Common Foot Conditions
Odds are that you’ve heard of Achilles tendinitis. Maybe a friend or relative contracted it, or one of your favorite athletes was taken out of the game by this painful condition. If you yourself have started to feel the telltale ache of Achilles tendinitis, you may be concerned about treatment, or fear a dramatic rupture of the tendon.
There’s no need to worry. The sooner you see a qualified podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment, the sooner you can start the healing process, and take precautions to prevent the worsening of your condition.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest and largest tendon in the body, connecting the leg to the foot as it stretches from the lower leg to the heel bone.This tendon is crucial to normal walking, as it allows the foot to rise up on the toes. If you are experiencing painful swelling in the back of your foot just above the heel, you may be suffering from Achilles tendinitis.
Achilles tendinitis is, at its most basic level, a strain of the Achilles tendon. The tendon naturally weakens with age, and strains are increasingly likely as you grow older, particularly if you suddenly increase the intensity of your workouts. Achilles tendinitis can also be caused by bone spurs and tight calf muscles.
How Do I Know I Have Achilles Tendinitis?
The sprain causes pain along the line of the Achilles tendon, particularly in the morning. The pain will also usually intensify after you run or participate in sports.
As Achilles tendinitis is best treated early in its development, speak with your trusted podiatrist if you are experiencing pain or swelling along the Achilles tendon. A consultation at our practice will give you the best chance possible for a full recovery.
While they stem from different causes and attack the feet in different ways, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause similar symptoms, including joint pain which may affect the feet.
Osteoarthritis otherwise known as degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis. It most commonly occurs in the weight bearing joints of the hips, knees, and spine. However, it can also disturb the fingers, thumb, neck, and large toe.
Osteoarthritis tends to affect women more often than men. Most people that are 60 years or older have osteoarthritis to a varying degree. However, it has been diagnosed in individuals in their 20s and 30s, as well.
Symptoms often develop gradually and include:
- Joint aching and soreness.
- Pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity.
- Bony enlargements in the middle and end joints of the fingers which may or may not be painful.
- Joint swelling and fluid accumulation.
An individual’s chances of developing osteoarthritis are based on several factors including:
- Joint Overuse
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease. It causes inflammation of the lining of the joints, and can lead to longterm joint damage which results in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.
Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The disease progresses in three distinct stages:
- First Stage: Swelling of the synovial lining, producing pain, a warming sensation, stiffness, redness, and swelling around the joint.
- Second Stage: Rapid division and growth of cells which causes the synovium lining to thicken.
- Third Stage: The inflamed cells release enzymes that may digest bone and cartilage, often causing the infected joint to lose its shape and alignment. This causes more pain and some loss of movement.
There is no cure for RA and flares in disease activity occur spontaneously. RA can also begin to affect other organs in the body. However, studies have shown that early aggressive treatment of RA can limit joint damage, somewhat eliminating loss of movement, decreased ability to work, and potential surgery.
Currently, RA affects 1.3 million Americans and its cause remains unknown. However, through the use of new drugs, exercise, joint protection techniques and self management, more people than ever are living with RA and leading happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Concerned You Have Arthritis?
Both osteoarthritis and RA can make the joints in your feet very painful. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from arthritis, don’t suffer a moment longer! Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist today.
Brachymetatarsia is characterized by a shorter than usual metatarsal bone, one of the five long bones in the feet that end in the toes. This causes one of the toes to be ‘pulled back’ from the rest, or overlap the others. If more than one of the long bones of the foot is affected, it is known as brachymetapody. The disease is often congenital, but can also be caused by an injury to the growth plate of the short toe.
Symptoms and Treatment
If you suffer from brachymetatarsia, you may find it difficult to properly balance or smoothly transfer weight across the toes when walking or running. To correct this problem, extra padding can be used in the shoe to protect the short toe from excessive friction and pressure. Orthotics may also be used to properly distribute the weight across the foot while in motion. A surgical graft of bone to lengthen the short toe may also be an option in some cases.If you suffer from brachymetatarsia, our podiatry professionals can help you find the right treatment option for you based on your unique situation. Contact us today to learn how we can help you regain a greater sense of balance and a smoother range of motion
Bunions, or ‘hallux valgus,’ are a common foot condition characterized by a ‘bump’ on the side of the foot, typically just below the big toe. As this bump grows larger, it can force the big toe over the second toe, causing pain and difficulty walking.
