At the age of 50, you probably walked over 75,000 miles. Take care of your feet and they will serve you well. Many people don’t, so they suffer from ingrown toenails, corns and bunions. Over 20 percent of Americans have more than one foot health problem every single year. Although some problems may be related to how your feet are structured, in these cases you can prevent and treat most problems.
Corns and calluses are areas where the top layer of skin has thickened in response to pressure exerted by bone in a tight fitting shoe. The thickened, hardened area irritates underlying skin and results in localized soreness often associated with walking. Corns are most common on the big toe and fifth toe. Calluses also are found underneath ends of foot bones. Soft corns may also develop between the toes.
Achilles tendonitis is an irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches calf muscles to the back of the heel bone.
A bunion is a painful enlargement at the joint at the base of the big toe, causing the skin over the joint to become swollen and tender. A bunion can also occur on the little toe from sitting cross-legged for long periods.
Hammertoes are a toe deformity where the toes have a permanent bend in the middle toe joint, looking like a claw. Hammertoes usually occur with the second toe, often when a bunion slants the big toe toward and under it. Tight shoes can make them more painful and cause a corn to form.
Heel pain is very common and often associated with a growth of bone on the underside, forepart of the heel bone. The condition occurs when a tendon pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. The condition can calcify to form a spur but the pain can be from a variety of causes.
Ingrown toenails are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin.
Morton’s neuroma is a benign (noncancerous) thickening of the membrane around the nerve between the third and fourth toes and sometimes between the second and third toe or between the fourth and fifth. Tight shoes can squeeze foot bones together, causing pain.
Plantar warts occur on the sole of the foot and may look like calluses. They tend to grow inward because of the weight placed on them when you stand.
Stress fractures are incomplete cracks in bone. They occur during high-impact repetitive activity, such as running when muscles tire and cannot absorb shock. The muscles transfer the overload of stress to the bone, causing it to hurt and eventually crack.
Fungal infections of the foot are common because the warm, moist environment is conducive to fungal growth. Some fungi thrive on toenails, causing nail discoloration, thickening and separation from the bed. Pressure from a thickened nail or the buildup of debris may cause the toe to become painful. Athlete’s foot is also a fungal infection that concentrates in the spaces between toes and on the sole of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes.