TOP FIVE FOOT PROBLEMS: SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT ATHLETE’S FOOT, BUNIONS, FOOT PAIN, HAMMERTOES, HEEL PAIN, METATARSALGIA, ORTHOPEDIC SHOES, ORTHOTIC INSOLE, PLANTAR FASCIITIS
Top Five Foot Problems: Symptoms and Treatment
Athlete’s foot, bunions, foot pain, Hammertoes, heel pain, metatarsalgia, orthopedic shoes, orthotic insole, plantar fasciitis
According to statistical reports, about 75% of the people in the USA suffer from foot problems at some time in their lives. The causes of foot problems can range from ill-fitted shoes to medical conditions, to sports-related injuries. Whatever the cause, foot problems and foot pain can interfere with our daily functioning and even be debilitating. Because of this, we thought a brief discussion on common foot problems and treatment for each condition would be helpful.
1. Plantar Fasciitis – One of the most common causes of heel pain, is typically just in front of the heel, and can occur when the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes becomes swollen and inflamed. There are several things you can do to help treat plantar fasciitis. They include the following:
performing stretching and strengthening exercises
icing your heels
using night splints
wearing shoes with good arch support and supportive insoles
taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling
2. Athlete’s Foot: Athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis, is caused by a fungus that likes warm, dark, and moist environments such as the skin on the bottom of the feet and the areas between the toes. Athlete’s foot can even spread to the hands and feet if not treated in time. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can cause inflammation of the skin in the affected area as well as other symptoms such as a white, scaly rash with a red base and foot odor. People with athlete’s foot might also experience itching and burning sensations and the skin on their feet might peel. The most effective way to avoid athlete’s foot is to keep your feet and toes clean and dry and to regularly change your shoes and socks. Treatment methods for athletes foot include the following:
applying over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays to the affected areas
wearing sandals or going barefoot as much as possible so that your feet get plenty of air
Using synthetic socks, which don’t trap moisture, rather than cotton or wool socks which tend to trap moisture and thus promote fungal growth.
3. Metatarsalgia – Another common foot problem, metatarsalgia is characterized by pain in the ball of the foot area and is often, acute, chronic, and recurrent. People suffering from metatarsalgia might experience sharp pain, burning sensations, shooting pain and other discomforts. While metatarsalgia can have a variety of causes, there are effective treatments and specific measures to take that alleviate the pain it generates:
wear supportive shoes that feature orthotic insoles with arch support and extra cushioning under the ball of the foot
elevate and rest your foot whenever you can after standing or walking
ice the affected area for 20 minutes several times a day
take OTC pain relief medicine such as Advil to help reduce pain and inflammation
4. Bunions – Bunions are another leading foot problem and a major cause of discomfort for people that suffer from them. Bunions can occur on both the big toe and the little toe and appear as a big red bump at the base of the toe. Treatment depends on the severity of the problem. Some of the measures you can take to alleviate the discomfort caused by bunions are listed below:
purchase good supportive shoes with a roomy toe area and functional orthotic insoles
maintain a normal and consistent weight
use warm soaks, ice packs, OTC anti-inflammatory medication, and even massage to reduce swelling and discomfort
per a doctor’s guidance, you may use a splint to help straighten out the toe
in severe cases, surgery might be necessary
5. Hammertoes – Hammertoes often run in families and usually affect the second toe, but can affect all three of the middle toes. The condition is caused by a weakened muscle, which makes the tendons shorter, causing the toe to curl under the feet, hence the name hammertoe. Treatment for hammertoes include the following:
performing exercises to help correct the problem such as gently stretching the bent toe joints
placing icepacks wrapped in cloth on the hammertoe and gently massaging the toe to relieve pain
If wearing high heels – wearing heels under 2”.
most importantly, wearing extra depth shoes with good arch support and a deep toe box.
If you find that therapeutic footwear and orthotic heat moldable customized insoles do not help relieve your feet issues, be sure to consult with a podiatrist to determine the cause of the discomfort and relevant treatment.
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