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COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS

On this page:

 

Common Foot Problems
Athlete's Foot
Fissures
Calluses 
Corns
Warts
Ingrown Nails
Bunions
Hammer, Clawed, and Mallet Toes

Fissures (cracks in skin)

 

Definition: A fissure occurs when the skin breaks and causes painful thin slits in the skin, usually found within a thick heel callus; may become deep and bleed and cause severe burning and discomfort.

Causes: Often associated with dry skin condition or calluses, improperly fitting footwear, vascular involvement, infection, obesity, open heel footwear, eczema and psoriasis, or it can be caused by a moist environment.

Prevention & Treatment: Avoid excessive hot baths, use appropriate moisturizer and a strong skin barrier. Use of proper footwear, and/or orthotics. Routine foot care treatment for reduction of callus.

Calluses

Definition: Wide area of thickened skin, usually causing discomfort. 

Causes: Improperly fitting footwear, pressure points.

Prevention & Treatment: Dry feet properly after bathing, use appropriate moisturizer, proper fitting footwear and/or orthotics, routine foot care treatment for reduction of callus.

Corns

Definition: Horny thickening of skin in a small area. Sometimes found in the center of calluses, pressure points, between toes. Some say the sensation is like walking on a small stone or piece of glass in the foot. 

Causes: Improperly fitting footwear, pressure points.

Prevention & Treatment: Appropriate moisturizer, proper fitting footwear and/or orthotics, routine foot care treatment for reductions of corn.

Warts

 

Definition: Virus that invades into healthy tissues of the middle layer of skin, spreading natural skin lines around the virus. 

Causes: Virus enters the skin. 

Prevention & Treatment: Keep skin well hydrated to prevent skin from cracking, protect feet from injuries or activities that may puncture the skin, and avoid going barefoot in public areas such as pools. For treatment seek assistance from a physician, may require use of liquid nitrogen. Over the counter products may be used as well. Duct tape to the area has been reported to be effective by several practicitioners, including dermatologists, however clinical trials have not been made at this point. 

Athlete's Foot

 

Definition: The most common foot infection caused by fungus, which presents first between the toes with a whitish, moist appearance. It is frequently associated with fissures and is itchy and odourous. 

Causes: Fungus thrives on moist, warm environments such as feet and can enter skin through cracks.

Prevention & Treatment: Change socks throughout the day, maintain good daily foot habits, avoid going barefoot in public change rooms or pools, and disinfect tubs and showers regularly. See a physician about antifungal creams, powders, or sprays. Wash and dry inbetween toes and use antifungal agents. 

Ingrown Nails

 

Definition: A painful condition where the nail grows and cuts into the surrounding skin.

Causes:  Improper trimming of the toe nails, genetic conditions, improper footwear, and trauma to the nail.  

Prevention & Treatment: When trimming and filing nails, make sure it's done straight across the nail. Avoid tight fitting hosiery and footwear. If nail becomes infected it may requre treatment from a physcian or trimming/removal from a podiatrist. 

Bunions

 

Definition: Most common forefoot deformity causing a displacement of the 'big toe' often forming a protrusion called a bunion. The bunion may be inflamed as a result of external pressures from footwear. Can also cause toes to overlap. 

Causes: Poorly fitting footwear, family history, arthritis, weak ligaments of the foot, or trauma,

Prevention & Treatment: Avoid wearing high heels and wear proper fitting footwear and/or orthotics. Use ice on inflamed bunions. Discuss surgical options with physician. 

Hammer, Clawed, or Mallet Toes

 

Definition: Hammer, clawed, or mallet toes are abnormalities of the toe joints (see picture). Conditions may or may not be fixable.

Causes: Often associated with difficulty in fitting off-the-shelf footwear, arthritis, diabetes, corns, calluses, and ulceration of the joints and toe tips.

Prevention & Treatment: Properly fitting footwear and routine foot care for reduction of corns and calluses. Seek physician for further investigation.