Bunions. Blisters. Athlete’s Foot. Warts. Plantar Fasciitis. Dealing with any of these common foot conditions?

Learn more about their causes and what may bring relief.

With 33 joints and over a hundred muscles all working together to help us walk, run, jump and move, feet are complicated and delicate parts of our anatomy. At the same time though, feet naturally undergo wear and tear every day. So, when constant use or improper care meet the complex structure of our feet, many problems can arise. 

In this article, we focus on 5 of the most common foot conditions podiatrists treat. 

Plantar fasciitis 

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that attaches from the toes to the heel bone. The plantar fascia is responsible for making up part of the arch of the foot and helping you push off as you walk. Plantar fasciitis is often caused by overuse from walking and standing for prolonged periods of time or overpronation, which is the tendency to walk with your weight along the outside of your foot. 

Plantar fasciitis causes pain and stiffness along the bottom of the foot. Fortunately though, there are many inexpensive and straightforward solutions to aid in the relief of plantar fasciitis such as splints or sleeves. 

Bunions 

Normally, the thin metatarsals and phalanges that make up the long part of the feet and the toes stay in lines that are close to straight. Bunions occur when the joint between the big toe’s metatarsal bone and proximal phalange becomes unaligned and begins to angle outward. The protruding joint often becomes enlarged and misshaped over time. 

The most common causes of bunions are poor arches, pronation (walking on the outside of the foot) and wearing narrow shoes which press back against the tip of the big toe and make it buckle outwards. 

So, how can you reduce the pain caused by them? Proper footwear is a great place to start. Shop for shoes in the afternoon when feet are at their largest, and avoid purchasing shoes that press against the tops of your toes. Bunion guards can also help provide relief from pain and pressure on their hallux joint, even when wearing shoes.  

Blisters 

Blisters, or small pockets of fluid under the top layer of skin, are quite common regardless of the kinds of activities you enjoy. Caused by friction, burning, freezing, chemical exposure and infection, blisters can range from an irritating inconvenience to serious infections.  

Gel toe caps and moleskin can help offer protection from the friction that causes or worsens blisters. If you already have a blister, proper care is necessary to help prevent infection. Keep the area clean and don’t puncture it. Though they can be uncomfortable, fluid-filled blisters help keep the skin underneath clean and promote healing. 

Athlete’s Foot 

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that typically starts between the toes. It most commonly affects people whose feet are confined in sweaty, tight-fitting shoes, which produce an ideal environment for fungal growth. 

Athlete’s foot causes a scaly rash that is itchy, stings or burns on the affected area. It is contagious and can spread through contact with hard surfaces like contaminated floors as well as fabrics such as towels or clothing. When in public areas like locker rooms, you should always wear some form of footwear and use only clean towels. If you have athlete’s foot, you should be extra careful to wash socks and towels, as well as disinfect areas where you are commonly barefoot. 

Athlete’s foot can often be treated by over-the-counter medications as well as topical ointments and powders to target the fungus and help reduce moisture. It’s not uncommon for athlete’s foot to reoccur, though. If the rash persists for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. 

Plantar Warts 

Plantar warts are small, grainy skin growths typically found on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of the feetThey can also grow inward beneath a callus due to the pressure. Plantar warts can be identified by their rough texture and the pattern of small black dots, which are tiny, clotted blood vessels. 

Plantar warts are caused by HPV, which enters the body through small cuts or breaks in the bottoms of feetFortunately, plantar warts are usually harmless and disappear on their own. Over-the-counter wart removers may help get rids of warts more quickly in some cases.

Fortunately, because these foot conditions are common, there are many treatment options you can try at home. If your conditions don’t improve or they actually get worse, contact your doctor or healthcare provider right away. 

 


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