3 Most Common Foot Problems (and How To Treat Them)

The feet experience lots of daily stress from walking, running, and jumping, which may eventually result in various types of problems. Ill-fitting shoes, diabetes, and aging are some of the main triggers of foot problems. From inflammation to injury, several types of damage and malfunctions can cause foot problems.

Continue reading to discover some of the most common foot problems, their culprits, and when to seek treatment. 

1. Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a weblike ligament at the bottom of your foot that connects your heel and your toes. It works as a shock absorber and supports the arch of the foot, enabling you to walk. Plantar fasciitis patients often experience dull or sharp pain at the bottom of the foot closer to the heel. This pain typically gets worse after resting your feet and after prolonged activity. Individuals with plantar fasciitis don’t typically feel pain during the activity, but rather after stopping. Some risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis include obesity, pregnancy, and structural foot problems. 

The first ways to treat inflammation in your heel include cold compression therapy, wearing braces, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs. If such treatment doesn’t help with the symptoms, a specialist may prescribe corticosteroid injections directly into the affected ligament. Physical therapy can also help manage plantar fasciitis by helping stabilize your gait and lowering the lead on your plantar fascia. If you experience severe pain that lasts for more than a year, you may require plantar fasciitis surgery.   

2. Blisters
Blisters are pockets of fluid that appear under the upper layer of skin. Their purpose is to safeguard and cushion the layer below by giving it time to the heel and preventing it from additional damage. Depending on the cause and the area they form, blisters can be filled with pus, blood, plasma, or serum. Blisters can develop due to repetitive friction or rubbing, extreme temperatures, chemical exposure, crushing, and pinching. There’s also a wide range of different medical conditions that may lead to blisters. These conditions include herpes, eczema, cold sores, impetigo, dermatitis, stomatitis, and shingles. 

Most blisters don’t require medical intervention to heal. Because the new skin starts to grow under the blister, the fluid will gradually evaporate and the affected skin will dry and peel off. Make sure not to pop your blisters as they are protective layers that fend off infection. Try covering your blister with a band-aid or gauze to help protect it from further damage while it heals. Some medications like hydrocolloid dressing can help reduce discomfort and stimulate healing.      

3. Heel spur
A heel spur is a condition that occurs due to bone-like protrusion that appears under the heel. If untreated, heel spur can eventually affect other parts of the foot by extending forward for about a half-inch. Heel spurs typically cause inflammation, pain, and swelling in the front of your heel. Sometimes these symptoms may also affect the arch of your foot. Strained foot muscles and ligaments, stretched plantar fascia, and frequent tearing of the membrane that covers your heel are among the main causes of this condition. Common risk factors for heel spurs include gait abnormalities, obesity, ill-fitting shoes, and running on hard surfaces. 

Noninvasive treatment options for heel spurs include stretching exercises, foot taping, and wearing comfortable shoes with orthotic inserts. You may also take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen to alleviate heel pain. Sometimes, corticosteroid injections may be necessary to alleviate inflammation in the affected area. If these treatment methods fail to provide significant results, surgery may be essential to restore mobility and relieve pain. 

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