The human foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments. The whole is wrapped up by vascular, nervous and dermal structures.
With such a complex network, quite a few unforeseen inconveniences can occur. From the first day we start walking, our feet undergo many repetitive hits, blows and traumas. Whereas several foot problems are genetically inherited, many can develop because of wear and tear. An average person walks 6½ kilometres per day, which amounts to more than 160,000 kms during its lifetime, or four times around the earth.
However, in spite of that workload that we demand from our feet, we tend to neglect them, and this, even if pain or discomfort makes walking difficult.
Signs of foot problems :
- pain, throbbing
- excessively dry skin
- thickened or discoloured nails
- unusual feelings (tingling, numbing, etc.)
No matter what it is, do not hide the problem in a shoe while hoping that it will simply go away. Foot pain is not normal.
Foot pain can cause discomfort to the leg, hip and back. Foot changes can even signal a more serious systemic disease. This is why we podiatrists suggest that people remove their socks when they consult their family doctor during their regular check-up visit:
- Spoon nail convexity might signal ferrous blood anaemia.
- Renal or cardiac diseases, high blood pressure and circulatory problems can cause the feet and the ankles to become swollen
- Tingling or numbness in the feet, slow healing wounds can be signs of diabetes or other serious diseases.
- Chronic stiffness with the toes can be a sign of arthritis.
- Changes in structural appearance of the foot can be signs of abnormalities such as tendon rupture, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or neurological disease.
What does a podiatrist do? The podiatrist works in close cooperation with the family practitioner and other health specialists in order to contribute to the diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment plan to your condition.
About 38% of the new patients who initially consult podiatrists are aggravated by heel pain.
According to the Podiatry Board of Australia, Plantar fasciitis is a very frequent source of foot pain. This condition, when left without medical attention, can worsen and, symptoms becoming chronic, can lead to immobilization and an increase of work absenteeism. The plantar fasciitis is an injury (by micro tears) to one or more of the five band-like ligaments which connect the metatarsal bones to the heel. The most frequent symptoms consist of painful stiffness under the heel while getting out of bed in the morning, or after sitting down temporarily during the day. Often the patients have “good days " and “bad days”, but the symptoms do not subside without the suitable treatment.
The heel spur syndrome displays increasingly sharper pain episodes as the day progresses and forces the individual to cease any activity. One finds it frequently in the cavus foot who shows a lack of shock absorption or in a foot with loss of fat pad density under the heel.
Chronic tension within the area of the insertion of the plantar fascia to the heel bone creates progressive calcification and leads to the development of the heel spur itself which is although not always necessarily symptomatic. Insoles and prosthetics can assist in pain relief such as the types offered by companies such as Footlogics.
Heel pain is also a common occurrence among children, especially boys 8-12 years old.
Your feet are for fun and mobility
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