What Causes Bunions?
The definitive cause of bunions has yet to be identified. While some studies have shown a connection with wearing high-heeled shoes, bunions may also be caused by inherited genetic defects in the structure of the foot, or by arthritis.
Bunion treatment does not always involve surgery. Instead, your podiatrist may suggest lifestyle changes, such as wearing more comfortable and supportive footwear, adding shoe inserts to your shoes, or losing weight. Icing your feet can reduce inflammation, as can basic over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.
If your podiatrist does decide that surgery is the best answer to your bunions, there are a number of different surgical options available. Some will even allow you to walk immediately following your surgery.
Concerned about your bunions? Want to learn more about your treatment options? Contact our practice and schedule your appointment today.
Flatfoot is a common disorder in which the arch of one or both feet flattens. It is easily identified,as the entire sole of the affected person’s foot touches the floor when they stand. While the condition itself is typically painless, it can cause problems elsewhere in the body due to the way it alters the alignment of the leg.
One of the most common varieties of the disorder is flexible flatfoot, which begins in childhood.The arch will appear when the child is sitting down or on tiptoe, but disappears as soon as they put full standing pressure on the foot. While many children grow out of flexible flatfoot, for some in perpetuates into adulthood. It is also possible to acquire flatfoot as an adult, either by injury or as a result of diseases such as arthritis or diabetes.
Flatfoot treatments are usually conservative, including orthotics and supportive footwear.Surgery is possible, but is typically performed to correct the cause of flatfoot mending a torn tendon, for instance. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, can also be helpful.
If your arches have collapsed, make an appointment to see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Flatfeet may not be initially painful, but can cause serious wear and tear if left untreated.
Sometimes known as “pump bump” because of its prevalence among women who wear pump-style shoes, Haglund's deformity can occur in one or both of the feet. If you are suffering from Haglund's deformity you will most likely have noticed a bony enlargement at the back of the heel. This inflammation is caused when the bursa, a fluid filled sac between the Achilles tendon and your heel bone, becomes irritated. Other signs of Haglund's deformity include pain where the Achilles tendon and the heel meet, swelling, and redness.
While genetic factors influence your likelihood to develop Haglund’s deformity (high arches, a tight Achilles tendon), stiff shoes are also a major risk factor.
Treatment for Haglund’s Deformity
Although surgery is an option, nonsurgical treatment options are plentiful. Utilizing anti-inflammatory medication can reduce swelling and pain at the site of the problem. Otherconservative treatments include:
- Heel lifts and pads
- Shoe modification
- Physical therapy
- Orthotic devices
Contact your podiatrist today to lean which treatment options may work best for you.
Hallux Rigidus is a condition that affects the joint at the base of the big toe. If you suffer from this condition, you will notice pain and stiffness. The symptoms are often worsen while walking, running, or when the weather is cold or damp. Individuals with this condition may notice swelling and inflammation around the joint.
If the condition worsens, the big toe joint may become painful when at rest, and bone spurs may develop. To lessen the pain, sufferers will often begin to limp, which can lead to pain in the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
What Causes Hallux Rigidus?
Technically a form of degenerative arthritis, hallux rigidus wears out the cartilage in the joint that it affects. It may be caused by improper alignment of the feet or genetic abnormalities in the foot structure.
Treatments available for this condition include shoe modification, anti inflammatory medication, orthotics, physical therapy and surgery. As with many foot problems, learning and practicing correct alignment is often helpful. Surgery is recommended as a last resort. Contact us today to determine which treatment option might work best for you.
Characterized by a bend in one or both joints of any but the big toe, hammertoe is a common podiatric issue. In early stages the toe can still be extended, but will be bent upward in its resting state. If left untreated, however, the condition will worsen progressively.
