Common Afflictions – Common Foot and Ankle Problems

Elite Foot Care Center — Your family’s first choice for podiatry in Tulsa!

Back to Article Index

Your Feet

Your feet are very complex structures, each composed of a network of 26 bones, 29 joints, and many muscles that support your body weight. They are capable of bearing great loads over many miles. In fact, people take an average of several thousand steps every day. When functioning properly, your feet handle all of the demands you place upon them without discomfort. When discomfort occurs, rapid treatment usually results in complete healing and a return to full function. In this brochure, many common foot ailments are discussed and initial remedies are suggested.

Common Foot and Ankle Problems

Ingrown Toenail — Results in redness, swelling, soreness and possible infection; often painful

Recommendation: Soak the foot in warm water and remove the ingrown part of the nail. If pain or redness persists, contact a podiatric surgeon.

Corns & Calluses — Frequently caused by ill-fitting shoes, poor quality shoes, or various foot deformities.

Recommendation: Purchase well constructed shoes that fit properly, allowing ample space between the toe and the end of the shoe to prevent irritation.

Hammer Toe — An abnormal contraction of one or more toes which often causes them to rub on the top of the shoe.

Recommendation: Obtain shoes of larger size with roomier “toe boxes” to decrease pressure on the toes. Consult a podiatric surgeon for possible surgical straightening of one or more hammer toes if careful shoe selection does not relieve the discomfort.

Warts — Circular growths, usually found on the toes or the bottoms of the feet, that are caused by viruses.

Recommendation: Warts should be professionally examined and treated by a podiatric surgeon as they may enlarge in size and multiply due to their viral nature.

Bunion — An enlargement of the bone on the inside of the foot at the big toe.

Recommendation: Obtain shoes of greater length and width to provide space for the bunion. Avoid pointed toe shoes. Wear shoes of softer material to decrease irritation. If the pain persists, a podiatric surgeon may prescribe orthoses (special shoe inserts) or recommend treatment alternatives, including surgical correction.

Flat Feet — Caused by a lack of internal support for the arch of the foot, often resulting in fatigue and pain when standing and walking.

Recommendation: Obtain well-cushioned shoes with good arch support. Consult a podiatric surgeon if discomfort or fatigue persists.

Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) — An irritation of the ligament running along the bottom of the foot and attaching to the heel, commonly causing pain upon arising in the morning or following increased activity.

Recommendation: Wear cushioned shoes with a slightly elevated heel (about 1″ – 11/2″). Insert an arch support to decrease pressure on the heel. If discomfort persists, consult a podiatric surgeon who may recommend custom orthoses, professional treatment, or surgical correction if conservative care fails to resolve discomfort.

Ankle Sprain — Condition that results from an inherently unstable ankle, trauma, or as a result of an athletic injury.

Recommendation: Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). See a podiatric surgeon immediately to rule out a fracture or a ligament tear. Immediate treatment often results in complete healing and a return to normal functioning.

Recommendations for Healthy Feet

  • Wear properly fitted shoes.
  • Wear shoes made of leather or canvas.
  • Wash your feet daily.
  • Wear cotton socks.
  • Trim your toenails straight across.
  • Inspect your feet daily to guard against unusual growths, cuts, non-healing sores, etc.

Foot Health Checklist

  • My heel hurts, especially after I have been lying down.
  • My toenail has become thickened and discolored.
  • I have growths on my foot that look like calluses with black dots in the center.
  • My ingrown toenail has become red, swollen and painful.
  • My toes are overlapped and bent.
  • I have diabetes.
  • My toe joints are stiff, enlarged and painful.
  • My ankles are unstable and often “give way.”
  • My toes are misshapen and have growths.
  • My toes feel numb or burn.
  • I have pain in the ball of my foot.

These are just a few of the warning signs of common foot and ankle problems. If you have checked any of the above, consult a podiatric surgeon who is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Your Feet Should Not Hurt

Many common foot and ankle problems may be alleviated by simple home remedies. Should a problem worsen, cause intense pain, or last for more than a few days, consult a podiatric surgeon who is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes should receive regular examinations by a podiatric surgeon to ensure proper foot health.

Back to Article Index

© 1994-2009 The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons