Corns & Calluses
Corns and calluses are areas on the foot where the skin has become hard and thick, usually as a result of friction or pressure, like from ill-fitting shoes. They may cause pain or make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably. Corns and calluses usually heal themselves over time once the pressure that caused them is removed. You can do this by wearing roomier shoes or by using specially designed padding, like toe separators or a Moleskin bandage.
Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis
Most heel pain can be traced back to plantar fasciitis, a condition where the connective tissue in the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed and painful. You are more prone to develop plantar fasciitis if you pronate (roll your ankles and feet inward as you stand or walk), wear shoes with insufficient arch support, stand for several hours per day, or are overweight.
Bunions are large, bony growths that form at the base of your big toe as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight or have pointed toes. The base of your large toe angles outward as your toes squeeze together, and a bunion forms to compensate for your toe’s unusual angle. You may also develop a smaller bunion at the base of your little toe for the same reason. Bunions can correct themselves over time with proper footwear, padding, or ice, but in some cases surgery may be necessary.
Hammertoes form when the muscles in your middle toes grow out of balance with each other. The bottom muscles pull more tightly than the top muscles, which leaves your toe in a sharply arched position. Hammertoes may stem from arthritis, genetics, injury, or aging, and can be treated through proper footwear or surgery.
Common Nail Problems
Some of the most common nail problems we see include ingrown toenails, nails that have broken or split as the result of an injury, and fungal infections. Nails may also change color or shape as the result of a skin condition, medication, or disease. If you notice a change in your toenails or experience toenail pain, see a podiatrist right away.
Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, may be caused by stretched tendons, broken bones, a neurological condition, pregnancy, or obesity. Most people with fallen arches never experience any pain from their condition, but others may feel aching in their heels or arches or have difficulty flexing the foot. Orthotics can improve symptoms and reduce pain, but for severe cases, surgery may be required.
Peripheral neuropathy is the term for numbness or stabbing, burning, tingling pain in your hands and feet. Diabetes is the most common cause, though you may also experience these symptoms following an infection or injury or as the result of an inherited condition. Your podiatrist may prescribe a medication to relieve these symptoms or may recommend physical therapy to help regain feeling in your extremities.
Ganglion cysts are small, benign pockets of fluid that form near the joints of your wrists and ankles. They are usually painless, but can cause discomfort if they crowd a nerve. They can also sometimes inhibit the movement of your joints. While it’s unclear what causes these cysts, treatment is fairly simple — your podiatrist can drain the fluid with a needle if the cyst is too painful to leave untreated.
Gout is a complex form of arthritis that is more common among men, but can affect anyone. The condition is characterized by swollen, red, tender, and intensely painful joints, especially those of your big toe, ankles, and knees. This pain comes from crystals of uric acid deposited into your joints, and may indicate a problem with your kidneys.
Neuromas, also known as pinched nerves, can be incredibly painful. Many people report neuromas as feeling like a pebble in their shoe beneath the ball of their foot. You may also feel some numbness or tingling between the ball of your foot and your toes. This condition may be caused by an injury, shoes that squeeze your toes, or a foot deformity. The condition may improve with proper footwear or physical therapy.
Plantar warts are caused by a strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV), though not the same strain that causes genital warts. These warts can often be confused with corns, but don’t be fooled — plantar warts are typically level with the surface of your skin, approximately the size of a pencil eraser, and may have a small, dark dot at the center. They will usually go away without treatment over time. However, many people choose to have them professionally removed if they cause pain or embarrassment. In these cases, a podiatrist can remove the wart by freezing it with liquid nitrogen.