Our feet play a very important role in supporting our body weight as well as allowing us to carry out a variety of different activities. The excessive forces placed on our feet, coupled with footwear that can create a moist environment for bacteria, can make our feet vulnerable to a variety of injuries, deformities, and infections leading to pain and other symptoms.
The foot is a very complex structure, comprised of twenty-eight bones, thirty-three joints, and many nerves, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that support the foot and provide balance and mobility. There are many different types of foot injuries and disorders that can make the foot hurt. Some of the more common reasons include:
A fracture is an injury to a bone that can range in severity from a tiny crack to a break that can pierce the skin. It can occur from direct impact, trauma, overuse, or diseases that weaken bones, such as osteoporosis. A toe fracture is a common injury that often occurs from stubbing the toe or dropping something on the foot. A fracture often causes sudden, severe pain, swelling, and discoloration or bruising. Treatment will depend on the location and severity of the fracture but may include taping, a post-surgical shoe, casting, or surgery to realign the fractured bones.
Plantar fasciitis is a frequent cause of heel pain. It results when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes stretched or torn, causing inflammation. It usually causes a stabbing type pain in the bottom of the foot near the heel, which is often worse first thing in the morning and generally improves once you begin moving about. Pain may return after long periods of standing or when standing up after sitting. It is more common in runners and overweight people but can also occur from wearing shoes with poor support. Many people with plantar fasciitis develop heel spurs, which are abnormal bony growths that form under the heel. Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs can usually be treated with nonsurgical interventions, which may include rest, ice, orthotics, medication, and gentle stretching exercises.
Arthritis is a common disease that can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness in a joint. Gout is a common but complex form of the disease that often affects the joint at the base of the big toe. Symptoms can come and go, but flare ups can often be successfully treated with medication. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder, where your immune system attacks your joints and tissues by mistake. The small joints that attach the toes to the foot are often affected first, which can cause pain and swelling, eventually resulting in deformity and bone erosion. Arthritis can be very painful and disabling, but medications, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments can help to alleviate symptoms. Surgery may be necessary to repair damaged joints.
A bunion is a hard, bony lump that usually forms on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. It is a common foot deformity, particularly in women, and although the exact cause is unknown, foot stress or injuries, family history, and a deformity present at birth are thought to cause it. Badly fitting shoes, which put pressure on the feet can also increase the chances of developing them. Bunions can cause pain, inflammation, and irritation and can result in the bones in the big toe and foot to change position. Treatments can vary, depending on the severity of the condition, but may include corrective orthotics or pads, pain medication, ice therapy, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that can result from an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that usually keep the toe straight. It often affects the second, third, and fourth toes in the foot and causes an abnormal bend in the middle joint. Trauma, structural problems, or wearing poor fitting shoes can increase the chances of developing the condition. Hammertoe is the most common toe deformity, but other toe deformities can include mallet toe and claw toe.
Podiatrist in West Orange, New Jersey
You should never ignore any foot pain that lasts longer than a few days. If you have pain or other symptoms in your feet, contact the podiatrists at Hudson MD Group for a prompt diagnosis and treatment. Our podiatrists specialize in treating a broad range of injuries and disorders affecting the foot and ankle. If you would like to learn more about our services, call us at (973) 705-4914 or find the location nearest you. You can also send us a message.