Common Foot Problems
Corns And Calluses
Calluses are one of the most common problems seen by Podiatrists. They can occur on any part of the foot and vary in symptoms from a mild callus under the foot, to a more painful corn, which can be very painful.
Corns and calluses are areas of thick, dead, hard skin that result from excessive pressure and/or friction over a bony prominence. The thickening of the skin is a normal bodily response to pressure and/or friction.
The pressure experienced by the foot may be a result of poor fitting footwear, an imbalance in the structure and functioning of your foot or bony prominences. Podiatrists will remove the corns or calluses and provide a way to prevent them from regrowing or alleviate the pain caused by them.
Ingrowing nails can be easily treated by cutting away the offending nail or rounding the edge with a file. This is usually done for minor ingrown nails. A surgical procedure can also be performed under local anaesthetic in which the side of the nail is removed from the root. The root is then cauterised so that the nail does not grow on that side again. This is a permanent procedure and is only recommended for severe and recurrent ingrowing toenails.
Fungal infections of the skin may present as moist, itchy, white areas between the toes; dry, flaking, itchy skin on the soles of the feet; and small blisters (water pimples), which burst and become itchy when they dry. Skin infections are relatively easily treated with medication including topical creams, ointments, powders and oral medication in more severe cases. Nail fungal infections are more difficult to eradicate. Regular treatment is needed to keep the nail short and thin and oral medication is often required, which continues for at least three months.
This occurs when the foot rolls in, the arch flattens, the heel everts and the foot moves away from the midline of the body. This motion is necessary, as it allows the foot to absorb shock and adjust to various types of terrains by becoming like “a loose bag of bones”.
This is the opposite of pronation and occurs when the foot rolls out, the arch heightens, the heel inverts and the foot moves towards the midline of the body. This motion is necessary for effective forward motion/propulsion and achieves this motion by becoming a rigid lever. Problems with feet often arise when the feet do not function properly, i.e. they remain in pronation for too long and are unable to supinate enough (usually the most common) or they supinate too much and aren’t able pronate enough.
Orthotics are used to correct these mechanical problems with the feet. Orthotics are custom moulded insoles, which are inserted into shoes, that provide your feet with the necessary support and aid them to function properly, thereby alleviating foot pain.
Plantar fasciitis may be caused by excessive pronation (rolling in of the foot) which places excessive strain on the plantar fascia, an increase in body weight, a sudden increase in activity or incorrect shoes. Treatment for this condition often involves changing to better-suited footwear for your feet and custom orthotics to control the excessive pronation. If this condition remains untreated for too long, it may lead to another problem called a heel spur, which is a growth of bone under the heel. This becomes more difficult to treat and may require surgical intervention.