Here at Feet In Motion Foot Care & Orthotics, we believe patient education and knowledge is the key to prevention and recovery, that is why we have compiled a list of the most common conditions for our patients to get familiar with and understand.
Common Foot Conditions
Often times the side of a toe nail can grow into part of the skin which can cause pain and at times become infected. It is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later to avoid more serious or chronic complications. Diabetic patients are urged to seek care immediately and to avoid treating the ingrown at home. Typically, in-office treatment options can range from conservative nail trimming to nail resection surgery. Your chiropodist will assess and treat the nail to achieve pain relief and avoid reoccurring symptoms.
Most people at some point or another will or would have had a plantar wart. Warts are superficial lesions that are caused by the Human Papillomavirus. They grow in the epidermal (top) layer of the skin and do not grow past the basement membrane – therefore they do not have roots! They infect the skin as a result of a portal of entry either from an abrasion or cut on the skin surface. Depending on what part of the foot they are found, it may be quite uncomfortable or painful to walk on, this is usually when treatment is recommended. Treatment options include topical creams, caustics, cryotherapy (freezing), needling and at times surgical removal. Your chiropodist will discuss the best option for you!
Sometimes taking care of your feet becomes a difficult task or is not recommended either because of physical limitations or because of a medical illness that make infection a key concern. For instance, patients living with Diabetes for many years can develop a loss of sensation in their feet. This can make foot care a priority as a minor cut or callus on the bottom of their feet can turn into more serious complications. Conditions like arthritis and vision problems can also make taking care of your feet a daunting task. If you suffer from any of these conditions or have any concerns about your feet, speak with your chiropodist regarding the best treatment plan for you!
Are you someone who has been suffering with heel pain as soon as you get up in the morning or after being on your feet all day? Like many out there, heel pain can plague our days. Although the cause can vary and symptoms can range from tolerable to severe, it is important to have your feet assessed to get the relief you need. The most common condition seen in practice is plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of plantar fascia band responsible for maintaining proper foot structure. Possible treatment options often encompass a combination of things such as, stretching, activity modification, topical/oral medications, therapeutic modalities, custom made orthotics or even cortisone injections.
Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin that arise from areas of increased friction or mechanical stresses either from ill fitting footwear, biomechanical abnormalities in the way you walk or boney deformities such as hammer toes or bunions. For most healthy individuals, removing calluses can be achieved by using proper moisturizers, wearing proper fitting footwear or using an emery board or pumice stone to file down the hard skin. For patients who live with diabetes or poor circulation, calluses and corns pose a greater risk for complication and they should seek the advice of a chiropodist for proper care. Possible treatment options offered by your chiropodist may include routine paring down of the callus or corn, callus-removing medications, custom made orthotics or orthopedic footwear to address areas of increased pressure. Alternatively, it may be recommended you see either an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist to address a bone alignment correction.
Do you suffer from sharp/shooting pain or tingling or numbness in your feet or toes? It is possible that this is either a result of nerve impingement or compression exeragerated by bio-mechanical abnormalities or ill fitting footwear. In other cases, an absence in nerve function can be to due to infections, poor circulation or medical illnesses such as diabetes or neurological conditions. Depending on the cause, your chiropodist may recommend conservative non-surgical treatment such as topical medications, footwear advice, custom made orthotics or in some cases, injection therapy.
A hammer toe is a bent or curled toe that can affect any of the smaller toes and usually is a result of wearing ill fitting footwear or from a muscular imbalances between the larger extrinsic muscles of the lower limb and the smaller intrinsic muscles of the foot. If a hammer toe is flexible, possible treatment either by use of strengthening exercises, proper footwear or custom made orthotics can achieve some relief. However if the toe is rigid or fixed, a referral to an orthopedic surgeon may warrant surgery.
A bunion is a progressive deviation in the big toe toward the smaller, lesser toes. It can result in a larger boney outgrowth called an exotosis and at times an inflamed bursa. Subsequently, a bunion can coincide with pain and arthritic changes in the joint. There is no single cause for a bunion to develop. A combination of bio-mechanical and systemic factors can contribute to its existent and certain types of footwear can exacerbate its signs and symptoms. Treatment of bunions range from conservative management of soft tissue or nail involvement, custom made orthotics to address the bio-mechanical dysfunction of the foot or a referral to an orthopedic surgeon if surgical correction is needed as a last resort.
