Since the feet generally bear the most weight, they are vulnerable to several conditions that cause acute or chronic pain. Although there are numerous problems that might cause foot pain, there are three that are relatively common.
Various types of arthritis can affect the feet. Osteoarthritis is more commonly due to degenerative processes that occur with age or previous injuries. Other forms of arthritis that can affect the feet are inflammatory arthritis and gout. Inflammatory arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissues and includes rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Gout is caused by uric acid crystals forming in the joint and it primarily affects the base of the big toe. Depending on the cause and severity of arthritis, treatments might include changes in footwear or wearing orthotics, or it might be necessary to fuse the joint.
Corns And Calluses
Corns and calluses are similar and are caused by a buildup of thickened skin. Corns are generally smaller and round and can occur on various areas of the feet, such as the bottom, between the toes, or on top of joints. Generally, corns are caused by pressure points or friction, such as when the small toe or the knuckles of the toes rub against your shoes. Calluses are somewhat different because they are usually larger and asymmetrical. Calluses typically occur on the bottom of your feet at pressure points. The ball and heel are the most common places for calluses because they are the most weight-bearing areas of the feet.
Both corns and calluses can become sensitive to touch, causing pain. It is difficult to eliminate corns and calluses without addressing the underlying issue, which is either friction or pressure. For some people, wearing appropriate footwear can stop the further formation of corns and prevent rubbing that causes pain. Since calluses occur on the bottom of the feet, they can be harder to eliminate. Custom orthotics are the best approach because they are designed to provide cushions for your unique pressure points. In some cases, calluses can be there result of an accessory bone, which can be removed to stop further formation of the callus.
When the band of tissue at the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed, it can cause sharp pain. This band of tissue, the plantar fascia, runs from the toes to the heel. The pain occurs where the plantar fascia meets the beginning of the heel. The pain is more likely to occur after long periods of inactivity such as after waking up or sitting for a while. In most instances, conservative treatments that help stretch the plantar fascia are used to minimize pain. This can include wearing splints at night and exercises to gently stretch the plantar fascia throughout the day. Orthotics may be necessary to give the arch better support, thereby reducing pain. When plantar fasciitis is an ongoing problem, steroid injections or the use of anti-inflammatory pain medications may be necessary.
Due to the numerous underlying conditions that cause foot pain, it is important to have the problem accurately diagnosed. Until you know the underlying problem, it will be difficult to determine how to fix or manage foot pain. For help with your foot pain, contact an orthopedist in your area.