Your feet carry you around day after day and typically don’t receive the same attention as other body parts that get a lot less use. Don’t let feet problems go unnoticed, or you’ll quickly be giving them a lot more attention than you ever wanted to.
Take notice of your feet when you feel a pain or sense that something is off. They could be telling you it’s time to see the podiatrist.
Here are some feet problems along with their symptoms and treatments that might require professional attention.
A bunion forms when the big toe is being pushed against the next toe, causing a deformity in the bone.
● Bone deformity
If you notice a bony bump forming on the base of your big toe, it might be time to see a podiatrist to take care of it.
The causes of bunions are usually tight shoes, foot stress, or arthritis in older generations. The treatments for bunions can be as simple as changing your shoes to something that fits better around your toes or as complex as removing it surgically if the bunion is particularly painful. Talk to your podiatrist about the treatment options that are best for you.
A hammertoe is caused by a weakened muscle which causes tendons to become shorter, resulting in an abnormal bend in the middle joint of a toe.
● Difficulty moving toe
Common causes of hammertoes are wearing high heels or shoes with narrow space for toes, and it typically affects the toe closest to the big toe. Wearing roomier shoes or using shoe inserts can help treat this condition. Severe cases might require surgery.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the corner of the toenail starts growing into the skin surrounding the nail.
It can usually be treated from home if caught early enough by lifting the toenail and placing a cotton swab underneath, with painkillers to help manage the pain. In severe cases, where there is a lot of pain or signs of infection like puss and sores, professional help should be sought to help treat it through surgery.
Tendonitis occurs when the tissue that connects the bone to the muscle becomes inflamed, usually from overuse and injury.
● Pain that worsens with movement
● Lump along tendon
● Crackling or grating feeling as tendon moves
There are three at-home treatments that you can try if you suspect tendonitis due to an injury: ice and heat, medications, and limiting activities.
Ice and heat will help reduce swelling and prevent pain. Place ice on an injury for about 10 minutes and repeat throughout the day to manage pain and swelling. Another option is to use heat from a hot towel or heating pad, applied for around 30 minutes a couple times a day.
You might need a prescription from a doctor for anti-inflammatory medications that can be taken orally or applied topically. These will help manage the pain and swelling of the injury.
The last thing that can, and should, be done is to limit activities for a little while to give the injury time to heal. Smaller cases can take just a few weeks to heal while severe cases can sometimes take more than six months.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue in the bottom of your foot that connects the heel bone to the toes.
● Stabbing pain near the heel
● Worse pain in the morning
Wearing shoes with poor arch support and soft soles can cause the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. At-home treatments include changing your shoes, shoe inserts, and stretching. If the pain is ongoing and at-home treatments are not helping, you might require medical attention. A podiatrist can refer you to a physical therapist, give steroid injections, or perform surgery if it is necessary.
If any of the symptoms of these conditions are ongoing – for more than a week – you should consider setting up an appointment with a podiatrist. Pay attention to the things your feet are telling you can get the care you need.