Common Foot Problems
It is not normal for anyone to have foot pain. The old
adage "When your feet hurt, you hurt all over"
is true. There are many causes of foot pain. We have
listed some of the more common ones below. All of these
problems are treatable. Find out more in the What
We Do section.
Arch problems: Arch pain can be caused by foot
that has no arch flat foot (pes planus) or a high arch
(pes cavus). It is important that anyone with either
of these foot types be evaluated to be sure there is
no underlying problem that may give rise to more serious
problems later in life. It is most important that any
child with a flat or high arch foot be evaluated. Ninety
percent of adult foot problems can be prevented if they
are diagnosed in a child's foot.
Bunion: An enlargement of the big toe joint. They
can be mild, moderate, or severe. The most common cause
is an abnormal motion of the foot called pronation (a
turning in of the inside part of the arch area, which
then tends to flatten out, this will "loosen the
bones of the foot," and eventually in some people
lead to a bunion deformity. They are hereditary, and
can be prevented in some patients. It is very important
that they be treated, if left untreated they will eventually
interfere with the quality of life and will affect walking
and standing, as well as back problems.
Corns and Calluses: Are thickened areas of skin
which can be soft (usually between toes or hard usually
on the top of a toe. They are the body's response to
too much pressure in an area. They usually occur over
bony prominences or in areas where there is too much
friction. The more common areas on the foot are outside
part of the heel or the top of the small toe (seed corn).
They can be associated with redness, pain, and swelling
(bursitis). They can be disabling, and in a diabetic
can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
Diabetics: Research in the United
States and abroad has found that lifestyle changes
or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among
high-risk adults. Lifestyle interventions
included diet and moderate-intensity physical
activity, such as walking for 2.5 hours each
Hammertoes: Are the results of abnormal contraction
and a muscle imbalance that leaves your toe in a bent
position. Once hammertoes stiffen they can rub against
the shoe and cause pain from inflammation in the joint
area. This is commonly known as bursitis. You may also
notice a corn or callus on the top on the hammertoe.
They can be aggravated by shoes or socks which do not
fit properly. There are a variety of treatments for
hammertoes which range from padding, cortisone injection
for temporary relief and in some cases surgery is necessary
for severe deformities.
Heel pain: The most common cause is abnormal
motion in your foot which leads to too much stress
a thick ligament on the bottom of the foot (plantar
fasciae). It is commonly referred to as plantar fasicitis.
Inherited muscle imbalances, heel injury, improper
excessive weight, nerve problems in the ankle (Tarsal
tunnel-similar to carpal tunnel) back problems and
conditions can all be contributors of heel pain. Dr.
Longobardi has designed many various treatments that
can alleviate the many different causes of heel pain.
Ingrown nail: an inflamed, reddened, painful
area usually along the border of the nail, can occur
in any nail, but is most common in the big toe. This
can be a very serious problem in someone who is diabetic
or has poor circulation. There are many reasons for
an ingrown nail, the most common one is self treatment.
Neuroma: An inflammation of a sensory nerve
in the foot ( a sensory nerve gives you the ability
sense pain). It is most common between the 3rd and
4th toes. Symptoms can range from mild pain to disabling
pain. They can be treated non-surgically or surgically.
Neuropathy: A disease of the sensory and motor
nerves that result in burning, stinging, numbness,
tingling. This is commonly associated with Diabetes,
but can also be related to hereditary causes called
HSMN (hereditary sensory motor neuropathy), Alcoholism,
Heavy metals (such as lead), Chemotherapeutic agents
used to treat cancers, and exposure to certain chemicals.
Osteoarthritis: This is the most common form
of arthritis known, and is commonly referred to as
(degenerative joint disease). It is usually caused
from an injury, but can also be inherited. The most
area in the foot is the big toe joint know as (hallux
limitus). This is usually caused by a structural problem
with the bone behind the big toe called the metatarsal.
There are many wonderful treatments available for this
condition; physical therapy, medications, herbal remedies,
and custom made inserts.
Poor circulation (Peripheral Vascular Disease): This
commonly can cause symptoms such as cramping, and aching
in the calves, or even buttocks area when walking.
In severe cases some people can not even walk twenty
feet. This is commonly a disease seen in diabetics
in smokers. Collagen Vascular Disease like Lupus, and
Scleroderma can also affect circulation, as well as
sickle cell anemia. There are now many advanced diagnostic
tests available that can give doctors much more information
than just a few short years ago.
Warts (Plantars Wart): These are cause by a
virus know as HPV or human papilloma virus. Children,
and people with weakened immune systems are most often
affected. The most common area on the foot is the bottom
or plantar surface. Depending on where these are they
can be very painful to treat. It is usually not necessary
to surgically remove them if they are an isolated wart.
Most of the time these can be treated locally with
Wound Care: This is a specialized part of our
practice. Nursing home patients, Diabetes, Venous disease
(varicose veins), and patients with Neurologic diseases
are most often affected. Pressure ulcers are most common
on bony areas of the body (hips, outside ankle, foot
and sacral or low back area). The old adage of "let
it air dry," is just that. It necessary for any
patient with an open wound to be treated by a medical
specialist that has experience in wound care. There
are many advanced therapies available today that can
heal a wound. Our treatments include Regranex, VAC or
Vaccum assited closure (KCI), Warm up therapy, Apligraf,
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments, electro therapies, and
many advance dressings.
Photograph: Philip Greenspun