A Guide to the Most Common Foot Ailments

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Our feet affect the rest of our bodies in a number of significant ways. We depend on our feet for good balance in standing, walking and running. So it makes sense that problems with our feet can lead to problems with our backs, which ultimately degrades the health of our spines-and poor spine health can adversely affect the entire body. Foot problems are quite common, but-fortunately-most can usually be treated relatively easily. Some of the most common foot ailments include: Athlete's Foot The interior of your shoes is a perfect place for fungal and bacterial growth to occur, particularly when the feet are hot and wet. This can lead to foot redness, infection, itching, blisters, peeling, and even dry skin. Fungal Nail Unsightly discoloration, scaling, nail thickening and detachment accompany a fungal nail infection. Frequently, it also includes discomfort and pain. Ingrown Toenail This occurs more frequently on larger toes where the nails curl to the side and painfully cut into the skin. This can be avoided by carefully cutting the nail straight across. Corns or Calluses Constant friction and pressure on the bony parts of your feet can toughen the skin, causing calluses or painful corns. Better-fitting shoes often solve this issue. Warts A wart is a growth on the skin caused by a virus. Sometimes painful, these growths can spread like any disease.

Bunions A bunion is a swelling at the base of the big toe caused by the joints not fitting together as they should. They can make it painful to wear shoes. Several common foot ailments involve the musculoskeletal system. These can be particularly troublesome, since they may affect the alignment of joints further up the "biomechanical chain"-your ankles, knees, hips, back and neck. Hammer Toe When the tendons that control toe movement become shortened, they can tug toes upward. Frequently, the knuckle becomes enlarged and stiff from rubbing against the inside of shoes. This may adversely affect your balance. Poorly fitting or tight shoes can cause or worsen this problem. Achilles Tendonitis This is a painful irritation of the tendon that connects the back of the heel bone to the calf muscle. This can be caused by a sprain or by not warming up properly before a walk or a run. Ice and rest can help. Neuroma Neuroma is a burning, itching or tingling caused by swollen nerve tissue, frequently between the third and fourth toes. Poor shoe fit, high-heeled shoes or trauma are a few causes. Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) Tight calf muscles, obesity and trauma can sometimes cause a painful inflammation at the bottom of the foot as well as the connective tissue that stretches from the ball of the foot to the heel. Bone Spurs These are calcium growths which form on foot bones and are caused by muscle strain. Poorly fitting shoes and obesity can make these more severe and painful. Fallen Arches (Flat Foot) This is a structural deformity characterized by a lowering of the arch of the foot. This can lead to pain in the knee, hip, ankle or lower back. Your overall health can be improved by taking proper precautions to protect your feet. Your chiropractor may be able to help reduce the ill effects of foot problems.