7 Common Foot Problems And How To Manage Them

Foot problems are common, and they can be difficult to manage. If you suffer from foot pain or discomfort, it’s important to seek professional help. You might have to make some changes in your life, like wearing supportive shoes or taking breaks from standing, to reduce the risk of further damage.

What if you don’t have time for a doctor’s appointment? What if you want to take matters into your own hands? That’s where this guide comes in. Here are some things you need to know about common foot problems and how to manage them:

  • Bunions

Bunions are one of the most common foot problems that millions of people suffer from. They usually occur when your big toe is bent and pushes against the side of your foot. Over time, bunion pain can develop, along with inflammation and swelling.

Bunions are often inherited, and they tend to run in families. They can also worsen, especially when you’re wearing narrow or high-heeled shoes that force your toes into an unnatural position. As you age, you’re more likely to develop bunions because the bones in your feet become weaker over time.

They can be painful and can cause other problems if left untreated. According to Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic podiatrist experts and other specialists, these are some signs of bunion pain:

  • Swelling or redness around the joint at the base of your big toe
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes due to nerve compression
  • Soreness when wearing shoes that rub against or pinch your bunion

You can take these steps to manage your bunion pain at home:

  • The first thing to do is rest your feet. This means not wearing high heels or shoes that make your bunions worse. You should wear shoes with a wide toe box, roomy instep, and low heel profile.
  • If you have a bunion on one foot, you can wear an orthotic device in your shoe to help redistribute pressure to other parts of the foot.
  • You can also try using ice packs or wearing compression socks at night to reduce swelling and pain. You can also try soaking your foot in warm water for 10 minutes after exercise or after standing for long periods.
  • Surgery is sometimes required to remove the bunion from the joint and realign the first metatarsal bone with the other metatarsal bones. Surgery may be necessary if conventional medicine doesn’t work or if there are other complications related to having a bunion.

When pain from your bunion worsens, seek medical help ASAP. They can help assess your pain and provide plans for treatment.

  • Blisters

Blisters are a common foot problem. They’re caused by friction and pressure between the skin and the shoe. The most common areas for a blister to form are between the toes, on the inside of the heel, or under the big toe.

Blisters are defined as fluid-filled pockets in the top layer of skin that can be painful and tender. They can also be caused by friction against clothing or shoes or rubbing against another part of your body. Symptoms include

  • sudden onset of pain when you walk;
  • tenderness, swelling, or redness around the area; and
  • a raised bubble blister filled with clear fluid.

To prevent blisters, you can follow these tips:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly and provide good support for your feet.
  • Change your socks regularly, every day if possible. Avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture and increase friction between your skin and the sock. Choose synthetic fibers such as wool or polypropylene instead.
  • If you know you’re likely to get blisters, cover areas prone to blisters with tape before you begin any physical activity. This’ll help prevent pressure from building up within the blister cavity and reduce discomfort when it bursts open.

Follow these steps to help you deal with blisters:

  • Keep the blister clean and dry by washing it with soap and water. Don’t pick at it or squeeze it because this could cause infection or scarring.
  • If the blister is large enough, cover it with a bandage to prevent infection from entering through the opening, where air escapes from inside the blister.
  • If your blister opens up and becomes infected, wash it with soap and water, then apply antibiotic ointment before covering it with a bandage if necessary.

Blisters can be a nuisance and limit your mobility. Follow these steps to alleviate the pain you feel.

  • Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is another common foot problem. It causes itchy, red, cracked, and scaly skin between the toes. Athlete’s foot is also known as tinea pedis and ringworm of the foot.

If you have athlete’s foot, you may have seen yellow or brownish spots on your feet that look like sandpaper. The patches aren’t painful or itchy until the fungus grows in thick layers of dead skin cells and spreads to other areas of your body.

Athlete’s Foot

The most common symptoms include

  • thickening and redness between the toes;
  • itchy and burning sensation;
  • cracking or peeling skin between the toes;
  • scaly, dry skin on top of the feet, especially behind the toes; and
  • blisters filled with clear fluid on top of the feet, especially behind the toes.

If you suffer from athlete’s foot, you can often treat it yourself at home. Treatments include the following steps:

  • Soak your foot in warm water for 10 minutes three times a day. This helps soften the skin and relieve itching.
  • Use an antifungal cream or spray that contains clotrimazole or miconazole. Apply on the affected area twice daily for two weeks or until the condition clears up.
  • Don’t use antifungal creams or sprays if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding unless advised by your doctor.

Athlete’s foot might not be painful initially. But when left untreated, this can cause pain and spread to other parts of your body. Follow these steps to treat your symptoms.

  • Hammer Toes

Hammer toes occur when the middle joint of your toes bend down, causing the toe to curl under and look like a hammer. Hammer toes can be painful and may cause your toes to be deformed.

Hammer toes are caused by tight muscles or tendons in the foot that pull on the toe joint. The problem may begin when you wear shoes that are too small or have an arch that is too high. Another factor is wearing shoes with a narrow toe box or pointed toes that don’t allow your toes to move naturally. As you grow older, your weight can also contribute to hammer toes.

If you have hammer toes, you should see a specialist immediately. Your doctor will examine your feet and ask about your medical history and current health problems. The doctor will also ask about any pain or discomfort in your feet to ensure there are no other problems before treating your hammer toes.

  • Callouses

Callouses are the result of pressure, friction, or rubbing against certain areas of the feet. They are unsightly and can be painful too. The most common causes of callous are

  • pressure from shoes that don’t fit properly,
  • wearing shoes without socks or stockings,
  • pressure from tight hose or tights on your feet, and
  • rubbing against the inside of shoes or boots when you walk.

You can treat callouses yourself with over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid pads and creams. You may also want to try soaking your feet in warm water for 10 minutes daily, which will soften the hard skin. That way, it comes away more easily when you rub it with a pumice stone or file.

  • Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can appear when the side of your toenail grows into soft flesh at the side of the nail called the nail bed. This typically happens when the toenails grow long and are pressed against the shoe. The most common cause is wearing shoes that are too tight or shoes without enough room for toes to spread out comfortably. It can also happen if you wear shoes with pointed tips.

Here are some tips on how to treat ingrown toenails at home:

  • Soak your feet in warm water with Epsom salt for 15 minutes daily. This helps soften the skin around your toes and makes it easier to trim back your nails properly.
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over the affected area every night before going to bed. This will help prevent further damage by keeping the area moist and preventing it from drying out and cracking open again.
  • Trim back any sharp edges on your nail using an emery board or clippers so they don’t dig into the skin anymore when you walk or bend down on them.

Ingrown toenails can cause discomfort and severe pain, and worst cases might need to get surgery done on them. It’s best you seek medical help when you have an ingrown toenail.

  • Heel Spurs

Heel spurs develop from the calcification of small bone growths on the heel bone’s bottom and sides. They can cause pain, particularly when bearing weight. Heel spurs are most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Other common causes include wearing shoes that are too tight or having poor arch support.

Treatment for heel spurs typically includes the following:

  • resting and icing your foot to reduce inflammation,
  • wearing shoes with good arch support, and
  • taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to reduce pain.

If pain and symptoms do not cease, visit your specialist. They can help plan treatments to mitigate or reduce the pain.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of common foot problems out there, and they can be pretty painful. But don’t worry. With the proper care and attention to your feet, you can take care of your feet and feel great again in no time.