Big, little, dry, sweaty, smelly, smooth, hairy, pretty, or gnarled—all of our feet are different. They do, however, have one thing in common: they put up with a significant amount of stress to move us around. Taking care of your feet so that you stay mobile is important. Those aches and pains could be signs of something more serious happening in your foot.
Sprains occur when the tendons or ligaments around the ankle have become strained or torn. They are usually the result of sudden stress on the ankle, and happen frequently in sports. These can be small or serious injuries, depending on the damage done to the connective tissues.
Bunions develop when the big toe becomes displaced and the joint bulges outward. The bones become swollen and deformed, pushing the big toe further over toward the other toes. This condition is painful and limits mobility if not treated.
Fungal infections are caused by a microscopic fungus, most commonly dermatophytes, though occasionally mold or yeast can also cause trouble. This affects the skin or nails of the feet, resulting in problems like athlete’s foot and fungal toenail infections. Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. offers cutting-edge laser toenail treatments to help you deal with your fungal nail infections.
When the middle joint of a toe gets stuck in a bent position, usually from tightened ligaments or tendons, it is called hammertoe. The toes may or may not be able to straighten at all. Frequently the afflicted toes rub against shoes and impair movement, which can be painful.
These are an extra bony growth in the heel, usually related to stress on the tendons or bones. The spurs are not always painful, but when the area becomes inflamed, it can be uncomfortable to stand or walk.
Sometimes the toenail grows sideways, pushing or curling into the soft skin around it. This can cause soreness, redness, swelling, and even a clear or yellow discharge. An ingrown nail is uncomfortable and can lead to an infection.
Neuromas are thickened nerve tissues resulting from pressure on the nerve, and can lead to permanent nerve damage. In the foot, neuromas most commonly form in between the third and fourth toes and are called “Morton’s neuroma.”
The most common cause for heel pain, plantar fasciitis, is the inflammation of the major tendon running along the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. It’s usually caused by wear and tear on the feet that strains the connective tissues.
The sesamoids are small bones embedded in the tendon of the ball of the foot. When they become irritated, usually from impact stress or overuse, they hurt and make movement more difficult.
A common exercise-related problem, shin splints are a swelling and irritation in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones around the lower leg and ankle. Though often associated with running, any active person can stress their shins and develop shin splints.
Stress fractures are small cracks that do not go all the way through the bone. Repeated and especially increased strain from activity and insufficient support weaken the foot and allow bones to crack. Without treatment, this could lead to other problems related to a weaker foot, or even break all the way through the cracked bone.
Though by no means an exhaustive list, these common foot maladies cause many people pain every day. The good news is that these problems do not have to just be endured—they can be addressed, giving you relief and regaining your mobility. Contact Dr. Patel of Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C., to get more information or to make an appointment to do something about your discomfort. Visit the contact page on the website, or call one of Dr. Patel’s two conveniently located offices: (203) 876-7736 for the office in Milford, (203) 288-4055 for the office in Hamden.