Foot Problems
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We tend not to take care of our feet until we have severe foot problems. In fact foot problems can be of varied variety and each has its own sets of causes. In this article we discuss a varied range of foot problems and the treatments which are necessary.

Types of Foot Problems

Calluses – Calluses can occur anywhere on the foot due to continuous rubbing or uneven pressure. The heel, the ball of the foot, sides of toes etc are common areas of callus formation.

Corns – Calluses develop into corns over time. Soft corns appear between toes due to unusual pressure, while hard corns occur at the top or ends of toes or the soles of feet.

Plantar fasciitis – Helping to maintain the shape and structure of the foot, plantar fasciitis is a fibrous band between the heel and the base of the toes that can cause severe pain. It can produce small abrasions on the heel and cause pain upon inflammation. This pain occurs in the morning, usually, and also after long walks. People with flat feet, high arches, weight problems and sudden activity may develop foot problems like this.

Athlete’s foot – This is a fungal infection which makes for red, sore and itching skin. Left untreated, this can start to crack and the skin can begin to peel off.

Toenail problems – A hurt toenail can show white spots, and with age, vertical ridges and fungal infections might appear.

Verrucas – Viral infection can cause tiny black spots to appear on the skin. They are similar to warts on hands, and are hard to find when they are small. One can be infected by walking barefoot, especially in gym showers and swimming pool areas.

Bunions – These are painful inflammations at the joints of big toes. These can have a variety of causes, from being genetic to being caused by just a poorly fitting shoe.

Heel pain – This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, and often found with a bony protrusion called the heel spur.

Morton’s Neuroma – A nerve pinched by tight shoes that squeeze foot bones together causes Morton’s neuroma. Pain usually occurs between third and forth toes, and may radiate to other toes. It is caused by a neuroma, or extra tissue built in the nerve as a result of the pressure.

Hammertoes – This is a permanent sideways bent in the middle toe joint. Tight shoes make this worse, and corns may develop, causing pain over the bony areas on the toe.

Plantar warts – These result from viral infections, and they grow inward, unlike other warts, causing severe pain while walking.

Treatments of Foot Problems

There are two types of corn-plasters, medicated and un-medicated, that can help alleviate corns. The salicylic acid present in the former helps soften the skin, but diabetics are to avoid the use of these, and they should not be used on delicate skins. Non-medicated plasters relieve pressure from the corns and are more effective. Pumice stones and emery boards do not remove the painful corn “root” and are not much helpful. Moisturizing, with some constraints, can also be helpful.

Plantar fasciitis can be alleviated by rests, but takes longer than actual treatment involving anti-inflammatory medicines, wearing correctly fitted footwear, and using ice packs.

Athlete’s foot, if moist, should be treated with an anti-fungal spray; dry areas require anti-fungal cream. Recurrence can be stopped by keeping the feet dry and clean.

Toenail problems are usually treated by surgical removal of the offending nails or spikes, but antibiotics and cleansings are also required. Operations are rarely required.

Verrucas are treated with salicylic acid, but liquid nitrogen, electro surgery, laser and surgery are also in vogue.

Bunions are commonly treated by wearing right-fitting shoes, but surgery might become necessary in severe cases.

Heel pain is treated with medication to reduce swellings, but steroids and walking casts are used in severe cases, even surgery.

Morton’s neuroma requires oral medications to reduce nerve swellings, and sole pads are also used. Cortisones injected around the nerves and surgery are other options.

Hammertoes are treated with better fitting shoes, but surgery might sometimes become a necessity. Plantar warts can be treated with salicylic acid, injections, freezing the wart using liquid nitrogen, and surgery.

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