A child’s growing feet can often pose some questions and challenges to parents and practitioners. What is normal vs what is abnormal in terms for their foot structure and appearance can vary especially when it comes to the age of child or the activities they take part in. Children will start to walk in a heel to toe fashion around 3-4 years of age and this is generally when we can assess what may be a bio-mechanical anomaly or abnormality. If you are concerned about your child's feet or notice any of the following: foot/leg pain with activity, warts, ingrown toe nails, swollen/red heels, flat feet, walking on tippy toes, in-toed/out-toed walking, excessive wear on your child's shoes or itchy/peeling skin, then be sure to contact Feet In Motion, and speak with your chiropodist today!
Nail fungus is a common dermatological infection of the nail bed and nail plate. Fungi are organisms better known as dermatophytes which breakdown the keratin in the nails causing them to be discoloured, thickened or brittle in appearance, and malodour. Predisposing factors include using contaminated nail tools (i.e. from nail salons) or warm moist environments either from gym shoes or communal areas. It can be difficult to treat fungal nails, especially if the infection has been there for years. Therefore it’s important to discuss the treatment options available with your chiropodist.
Some people may notice they have flat feet or lack of an arch when standing. This foot type can be of functional, congenital, acquired or neuromuscular origin. Having flat feet may be asymptomatic or symptomatic, but that depends on the body weight, daily activities, the type of footwear the person wears and other bio-mechanical factors. Having a flat or fallen arch can predispose you having certain foot and lower limb condition such as, plantar arch pain, calluses, bunions or postural symptoms like lower back pain. Depending on the type and severity, flat feet can be treated with OTC (over-the-counter drugs) or custom made orthotics, proper footwear, but in some rare cases orthopedic surgery is needed to gain relief.
High arches or a high medial instep is often related to neuromuscular, congenital abnormalities or can be inherited by your family genes! Treatment depends on the presenting symptoms and amount of range of motion in particular joints of the foot. Your chiropodist will assess your foot structure & gait and determine the right type of footwear or custom orthotics needed to achieve pressure redistribution and pain relief. Patient education is key to understanding how your foot functions and what may be triggers for foot pain in the future.
Exercising and playing sports bring great cardiovascular benefits, but sometimes injury can occur and can take its toll on our bodies. Injury can result from improper training technique or spots gear, accidents, not stretching or warming up properly. In our chiropody clinic, we see a variety of sports related injuries. Below are a few of the common ones we see.
Shin splints are a painful strain on the front of the lower limb particularly when taking part in running or high impact activities. The tendons and muscles in the front of the tibia bone are repetitively firing to support the foot during the activity so a transient inflammation takes places. It is common to see shin splints in patients with a flat foot when weight-bearing or with tight leg muscles. An assessment will be conducted to determine the bio-mechanical predisposition to this condition. Some of the treatment options include taping, activity modification, custom made orthotics or supportive, motion control footwear.
An inflammation at the Achilles tendon insertion into the heel bone. It can be caused by an acute injury mostly like stepping on/off stairs or jumping or can be chronic inflammation worsened by the bio-mechanical strain on the tendon. Predisposing factors include have a collapse arch or tight Achilles tendon. Recovery can be slow due to the anatomy of the area so patience is a virtue.
Bursitis is an inflamed bursa sac either as a result of infection, acute or chronic injury. Mechanical stresses or friction can cause a bursitis form. Common sites of Bursitis on the foot include the plantar aspect of the heel, the big toe joint or the outside of the fifth toe joints. Short term treatment will mostly involve pain management and eventually offloading the area of pressure. This can be achieved with use of padding, digital devices or custom made orthotics.
Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) are classified as an open sore or wound in the foot and are a major complication of diabetes mellitus. It is reported that 15% of diabetics will have a foot ulcer on the bottom for their foot and approximately 6% of these patients will develop an infection which will require hospitalization (according to the APMA). Longstanding and uncontrolled elevated blood sugars are the leading cause of nerve damage in the foot and hands for a lot of diabetic patients and it is this reason that a minor callus, corn, or cut on the bottom of the foot can result in an open wound, infection or in severe cases - amputation. After a thorough vascular and dermatological assessment of the wound, the main goal of your chiropodist, will be to offload and heal the wound quickly. Subsequent referrals from your family physician or other specialists may be required to ensure the healing process goes to plan and that preventative care is practiced in the future.