Signs and Symptoms
Hammertoe is typically straight forward to identify on a simple physical examination. Symptoms include:
- A contracted toe or toes.
- Corns between toes or on the top, side or end of the affected toes. Corns are a buildup of skin caused by friction at the contact point between the toe and shoe.
- Calluses on the bottom of toes or on the ball of the foot. Calluses are rough, dry patches of dead skin that has built up.
- Pain or irritation when the toes come into contact with the shoe.
Hammertoes and their symptoms generally worsen over time, as the friction between the footand footwear becomes more severe. Over time, they can become rigid, and open sores may form.
If you are suffering from hammertoes, it is important to seek help sooner rather than later, as they will not heal without treatment. Treatment options include:
- Changing footwear
- Padding the corns and calluses that form
- Trimming the corns and calluses
- Custom orthotics
- Anti inflammatory medications
- Splinting the affected toe.
Surgery may also be recommended in more severe cases.
You don’t need to suffer with hammertoes. Contact our office today, and we can begin down the road to treatment with you!
Does standing on tiptoe make you wince with pain? You may have metatarsalgia, or inflammation of the ball of the foot.
Symptoms and Causes
- Metatarsalgia can make your feet extremely uncomfortable, with symptoms including:
- Sharp pain or dull ache just behind the toes on the ball of the foot.
- Pain that worsens while walking, running or jumping and improves when at rest.
- Numbness or pain in the toes.
- Pain in the feet that worsens when barefoot.
While there is occasionally one singular cause for metatarsalgia, it is typically caused by several factors, including:
- Improper foot alignment
- Improper walking mechanics
- Unusual foot shape
- Intense training and activity
- Excess weight
- Tight shoes
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Stress fractures
Often pain in the foot can be healed with a day or two of rest, some ice and over the counter pain medication. However, if your pain is severe or ongoing, it may be time to see a podiatrist.
A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that can develop in various parts of the body, creating nerve damage. Morton’s neuroma is the most common neuroma in the foot. It occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
If you have a Morton’s neuroma, you will likely experience the following symptoms:
- A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot
The symptoms begin gradually and occur only occasionally at first. This generally happens when wearing narrow‐toed shoes or performing certain aggravating activities. The symptoms may go away temporarily by massaging the foot or by avoiding activities that brought on the pain
However, over time, the symptoms progressively worsen and may persist for several days or weeks at a time. The symptoms become more intense as the neuroma grows in size and the nerve damage becomes more permanent.
One risk factor is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high‐heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. People with foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, or flatfeet are at high risk for developing a neuroma. So are those who participate in activities that require a repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or racquet sports.
It’s best to consult your doctor in the early stages of development, as early diagnosis greatly lessens the need for invasive treatments and a potential surgery. Don’t hesitate to contact your podiatrist and schedule an appointment to discuss any recurring pain in your feet.
Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. This ailment causes fingernails or toenails to thicken, discolor, disfigure, and split. At first glance, onychomycosis appears to be only a cosmetic concern. However, without treatment, the toenails can become abnormally thick, forcing the toe to press against the inside of the shoes, causing pressure, irritation, and pain. If the disease continues to progress without treatment, onychomycosis may interfere with standing, walking, and exercising.
Spotting Foot Fungus
Onychomycosis is easily identified by its appearance, but there are similar conditions and infections that can cause similar symptoms. Foot fungus should always be diagnosed by your podiatrist before you begin treatment.
Risk factors making one more susceptible to onychomycosis include:
- Family history
- Advancing age
- Poor health
- Showering in communal showers
- Wearing shoes without good airflow
Treatments for onychomycosis vary depending on the individual and the severity of the case. Recent breakthroughs have yielded new treatments which can cut traditionally long treatment times dramatically. To learn more, schedule an appointment with your trusted podiatrist.
Heel pain is an extremely common and potentially disruptive affliction that has many possible causes. These include stress fractures, arthritis, nerve irritation, cysts, tendinitis, and, most often, plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tissue that connects the heel to the toes becomes inflamed. This inflammation causes pain on the bottom of the heel that can continue to grow in intensity over time.
