The foundation of your body is your feet, and they assist us in some of life’s most basic functions. Each foot contains 26 bones controlled by multiple ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Everyday living activities can change feet structurally over time, resulting in a number of medical conditions and deformities. The feet are also susceptible to infections — including infections with bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Systemic diseases can also affect and change the feet, limiting daily activity and quality of life.
Today, we know more about the foot and ankle than we ever have because of the hard work of podiatrists. There has been extensive development of non-invasive treatments such as orthotic therapy and treating a variety of conditions. Also, surgery may be more accurate with a faster recovery than any previous time in history, although often not required due to improvements in orthotic therapy. Here are some common foot ailments that we treat at The Foot Health Center.
Bunions are a common condition that is associated equally with genetic inheritance as a result of poor gait. A bunion’s medical term is “Hallux Abducto Valgus,” which refers to the big toe’s motion as its tip starts pointing inward, and the first metatarsal appears to boom outward. When they become extreme, bunions can be painful and unsightly. We recommend trying orthotic therapy before resorting to surgical solutions. Because orthotics help stabilize the foot and forces acting on its bones and ligaments during gait, they can reduce a bunion’s discomfort and prevent exaggeration of the condition.
Another very common ailment is Heel Spurs. A heel spur is a small composition of calcium on the calcaneus ‘ plantar surface or heel bone. Overpronation causes the tissues below the foot to stretch too much where they connect with the calcaneus. Overstretching at the insertion point of the tissues can lead to calcium buildup that causes discomfort. An operation is again a potential solution, but long recovery times and other complications make less invasive treatments a better option. Foot orthotics not only relieve tension on the plantar fascia but also add padding under the heel and reduce direct force after impact.
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition and usually treated with orthotic therapy. At some point in their life, nearly everyone experiences plantar fasciitis. It eventually leads to the overstretching of the plantar fascia when overpronation continues. The plantar fascia has limited flexibility, and small tears may occur, resulting in discomfort or even severe pain. This condition is characterized by sharp pain while standing, especially in the morning when you get out of bed, and overuse and fatigue can make arches very sore. Orthotics are a perfect solution to this ailment because they prevent overstretching of the plantar fascia and decreasing pain. Why go through the trouble of surgery when a simple orthotic insole is all that is needed?
Corns And Calluses
Corns and calluses are also common foot troubles. Most adults have them, and sometimes they do not cause any noticeable symptoms. There are also situations where tissue build-ups and dead skin can become quite painful. An orthotic insole properly sized can help improve the transfer of forces during movement and reduce pressure on the painful area.
Hammertoes, often referred to as claw toes or mallet toes are usually benign but can be very uncomfortable. There is a common addition to custom foot orthotics known as a “toe crest” which is inserted inside the shoe to provide grip. A properly sized foot orthotic with a toe crest may need to be custom made, but it will help alleviate discomfort by evenly distributing ambulatory forces. The development of hammertoes is an excellent example of how incorrect foot alignment can result in a deformation that adversely affects the feet’s shape and function. By properly supporting the foot arch and relieving undue pressure on its structures, the pressure is relieved, and toes can function normally.
Athlete’s Foot is a skin disease caused by a tinea fungus. This fungus thrives in warm, dark and sometimes humid environments like inside the shoe, edges of the swimming pool, showers, etc. The fungus can be passed by direct contact with another infected person or by touching the fungus-contaminated surfaces. Practice good hygiene for your feet! The skin should be bathed every day and kept dry by frequently changing socks or tights. A mild fungicidal drying powder can also be used on the feet and in the shoes.
We Help You Maintain Foot Fitness
If your arches ache or your heels hurt, or if you are battling bursitis or gout you are not alone. You are among the three out of four Americans who suffer a foot ailment in their lifetime. At the Foot Health Center, we can help you discover and treat those conditions that can make walking painful. We want you to achieve and maintain the “foot fitness” that will help you stay mobile, active, and engaged throughout your life. Call us today to schedule a consultation!