Heel pain is one of the most common conditions a Podiatrist will treat.
The greatest incidence of heel pain is seen in middle-aged men and women. It is also seen in those who take part in regular sporting activities and those significantly overweight and on their feet a lot. Heel pain can also occur in children, usually between 8 and 13, as they become increasingly active in sporting activities.
Whilst there are many causes of heel pain, it is generally the result of faulty biomechanics (abnormalities in the way we walk). This can place a lot of stress on the heel bone and the soft tissues attached to it. The stress may also result from injury, or a bruise incurred while walking, running or jumping on hard surfaces; wearing poorly constructed footwear; or being significantly overweight. Systemic diseases such as arthritis and diabetes can also contribute to heel pain.
Bunions are a deformity in which the big toe joint of the foot is distorted, leading to the toe pointing inwards and the bone protruding. The joint is easily inflamed by pressure and can be very painful.
There are various causes for bunions, the most common being genetic. Other factors may include flat feet, and poor fitting or narrow shoes.
Corns & Callus
Generally corns and callous are large amounts of dry hard skin. These predominantly occur in weight bearing areas or areas of friction. Corns often have a hard centre and are often painful when direct preassure is applied. Some soft corns may also occur between your toes. Pressure or friction irritation, such as poor fitting footwear which may be too tight or rub in a particular area. Callous may also occur due to uneven walking patterns, or poor biomechanics.
Most commonly, presented as pain around the top free edge of the nail, with red warm skin and in more severe cases a pussy discharge. Several reasons, but most commonly a poor cutting technique. Most people find it a relief to cut down the side of their nail. Unfortunately often a very small spike is inadvertently left in the side, which may grow up and penetrate the skin. This acts as a foreign body, becomes inflamed and infected. The same process may occur if you were to get a splinter in your finger
Other cause may be an involuted nail, which may pinch the skin, or poor footwear, which is generally too tight, forcing the nail into the skin causing an irritation.
A build up of dry hard skin around the edges of your heels. over time this may thicken and eventually crack. These are often painful and may bleed and become infected. Most commonly the culprit is open backed shoes, such as thongs, sling backs or high heels. Patients who are overweight or wear bare feet may also suffer these.
Shin Splint is a generalised term, which has been known to describe anything from tibial stress fractures to muscle overuse. The term is generally used to describe pain localised in the front of the lower leg.
Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body is unable to use it properly. One of the first parts of your bosy tat can be affected by diabetes is your feet and if your diabetes is poorly controlled for an extended period of time it may result in nerve damage (neuropathy) to your feet. An example of this may be that you may not be able to feel a stone in your shoe which could then lead to an injury and possibly an infection in your feet. It may also result in reduced circulation (blood supply) to your feet. If you have diabetes it is important that you see a podiatrist for an assessment every 6 months and if you have any concerns or notice a spot on your foot that is not going away you should see a podiatrist immediately. Our podiatrists will conduct a thorough assessment of your feet which will include checking your circulation by feeling pulses in your feet as well as examining your sensation by testing your reflexes, vibration and pressure sensitivity and work inconjunction with your GP and other specialists to develop a care plan individually suited for you.
The foot consists of 26 bones, 120 ligaments, 33 joints and 20 separate muscles which work together to control the movement of its individual parts. The foot contains almost one quarter of the body's bones. When you combine the structural complexity of the foot and the fact that the average person takes about 5,000 steps a day, it should come as no surprise that many common ailments exist.
The following is a list of some of the most common conditions, and below is a brief description of the condition.