Our feet take on a lot of work on a daily basis as they carry us from one point to another. Besides giving us mobility, feet give us balance and support as we walk, run, jump, or climb. Research estimates that by the time you get to the age of 50, you will have walked a staggering 75,000 miles. However, many people hardly pay attention to them until they start experiencing problems.
This part of the body is at risk of many injuries, with diabetes, aging, and improper footwear being the main contributors to foot problems. Continue reading to learn about the most common foot problems and how you can manage them.
This is one of the most common causes of foot pain. This condition affects the heel, sole, and arch of the foot when the plantar fascia muscle connecting the heel bone to the toes becomes inflamed or torn. The inflammation is common with people that engage in high-impact activities like dancing, jogging, or basketball. However, it can still affect people that lead sedentary lifestyles.
It is most common in the morning when getting out of bed, manifesting as a sharp or stabbing-like kind of pain that makes walking unbearable, intensifying with activity. Treatment options include the following:
- Choosing proper footwear that supports the foot’s arch and has a cushioned heel
- Wearing shoes with a low to minimal heel height and plenty of toe room
- Resting the foot and place ice on it
- Taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers
- Doing plantar fasciitis exercises for the foot and heel
- Getting a deep tissue massage
This foot problem is caused by a fungus, affecting areas between the bottom of the feet and the toes. The ailment affects both athletes and non-athletes, thriving in warm, damp places. The skin gets inflamed, causing an itchy, white, scaly rash with a red base, and may at times have an odor. This fungus is very contagious and spreads through contact with contaminated towels, floors, or shoes. Treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter antifungal sprays, powders, or lotions
- Wearing sandals in public places like the gym or swimming pool
- Seeing a doctor if the infection spreads or persists
This is a condition where the nail begins to grow into the nail’s groove, causing lots of pain and discomfort. If the problem goes untreated, it can cause an infection. Ingrown toenails are caused by wearing ill-fitting shoes, causing pressure on the toes. Other causes include poor trimming of toenails, trauma from running, or even a family history of having ingrown toenails. Treatment options include:
- Wearing shoes that fit well and are not too narrow at the toe area
- Cutting toenails straight across, not in a rounded pattern
- Washing your feet with antibacterial soap and dry them well
Bunions are foot abnormalities that cause a bump to develop on the joint area of the large toe, causing the toe to bend inwards. It is caused by narrow or tight shoe pressure to the metatarsophalangeal joint. Women are likely to develop bunions from wearing narrow footwear that increases pressure on the toes. Other causes include a family history of bunions, polio, and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment options include:
- Wearing well-fitting shoes
- Buying bunion pads for toe protection
- Custom-made shoe inserts and splints to straighten the toe
- Corrective surgery
Corns are a buildup of thick, tough skin on the foot or toe at a point of pressure or irritation. They appear as a circle caused by ill-fitting shoes, age, hammertoes, or bunions. Corns are normally painless at the beginning but become very painful over time when left untreated. Treatment options include:
- The use of corn plasters that are available over the counter
- The use of customized padding for pressure redistribution
- Surgical removal
Exercising your feet, toes, and ankles can significantly help ease foot pain, discomforts and reduce chances of injury. However, if home-based treatments do not seem to work on your foot condition, see a doctor.