10 Common Foot Problems and How to Manage Them

Your feet take a pounding every day. Help them go the distance by identifying and correcting issues ranging from corns and calluses to athlete’s foot and hammertoes.

Take good care of your feet, and they’ll take good care of you.

Indeed, the foot is an evolutionary marvel, capable of handling hundreds of tons of force — your weight in motion — every day. The foot’s myriad parts, including the toes, heel, and ball, work together to get you from one place to another.

The stress of carrying you around puts your feet at high risk of injury, higher than any other body part. And many foot problems, including hammertoes, blisters, bunions, corns and calluses, claw and hammer toes, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot, can develop from neglect, ill-fitting shoes, and simple wear and tear.

Pain in your feet may even be the first sign of a systemic problem. Gout, for example, often affects the foot joints first.

So, what can you do to identify and manage some common foot-health issues?


Caused by a fungus that likes warm, dark, moist environments, athlete’s foot commonly affects the areas between the toes and the bottoms of the feet. It can inflame the skin and cause a white, scaly rash with a red base. Other symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, burning, peeling, and sometimes a slight odour.

You can lower your risk of athlete’s foot (also called tinea pedis) by keeping your feet and toes clean and dry, changing your shoes and socks regularly, and never walking barefoot in public locker rooms and showers. Over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays can be used to treat athlete’s foot, and sprays and powders can also be used inside your shoes to destroy any lingering fungus.  It is also worth knowing that the infection can migrate to other parts of the body if left untreated. It can also be transmitted to other people via shared floors, gym mats, towels, and other surfaces.


If your second, third, or fourth toe is crossed, bent in the middle of the toe joint, or just pointing at an odd angle, you may have what’s called a hammertoe. Ill-fitting shoes contribute to the formation of hammertoes.

If your toe is still flexible, your doctor may suggest that you wear more comfortable footwear, in addition, wearing good quality corrective orthotics can help reposition your toes. Our orthotics address this problem.

But if your toe becomes fixed in the bent position, pain will set in and you may need surgery, according to the When hammertoes press against the insides of your shoes, corns and calluses may form on them.


“Most blisters are caused by friction between the skin on the foot and the inside of your shoes,”

You can prevent blisters — soft pockets of raised skin filled with clear fluid — on your feet by wearing comfortable, appropriate-size shoes and socks. If blisters do develop, it’s best to let them break naturally rather than burst them on your own, even when they are painful and make walking difficult,

“If you develop a blister, simply cover it with a bandage and allow it to burst naturally,”  “If it bursts, you can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment with a bandage to help it heal and prevent infection, but you should keep the area covered to reduce friction and keep it from reforming.”

Most foot blisters don’t require medical attention. But if you have diabetes or another health condition that makes you prone to infections, you should consult a physician before treating any blisters yourself, Boike advises.


A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big-toe joint. The changes within the foot that cause the bump also cause the big toe to turn inward, toward the smaller toes, affecting balance.

Bunions can result from congenital deformities, arthritis, trauma, or most commonly a collapsed transverse arch (ball of the foot) from walking on hard surfaces & habitually wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe area. Bunions can be made worse by high heels.

Treatment for bunions includes corrective flexing orthotics & wider shoes. We have observed research in the Copenhagen University which has proven a reduction of bunions and no more progression with our orthotics.


Corns and calluses form after repeated rubbing against a bony area of the foot, usually by shoes that don’t fit well.

Corns can appear on the tops and sides of your toes as well as between your toes, while calluses tend to form on the bottoms of the feet, especially under the heels or balls of the feet, and on the sides of the toes. These compressed patches of dead skin cells can be hard and painful to walk on.

With many corns or calluses, you can treat them yourself by removing the buildup of skin. It is recommended to soak the affected area in warm water until the skin softens and using a wet pumice stone or emery board to remove the dead skin. Be gentle, though: Removing too much skin can cause bleeding and infection. You can also apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to the corn or callus and surrounding dead skin to soften the skin over time.

Another option is flexing corrective orthotics that realign your feet and toes and reduce rubbing and irritation.


