Your foot is a complex mechanical system comprising 100 muscles and ligaments, 33 joints, and 26 bones. When any of these parts is injured or in pain, it affects your day-to-day life. This elaborate structure needs care; a regular visit to a foot doctor is an investment in long-term foot health and strength. Here are eight common foot symptoms a podiatrist addresses.
A bunion is a deformity of the big toe joint. Bunions develop from repeated stress on the joints of the big toe. They occur when the bunion moves toward one end of your foot, rubbing against your shoe with every step.
These bony bumps along the outer part of your foot can cause intense pain and disability if left untreated. They’re commonly inherited from family members or caused by wearing narrow shoes. Inflammation and bursitis, painful tendonitis, are two common conditions resulting from bunions.
2. Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are an infection that develops on the skin’s surface around the toes. The condition causes itchiness and tenderness, a dull ache, and can become red and swollen. It occurs when the corner or side of the nail becomes embedded in the nail bed. The most common culprit is the big toe, but ingrown nails can occur on any toe.
Tendonitis is a tendon inflammation that occurs when you have overexerted your foot muscles. The plantar flexors and ligaments are the most commonly damaged muscles and tendons. They usually happen in your Achilles tendon and can radiate to the rest of your foot. A flat foot can also cause tendonitis.
The joints in your foot are critical to your entire foot functioning. They allow you to move, bend, and support your body while protecting your feet from injury. Many types of arthritis can affect the joints of your feet.
Osteoarthritis, the most common kind, is a degenerative condition that occurs mainly in older individuals. It commonly causes the end of your big toe to become swollen or painful when you walk. Treatment for arthritis depends on which type you have and how severe it is. It includes pain medicine, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. Arthritis can also affect the ligaments and tendons in your feet.
5. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the thick tissue that connects and supports the arch of your foot. It forms a tight band that runs from the heel to the toes. The condition is most common among runners.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by overuse or strain on the Achilles tendon. Symptoms include discomfort and pain in the heel area. Most people feel the pain when they get out of bed in the morning or when walking downhill. You may also feel a stabbing sensation in the bottom of your foot when you take the first step after prolonged sitting.
Hammertoe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe that causes it to bend at an angle toward the shorter toe. It is caused by tight ligaments and tendons that cannot support and hold these toes straight. The condition is mainly inherited from family members who have the same problem.
Symptoms include pain, blisters, pinching, and corns. You may also feel tenderness in the ball of your foot, where your toes meet.
7. Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are small outgrowths of bone at the back of your heel that may develop in response to injury or repeated stress on the heel area. They are caused by an excessive pull on the plantar fascia. This force can also damage the Achilles tendon.
Symptoms may include pain and tenderness in the back of your heel, along with ongoing pain when walking or standing. You may feel a stab or point of pain coming from the back of your heel.
8. Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a troublesome nail infection. It affects most people and can occur in any part of your nails, but it is most common on your big toe. The condition causes your nails to thicken and discolor due to a fungus build-up underneath your nails.
Visit a Professional Foot Doctor
There are many foot problems, but these are the most prevalent ones. These conditions may not sound serious but they can cause pain and discomfort. Regular foot doctor visits can help prevent these problems and keep your feet healthy.