Common Foot Problems and Their Treatment

I’ve had foot problems for most of my life. When I was a child, I had a lot of ingrown toenails. Sometimes they would get infected and granulomas would form. Granulomas are masses of immune cells that form when the body is trying to wall off something that is irritating it, in this case my ingrown nail.

The problem got so bad that I finally had to have surgery on both of my big toes. The doctor removed a large part of the nail on both sides narrowing the nail bed. I haven’t had an ingrown nail since.

Then I came down with diabetes and had more problems. This time it was blood blisters forming if I walked very far at all. Being a person who liked to go on hikes didn’t help the situation. One time I got one that wouldn’t heal and had to walk around a month with one of those big plastic boots on. Now I get new orthopedic shoes every year and new inserts to go with them. I haven’t had a problem with my feet since I got the shoes and inserts.

For some of us it’s the agony of de feet instead of the smell of victory. If you have problems with your feet, especially foot pain, be sure to see a podiatrist right away. Some of them, if not treated, can result in deformities. Here are a few of the most common foot problems and how to recognize and treat them:

According to WebMD: Bunions are a lump at the base of the big toe that causes that toe to move away from the others. They are caused by arthritis or by wearing the wrong shoes, especially high heels. Just by looking at one you can tell that they are very painful. Sometimes pads and getting the right roomy shoes can help. If that doesn’t work then surgery is the only option.

A word about high heels: The ancient Japanese did a practice called foot binding. Foot binding is where an infant girl has her feet bound very tightly with cloth so they cannot grow. In Japan, small feet on a woman were considered a thing of great beauty.

The procedure was very painful and caused the feet to be deformed. Most of the women couldn’t walk. All in the name of beauty. Women who wear high heels today are essentially doing a milder form of foot binding, but the results can be the same: deformed feet, pain, and a host of foot problems.

Corns and calluses are caused by friction. Both are thickening of the skin and both are, again, caused by improperly fitted shoes. Calluses can be shaved off but there’s a trade off, the body puts them there to protect the skin underneath. Corns are also caused by friction but they are rounder in shape. When they become painful, they can be removed or cushioned by a pad.

Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by too much uric acid in the blood stream. Crystals can form in the joints and it can be very painful. Just ask King Henry the Eighth.

Plantar warts are tough patches of skin that grow on the bottom of the feet. Like athlete’s foot, they are contagious. Sometimes they become painful and must be removed by surgery, laser, or freezing.

Athlete’s foot and fungal toenail infections are both contagious and caused by fungi. They both can be treated by medication or topical creams and sprays.

Hammertoes is sort of like a condition with the fingers called trigger finger. In both the middle joint of the finger or toe bends downward causing pain. Trigger finger can be treated by cortisone injections or surgery and hammer toe pain can be alleviated by roomier shoes, devices that fit in the shoe, or surgery.