Plantar fasciitis is a painful disorder in which the ligament — the fascia — that connects the ball of the foot to the heel becomes inflamed or even torn from walking on hard surfaces, essentially bone walking. Plantar fasciitis has no visual signs or symptoms, just pain and stiffness in the foot,

Research suggests the condition is caused by heel striking (heavy on the heels), and is also common among runners and other athletes of all levels, but it’s generally seen as an overuse injury for which nearly everyone is at risk.

“Fewer than 10 percent of the people with plantar fasciitis require surgery to treat the condition.

Applying a cold compress can help relieve the pain.  Long term solutions are wearing a flexing corrective orthotics to take your weight off the heel and give symmetry back, thereby treating the cause.


A claw toe curls upward at the joint where the toes and the foot meet and downward at the middle and end joints of the toe, making the toe look curved, or clawlike.

Claw toes often develop calluses and corns where they rub against shoes. While tight shoes can be blamed for claw toes, so can nerve damage to the feet (from diabetes or other conditions), which weakens foot muscles.

With mallet toes, the toe bends downward at the joint at the tip of the toe, and a painful corn often grows at the tip of the toe where it presses against the ground. Generally, the second toe is affected because it’s the longest. Injuries and arthritis are among the causes of hammer toe.  Once again a good corrective flexing orthotics can help prevent this condition.

  1. GOUT

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid in joint tissues and joint fluid, which happens when the body is unable to keep uric acid levels in check. Although gout isn’t a foot condition per se, typically, one of the first places this build up occurs is in the big toe joint. This is because, temperature-wise, the toes are the body’s coolest parts, and uric acid crystallizes with temperature changes.

You’ll probably know a gout attack when it happens: The joint where the big toe connects to the foot will get hot, red, and swollen and will be painful even to the slightest touch.

You can help reduce your risk of gout attacks by making changes to your diet to avoid foods known to cause a rise in uric acid, like red meat, seafood, and alcohol, particularly beer. Significant consumption of beer or liquor (more than one drink per day) has been linked to an increased risk of an attack of gout.

Maintaining a normal body weight also appears to have a significant effect on preventing gout attacks.

Once you are in the midst of a gout attack, drinking water to keep hydrated and staying in bed may help. Also taking bicarbonate soda to alkalise your body will help very quickly. Lemongrass essential oil does help to relieve inflammation.

Although gout most often starts in the foot, it can spread to other joints, where uric acid can accumulate and crystallize, limiting range of motion — which is why it’s important to treat the condition, not just the symptoms. Our orthotics help take your weight off your bunion point.


Proper toenail clipping — straight across and not too short — is key to preventing ingrown toenails. If you don’t cut them straight, the corners or sides of the nail can dig into the skin, causing pain and sometimes an infection (called paronychia).

Other causes of ingrown toenails include shoes that press your toes together and unusually curved toenails.

If you develop an ingrown toenail, you can try soaking the toe in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day and tucking a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the ingrown edge of the nail to encourage it to grow up and away from the skin

If home remedies aren’t working or you have diabetes or another cause of reduced blood flow to the toes, you should see a doctor, who may lift or remove the affected nail and recommend the use of a topical antibiotic to prevent infection.


Toenail fungus can give nails an unattractive, deformed appearance. It can also spread to other nails, including fingernails.

Toenail fungus often forms after damage to the nail that causes the nail-skin junction, where the nail meets the skin of the toe, to be disrupted. This can occur after a pedicure, because of second hand shoes, or after repetitive trauma from running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on.

“Toenail fungus is caused by a skin-, hair-, and nail-loving fungus,” “The fungus is attracted to the protein in the nail bed, and the toenail is perfect because it’s in a moist and warm environment — inside your shoes — most of the day.”

Treating toenail fungus can be difficult, as it often comes back even after successful treatment. You should talk to your doctor about taking a prescription antifungal medication, because over-the-counter treatments likely won’t work.

If medication doesn’t work, you may need surgery to correct the trauma that caused the fungus to take hold.




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