Your foot is one extraordinary anatomical structure that contains dozens of muscles, bones, joints, and tendons that are working in tandem to get you from one place to another. No wonder taking care of the foot is such a huge task that should be given top priority. Unfortunately, as we age, our feet succumb to the wear and tear of the joints due to years of movement. Our skin’s elasticity also reduces and the skin becomes more fragile. Foot pain is not pleasant. In fact, it’s debilitating, and usually affects mobility, which prevents you from engaging in social engagements. Similarly, foot pain affects exercise, which is crucial for good health. Understanding common foot injuries can help you prevent them from happening in the first place.
7 Common Foot Problems and How to Treat Them Achilles Tendonitis
1. Achilles Tendonitis
Tendons connect muscles to the bones. When the Achilles tendon, the longest tendon in your body, becomes overworked or overstretched, it becomes inflamed. This condition is referred to as Achilles tendonitis.
Achilles tendonitis causes severe pain which begins as a mild ache just above the heel or in the back of the leg. It makes stretching or performing an activity painful. The Achilles tendon appears swollen and is warm and painful to the touch.
Causes of Achilles Tendonitis
- A sudden increase in the intensity or duration of an exercise routine
- Ill-fitting or worn out footwear
- Exercising in cold weather
- Tight calf muscles
- Flat feet
Rest and ice can help ease the pain. In a seated position, stretch your legs outward. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull your toes towards you. Keep your legs straight and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat at least three times on each foot. You might also have to talk to your doctor about the appropriate medication.
2. Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is caused by fungus and is characterized by itching, peeling, and a burning sensation. The fungus likes warm and moist areas like between the toes and the soles of the feet and causes skin inflammation. Usually, the skin appears scaly with small red blisters.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
- Walking barefoot in areas where a person with athlete’s foot walked.
- Communal showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms
- Wearing contaminated socks
- Person to person contact
Practice Foot hygiene Maintain a clean and dry environment for the feet Use absorbent socks to keep feet dry Soak your feet in diluted white vinegar (one-part vinegar to four parts water) three to four times within 30 minutes or twice a day.
A bunion is a large bony bump that is forced to stick out at the base of your toe mainly due to wearing shoes that are too narrow.
Causes of Bunions
- A medical condition like arthritis
- Hereditary defect
- Congenital deformities
Wear comfortable shoes Apply ice to the inflamed bunions In severe cases, surgery is recommended
4. Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fascia is a thick layer of tissues that cover the sole of your foot. It happens to be the most common cause of foot pain, which is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis is commonly felt in the morning when you step out of bed. The pain usually fades away with movement, although you might still feel slight pain throughout the day.
- Standing long hours
- Ill-fitting or worn out footwear
- Flat feet
- Arches that are very high
Enough rest Apply ice to the inflammation Use sole inserts to support the heel Avoid walking barefoot Take anti-inflammatory drugs.
Hammertoes occur when one or more of your toes bends or curls. It usually affects the second, third or fourth toes, especially when the second toe is longer than the first toe. Calluses may form on the affected toe(s) and the bent toe is usually painful, especially when pressed on.
- Tight and narrow shoes that crowd the toes
- High heels
Wearing orthotics Taking oral NSAID Avoid pointy shoes and high heels Apply ice for the pain and swelling
6. Stress Fracture
Tiny cracks in the bone are known as stress fractures. It mostly affects the lower leg and foot which bears most of the weight.
- Carrying heavy loads over long distances like military recruits
- Jumping up and down repeatedly
- Working on hard surfaces
Avoid a sudden increase to your workout intensity. Use comfortable footwear. Eat foods that supply calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients that support strong bones.
7. Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains are caused when the ligaments holding ankle bones together are subjected to tearing or stretching. This foot injury mostly affects the outer part of the ankle.
- Sudden change in direction or a sudden maneuver
- Jobs that involve a lot of footwork
Treatment-rest the ankle Apply ice to the swollen area Keep your feet elevated above your heart.
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