press on a nerve below, causing pain. Corns are a very common ailment that usually form on the tops, sides and tips of the toes. Corns can become inflamed due to constant friction and pressure from footwear. Corns that form between the toes are sometimes referred to as soft corns.

 

The Diabetic Foot Diabetes is a serious disease that can develop from lack of insulin production in the body or due to the inability of the body's insulin to perform its normal everyday functions. Insulin is a substance produced by the pancreas gland that helps process the food we eat and turn it into energy. Diabetes affects approximately 16 million Americans and is classified into 2 different types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually associated with juvenile diabetes and is often linked to heredity. Type 2, commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes, is characterized by elevated blood sugars, often in people who are overweight or have not attended to their diet properly. Many complications can be associated with diabetes. Diabetes disrupts the vascular system, affecting many areas of the body such as the eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet. People with diabetes should pay special attention to their feet.

 

Hammer Toes A hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP joint (middle joint in the toe), potentially leading to severe pressure  and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards. Hammer toes may occur in any toe except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe due to rubbing against the shoe. Hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types - flexible and rigid. In a flexible hammer toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of hammer toe can be straightened manually. A rigid hammer toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses. Follow this link to learn more about hammer toe products.

 

Heel Fissures Heel fissures, also known as cracked heels can be a simple cosmetic problem and a nuisance, but can also lead to serious  medical problems. Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful or bleed. Heel Pain Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.

 

Heel Spurs The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an  abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.

 

Ingrown Toenails Known to physicians as onychocryptosis, ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one  or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

 

Mallet Toes Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort.

 

Metatarsalgia Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, more commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-the-foot. Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).

 

Morton’s Neuroma Morton's Neuroma is a common foot problem associated with pain, swelling and/or an inflammation of a nerve, usually at (more...) the ball-of-the-foot between the 3rd and 4th toes. Symptoms of this condition include sharp pain, burning, and even a lack of feeling in the affected area. Morton's Neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot.

 

Morton’s Toe Morton's Toe is a common forefoot disorder where the second toe is longer than the Big Toe (the Hallux). Neuropathy Of the 16 million Americans with diabetes, 25% develop foot problems related to the disease. This is primarily due to a (more...) condition called neuropathy.

 

Diabetic Neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the nerves. The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy and affects the peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that go out from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin, internal organs, and glands. Peripheral neuropathy impairs proper functioning of these sensory and motor nerves. The most common symptoms of neuropathy include numbness and loss of feeling, usually in the feet and hands.

 

Overlapping Toes Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. People of all  ages can experience forefoot problems. Overlapping toes can occur in any of the toes and can cause extreme irritation if not corrected.

 

Over Pronation Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person's arch  collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, potentially causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.

 

Plantar Fasciitis Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of  fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.

 

Post-Tib Tendonitis Post-Tib Tendonitis is a strain placed on the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the  ankle and the foot. When there is post-tibial tendon disfunction, the tendon does not function to hold up the arch, resulting in flat feet. This can lead to heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs. With post-tib tendonitis, pain will be more severe upon weight bearing, especially while walking or running.

 

Pregnancy and Your Feet Pregnancy triggers many different changes in a woman's body. Many women have common complaints throughout (more...) their pregnancy. One of these complaints, often overlooked, is foot pain. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity is completely altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance and added pressure to the knees and feet.Two of the most common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation and edema. These problems can lead to pain at the heel, arch, or the ball-of-foot. Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins due to weight gain. Because of this, it is important for all pregnant women to learn more about foot health during their pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable for them. Two of the most common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over-pronation and edema. These problems can lead to pain at the heel, arch, or the ball-of-foot. Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins due to weight gain. Because of this, it is important for all pregnant women to learn more about foot health during their pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable for them.

 

Sesamoiditis Sesamoiditis is a common ailment that affects the forefoot, typically in young people who engage in physical activity like  running or dancing. Its most common symptom is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial or inner side. The term is a general description for any irritation of the sesamoid bones, which are tiny bones within the tendons that run to the big toe. Like the kneecap, the sesamoids function as a pulley, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. Every time you push off against the toe the sesamoids are involved, and eventually they can become irritated, even fractured. Because the bones are actually within the tendons, sesamoiditis is really a kind of tendinitis - the tendons around the bones become inflamed as well.

 

Shin Splints Shin splints are a common lower extremity complaint, especially among runners and other athletes. They are characterized by pain in the front or inside aspect of the lower leg due to overexertion of the muscles. The pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and might begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (Tibia) after running or even walking. Small bumps and tender areas may become evident adjacent to the shin bone. The pain can become more intense if not addressed, and shin splints should not be left untreated because of an increased risk of developing stress fractures. Shin splints usually involve small tears in the leg muscles where they are attached to the shin bone. The two types of shin splints are: anterior shin splints, in the front portion of the tibia; and posterior shin splints, occurring on the inside of the leg along the tibia.

 

Toenail Fungus Toenail fungus, known by physicians as Onychomycosis, affects about half of Americans by the age of 70. It is relatively rare in children, but the incidence increases with age. Fungus infections occur when microscopic fungi gain entry through a small trauma in the nail, then grow and spread in the warm, moist environment inside the patient's socks and shoes. Symptoms of toenail fungus, which can be caused by several types of fungi, include swelling, yellowing, thickening or crumbling of the nail, streaks or spots down the side of the nail, and even complete loss of the nail. Toenail colour can vary from brown or yellow to white with this condition. Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well as the toenails, but toenail fungus is more difficult to treat because toenails grow more slowly. It occurs most often on the big or small toe, but might occur on any toe.

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