Risk factors include:
- Flat feet
- High arches
- Nonsupportive shoes
Treating Plantar Fasciitis
There are many conservative treatment options for plantar fasciitis, including a stretching regimen, icing, footwear modifications, anti inflammatory medications and weight reduction to lessen impact on the feet.
More severe cases may be treated with additional padding and orthotic devices, the use of a walking cast, night splints and physical therapy. Surgery to detach the plantar fascia is an option, but only if all other treatments have been ineffective.
If you are experiencing heel pain, schedule an appointment with your trusted podiatrist today. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can walk without pain.
You likely think of your bones as part of a system, connected to one another by joints. Sesamoids are exceptions to this rule, ‘free floating’ bones that offer a smooth surface for your tendons to slide over, creating a sort of pulley system for the muscles. The sesamoids in your feet help you as you walk, and without them, your big toe would lose some of its power and force. Sesamoiditis itself is pain or inflammation of the sesamoids.
Symptoms of Sesamoiditis
Sesamoiditis can generally be identified from other foot ailments due to the gradual onset of symptoms just beneath the big toe.
The most common symptoms include:
- The area is tender when direct pressure is applied.
- Mild pain occurs when walking barefoot or in thin soled shoes.
- Pain worsens while running or jumping.
- Pain is alleviated quickly with rest.
- In later stages, constant pain is present under the sesamoids.
There are numerous treatments available for sesamoiditis. Icing and resting the area can be helpful, and your podiatrist can prescribe orthotic devices and leg braces. Sesamoiditis does not commonly require surgery, but should be diagnosed by your trusted podiatrist before it worsens. If you suspect you may be suffering from this painful condition, schedule an appointment with our office today.
Tailor’s bunions, sometimes called ‘bunionettes,’ are a variation on more common bunions, which appear on the inside of the foot, under the big toe. Tailor’s bunions instead develop on the outside of the foot, under your smallest toe. Like bunions, tailor’s bunions rub against your shoes and can create redness and swelling.
Causes and Treatment of Tailor’s Bunions
Like bunions, tailor’s bunions can be caused by hereditary mechanical issues in the foot, and can be exacerbated by wearing narrow, unsupportive, and highheeled footwear.
Treatment for tailor’s bunions is also similar to treatment of more traditional bunions, thought reatment varies depending on the severity of the condition and its cause (Tailor’s bunions can also be caused by bone spurs). Nonsurgical treatments are the most commonly tried first, including injections, orthotics, changing your footwear, and padding. Surgery is an option if these more conservative treatments do not help alleviate your pain.
Your podiatrist is happy to discuss available treatments with you, and a clinical diagnosis is an important first step toward pain free feet. Contact our office for an appointment today if you believe you have developed a tailor’s bunion.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a painful foot condition in which the tibial nerve is compressed as it travels through the tarsal tunnel. This tunnel is found along the inner leg, behind the bump on the inside of your ankle. This disorder is relatively rare, and can be caused by a wide variety of factors.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of this ailment include:
- Pain and tingling in and around ankles
- Swelling of the feet
- Electric shock sensations
- Pain radiating up into the leg, and down into the arch, heel, and toes
- Hot and cold sensations in the feet
- Feeling as though the feet do not have enough padding
- Burning sensation on the bottom of foot that radiates upward
Because it’s difficult to determine the exact cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, it’s important to determine the source of the problem. The nerve can be compressed by benign tumors or cysts, bone spurs, inflammation of the tendon sheath, nerve ganglions, varicose veins, or swelling from a broken or sprained ankle.
TTS tends to be more common in athletes or individuals who stand for hours at a time, as they commonly put excessive stress on the tarsal tunnel area.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is not common, but it can be a sign of other problems in the foot, as well as cause you pain and making walking difficult. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your trusted podiatrist for an appointment as soon as possible.
Somers Foot & Ankle
Dr. Jennifer Somers