Podiatry Year in Review: The Most Common Foot Ailments and Injuries in 2013
Posted by Jenn F. on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
When we read over Dr. Stanley Jones’ presentation titled “Happy Feet — The Treatment of Common Foot Problems” delivered to health professionals in Qatar, we couldn’t help but notice how similar foot problems are around the world. Dr. Jones made a good point when he stated, “In contrast to the general belief that foot problems only occur in old people, it affects all ages and they can be disabling as well as cause high morbidity.” Here’s an overview of the most common foot ailments seen in hospitals and podiatrist offices last year.
Adult Foot Ailments
The most common foot problems we see in adults include:
– Hammertoes: This type of deformity occurs due to genetics, but can be exacerbated with injuries related to consistently donning improper footwear. With hammertoe, the toes curl under the feet, rather than sticking straight out. It may be treated with conservative splinting or with surgery.
– Bunions: This deformity is also related to a combination of genetics and poor shoes — notably, high heels. A large bony protrusion forms off the side of the big toe, which is usually treated with surgery if the bunion growth causes pain.
– Corns: These cone-shaped, knobby layers of protective skin usually form along the pinky toe or the tops of the toes. Options for removal include over-the-counter medicated pads or gentle removal with a scalpel in the podiatrist’s office.
– Calluses: High pressure and uneven weight distribution leads to the formation of a protective skin buildup called a callus. Pumice stones and lotion may be able to remove this skin aberration, but many people prefer to have the podiatrist tackle this delicate task.
Child Foot Deformities
Children are often brought to a podiatrist for foot deformities that may cause trouble later in life, such as:
– Flat foot: All children are born with flat feet, but the arch should form by age six. Only one or two in 10 children will have flat feet going into adulthood. Some children do not need treatment at all, while others may feel as though their feet are stiff or painful — a condition that leads to premature arthritis. Treatment includes exercises or surgery to lengthen the heel cord, and possibly custom orthotics to add shoe support.
– Club foot: One in 500 babies have clubfoot, a birth defect where the feet are turned inward toward each other. Treatment involves a long road of casting and bracing, but surgery is rarely needed anymore when the condition is caught early.
Overuse Injuries of the Foot
Runners, athletes, and people who work on their feet all day long commonly suffer from:
– Plantar fasciitis: This type of heel pain is caused when the plantar fascia tendon connecting the heel bone to the forefoot becomes overstretched and chronically inflamed, causing tremendous pain. Treatment involves stretching, strengthening support muscles, taking anti-inflammatory medication, resting and changing shoes. Orthotics are sometimes proposed, but surgery is rarely needed.
– Achilles tendonosis: The chronic inflammation of achilles tendinosis can be treated with improved footwear, stretches, heel lifts and the use of steroid injections.
Diabetes is, without a doubt, the most common foot disease that walks in through our front doors. It comes with many other conditions in tow — neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, COPD, Charcot foot, flat foot deformity, and infected ulcers, too. Here and abroad, foot ulcers continue to be the leading cause of hospital admissions among all lower extremity conditions. Early medical interventions and vigilant watching is especially important for diabetics, so schedule your regular podiatry visit today!
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.