Common Foot Problems
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Taking care of your foot health is important. A crucial part of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is proper fitting shoes. Most of the population will experience foot problems during their life. When your feet hurt…you hurt all over! A medical professional should always be consulted first to obtain a proper diagnosis when pain, discomfort or injury occurs. The following are some of the most common foot problems.

Plantar Fascitis
is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia ligament which runs along the bottom of the foot. This ligament attaches at the bottom of the heel bone and extends to the forefoot. Repetitive overextension causes inflammation that leads to pain in the heel or arch area of the foot. High level of activity, lack of arch support and improper footwear are some of the most common causes for this condition.



Heel Spurs

develop as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. This bone receives the most shock, pressure and abuse. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area causing a bony protrusion or spur to develop. The spur often causes a painful irritation to the plantar fascia ligament which results in inflammation. Improper footwear, lack of arch support, foot injury and arthritis are some common causes of this condition.



Metatarsalgia

is a general term used to denote a painful condition that can affect the bones and joints found at the forefoot. It often affects the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal bones but the first joint (big toe) and 5th are not always spared from this painful condition. Improper footwear, lack of metatarsal arch support, repetitive stress and displaced metatarsal bones caused by arthritis, bunions and stress fractures can cause this condition to occur.



Bunion

is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. The bump is actually a bone protruding the inside of the foot. The displaced 1st metatarsal bone often causes the big toe to overlap the 2nd toe.





Hammer Toes

is a toe that is contracted at the middle joint in the toe. The affected toe is drawn back resulting in severe pressure and pain. The toe can rub on ill fitted footwear creating a corn and/or a callous.





Tailor's Bunion

is a prominent bump on the outside of the foot around the little toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot.





Over Pronation and Flat Feet

can cause walking to become awkward and cause strain on the feet and calves. It can lead to plantar fascitis, heel spurs, metatarsalgia and bunions. There are many causes such as weakened muscles due to aging or heavy strain placed on the feet, standing or walking for long periods in high heels, wearing shoes that do not provide proper arch support and obesity, pregnancy or repetitive pounding on a hard surface which can weaken the arch. This condition can be treated with proper fitting shoes that offer support and stability through the arch. Footwear with a firm heel counter is often recommended for extra support and stability. A custom orthotic from a medical professional should be considered to aid in arch support.

Mortons Neuroma
is a common foot problem associated with pain, swelling and/or an inflammation of a nerve, usually at the ball of the foot between the 3rd and 4th toes.





Diabetic Neuropathy

can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability for the individual with diabetes to feel pain, heat and cold. Prevention is the key in maintaining a healthy injury free diabetic foot. Shoes should be proper fitting with a high wide toe box and removable insoles for fitting flexibility and the option to insert orthotics. Rocker soles are important to reduce pressure in the ball area of the foot which is most susceptible to pain.

Proper fitting footwear with good arch support and cushioning will prevent most foot problems. Happy feet mean active feet!