The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Five Frightening Foot Problems

Posted by on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


When you dressed up for Halloween, did you dress scary? My family took the costume part of Halloween very seriously so there were no quickly thrown together zombie costumes or plain monster masks in our house. Before Halloween, my artsy craftsy mom, dad, and older sisters broke out the sewing kits, craft supplies, and paint with the professionalism of a movie production staff and didn’t let go until we all had really high-quality costumes. One year I was a World War I flying ace; another year I was a medieval archer–and whenever anyone said, “Oh, look, Robin Hood,” I snobbily replied, “No, I’m just a medieval archer.” Yes, I was that kind of kid.

Many people love to go the scary route, though, which can be great if you’re handy with makeup. But do you know what’s scarier than someone decked out with a bleeding head wound and brains spilling out their ears, though? Some of the foot conditions I’ve written about over the last nine months or so.

In the spirit of the season, then, I present to you Five Frightening Foot Conditions:

  • Bunions Yes, I know, we talk about these all the time, but that’s because they’re so problematic and so common. A quick review–when your big toe is forced inward and your first metatarsal bone is pushed outward, an unsightly bump forms at the base of your big toe joint. This is a bunion. A bunion can be painful on its own when you try to walk on it, and it can also rub against the inside of your shoe and turn red and raw. Causes of bunions include genetics, poor biomechanics, and most commonly, wearing high heels. Here’s the scary part: bunions are ugly, surgery to correct them is painful, and worst of all, bunions are related to numerous other foot problems.
  • Hammer, Claw, and Mallet Toes Your toes are not supposed to resemble a tool used for pounding nails, but sometimes things can go dreadfully wrong and your straight happy little toes can turn into hooked monsters. Hammer, claw, and mallet toes are all conditions where your toe has become permanently bent at one of the joints. They often occur in people who have bunions (!!) or wear shoes that are too tight in the toe box. The extra scary part? Your bent toe can rub against the top of your shoe and develop corns.
  • Cracked Heels This means, quite literally, cracks around your heels. People who have diabetes, super dry skin, or vitamin deficiencies may be prone to developing cracks around their heels. The most common cause, though, is being overweight, which puts too much pressure on the skin of your feet. The scariest part? They can really crack open into deep fissures, bleed, and get infected.
  • Verrucas These are warts found on the soles of your feet, also known as plantar warts. What’s scary? They’re highly contagious and you can catch them easily, especially if you’re in a setting where there’s water. If you’re at your hotel pool, lounging in the sun on your dream vacation, look over and see that the person next to you has warts on the soles of their feet, run (but put on shoes first).
  • Crossover Toe Deformity This is where your second toe drifts over so that it permanently lies across your big toe. What causes it? Fallen arches, tight calf muscles, a long second toe, and of course, bunions. What’s so scary about it? Well, I just think it’s really ugly–and I worry that it will happen to me.

So there you go, your nightmare feet conditions! If horror movies and zombie costumes don’t scare you, then maybe these will!



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. 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.