We can often take our feet for granted. They do a lot of work in your everyday life by holding up your weight as you walk and stand. While your feet are very powerful, they are susceptible to various ailments from all of the work they put in. Luckily, many of them can be prevented and treated. To help you keep your feet in the best shape possible, here are some of the most common foot problems and their causes.
Athlete’s foot tends to be signified by itching, burning, and pain in the foot. It is contagious, and you get it when you come into contact with fungi and bacteria. It thrives very well in moist areas, such as locker rooms and swimming pools. Sweating while wearing socks and not changing and cleaning your feet can also cause this condition. To avoid it, make sure that you keep your feet clean and dry after they get wet or if you have been sweating. Change your socks regularly as well. If you do get athlete’s foot, then there are over-the-counter treatments for mild cases, and prescription treatments for more severe cases.
Plantar fasciitis presents as pain in your heel or in the middle of your foot. It can make it very hard to walk for any extended length of time. It is most often caused when someone wears footwear that does not adequately support the arch of the foot. Without proper support, the plantar fascia ligament will get worn down and strained. This condition tends to build up over time, so you might not notice that it’s happening until it’s too late. If you do have it, you will need to rest, apply ice to the affected spot, take pain medications, and do some foot stretches to re-strengthen the ligament. In more severe cases the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, surgery, or physical therapy.
When you are standing straight up, your foot, ankle, and leg should all be in alignment. However, due to injury or poor ankle posture, your ankle can bend inward, which places pressure on your sinus tarsi. This will make it painful and even awkward to walk. It can also lead to other unwanted conditions like hammertoes, bunions, flatfeet, calluses, and even plantar fasciitis. You can use products like Protalus insoles to help realign your feet so that the pressure is taken off the nerve and you can walk more comfortably. If the issue persists, then you should consult your doctor.
Gout is often described as feeling like your foot is burning. It is usually present in the big toe, and is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Some people develop chronic gout that can last for long periods of time and will eventually damage the body further than the toes by moving on to joints. The best way to prevent gout is by changing up eating habits. Diets heavy in red meats and seafood, and alcohol, can lead to gout. Obesity and high blood pressure can also cause uric acid to build up. If you already have gout, then you should consult a doctor for treatment options. Often a doctor will start with lifestyle changes and then move on to other interventions if necessary.
An ingrown toenail happens with a nail that is able to grow into the skin of the toe rather than straight ahead. This is usually just a matter of having the genetics that cause curving toenails, but it can also happen because of personal habits. If you do not regularly trim your nails, or if your toes are compressed by shoes or socks, then the nails can start to dig into the skin. In some cases, it can be very painful to walk. If you have one, then trim carefully, and soothe the area by soaking in warm water and using antibiotics to prevent infection. If it is infected or is too ingrown to trim or remove, then you may require further treatments, such as surgery.
Millions of Americans have foot issues that need care. Make sure to prevent the most common ones by knowing their causes and taking proactive steps to keep your feet healthy and strong.