Full Health Information » Common conditions and ailments

Athlete's foot – a common fungal infection of the skin and nails which usually results in itching, scaling, redness and the formation of small blisters. You can lessen the likelihood of athlete's foot through good hygiene, which includes washing your feet with soap and water every day; drying your feet carefully, especially between the toes; keeping your shoes and socks dry; changing your shoes regularly; and wearing wicking acrylic or cotton socks.
Blisters – painful, fluid-filled lesions often caused by friction and pressure from ill-fitting shoes, stiff shoes, wrinkled socks against the skin, excessive moisture or foot deformities. To lessen the chance of getting blisters, keep your feet dry, wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes and wear properly fitting shoes.
Bunions – a bunion is an enlargement at the base of the big toe caused by a misalignment of the joint. It may be swollen, tender and painful. Bunions can be caused by heredity, biomechanical deformities, neuromuscular disorders, arthritis, trauma or congenital deformities. Once you have bunions, surgery is the only way to remove them. However, wearing supportive shoes with orthotics and having the shoes stretched out over the protruding joint can help stop bunions from getting worse.
Corns and calluses – a build up of the skin that forms at the points of pressure or over bony prominences, calluses form on the bottom and sides of the foot while corns form on the top of the foot and between the toes. They are often caused by repeated friction and pressure from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe or by hereditary disorders. To reduce the likelihood of a corn or callus forming on your foot, wear supportive shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel, use over the counter creams (void of any acid preparations) and use a pumice stone or file (if you are not a diabetic).
Hammertoes – a contraction deformity, resulting in bony prominences on the toes. Causes can include heredity, ill-fitting shoes, muscle imbalance or arthritis. Wearing a supportive shoe with a deep toe box, applying cold compresses and soaking the foot in lukewarm water can help relieve the pain.
Ingrown nails - a painful condition caused by the nail growing into the surrounding skin, leading to inflammation and possible infection of the toe. This is a serious condition for people with impaired circulation, diabetes or other systemic diseases. Although it is usually hereditary, it can also be caused by tight pointy shoes, restrictive compression stockings or improper nail cutting. There are things you can do to minimize the likelihood that you will suffer from ingrown toe nails. Be sure to cut your toe nails straight across with only a very slight rounding at the corners in order to avoid creating a pointy edge, or visit a podiatrist on a regular basis to have the cutting done. Another option is to have the ingrown piece of nail removed permanently thereby eliminating the problem altogether.
If you have an ingrown toe nail, visit your podiatrist or doctor.
Neuromas – often referred to as a pinched nerve, swollen nerve or nerve tumor, this painful condition is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes (a.k.a. Morton's Neuroma), however, it can also occur between the second and third toes. It may result in pain, burning, tingling or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Causes include improper or ill-fitting shoes, repetitive trauma, high-heeled shoes or heredity. Changing to lower heeled shoes, wearing supportive shoes with a roomy toe box and soaking and icing your foot can be helpful. In more painful cases, cortisone injections into the area may be helpful or surgical removal may be warranted.
Warts – a growth in the skin caused by a viral infection, warts tend to be hard and flat with elevated rough surfaces with or without well-defined boundaries. They are frequently called plantar warts because they appear most often on the plantar surface or sole of the foot. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. Left untreated, warts can grow and spread into clusters. Avoid walking barefoot and don't share footwear with others. Be sure to change your shoes daily, and keep your feet clean and dry. Most importantly, avoid home treatments, which often irritate the wart and make it grow even faster.
Note: because other more serious lesions, including carcinomas and melanomas, can be mistakenly identified as warts, it is wise to consult a podiatrist about any suspicious growth or eruption of the skin on your feet.
Heel pain – an inflammation of the long band of connective tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot (plantar fascia). Often referred to as plantar fasciitis. Causes include over-stretching the long band, muscle imbalance, bone deformity, obesity, trauma or tightness of the muscle at the back of the leg. To help prevent and/or alleviate this condition, warm up and stretch before exercising, wear appropriate shoes and use the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression and elevation).
Heel spur – a bony overgrowth on the heel bone. Heel spurs cause pain in the bottom of the foot and arch. This condition is the result of long-term chronic plantar fasciitis. As heel spurs are caused by falling arches, the best way to prevent them from occurring is to always wear footwear with good arch support. Avoid walking around in bare feet or with socks, slippers or flat shoes. If the heel spur remains painful, anti-inflammatory medications (oral or injectable), Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy and surgery are viable treatment options that your podiatrist can discuss with you.
Podiatrists are highly trained medical specialists who focus specifically on the foot and ankle