If you have to work on your feet, you know how important it is for them to be pain-free at all times. However, even the most careful of people and wind up with foot problems that slow down your ability to work. A foot problem can also prevent you from working at all, depending on the severity.

If you are in pain and searching for answers, here are some common foot problems that could be causing your discomfort.

1. Plantar Fasciitis

Primarily known for heel pain, plantar fasciitis will make your heel ache almost every time you stand up. It’s also known as heel spur syndrome, because of the pain it causes. The pain itself comes from the inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of your foot. Plantar fasciitis can be caused by having flat feet, poor foot structure, or by wearing unsupportive shoes on hard floors.

Most patients respond to nonsurgical treatments. Stretching, using heat, and getting better footwear can decrease your pain and allow you to walk more easily. Steroids and surgery are also options of nonsurgical methods that do not relieve pain.

2. Funguses

If you work out often or work on your feet, then you know how quickly your shoes can get hot and sweaty. Bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, and can easily cause adverse effects.

Rashes, itching, broken skin, and general pain can come from fungi, which are among the most common foot health problems. Athlete’s foot, the most well-known version, can easily be caused by wearing poorly ventilated shoes. The fungus itself gets found in floors of gyms and residences, and the shoes of those infected.

If you are a frequent gym-goer, it is important to keep your bare feet clean and off of surfaces without protection. Over-the-counter medications can take care of most funguses without the need for a doctor’s visit. If those still do not seem to work, a prescription for stronger treatments may be required.

3. Hammertoes

When your second, third, or fourth toe is bent in the middle, crossed, or pointing at an odd angle, you may have what’s considered a hammertoe. Ill-fitting shoes most commonly cause hammertoes. They can also cause corns and calluses if not treated, which can further increase your discomfort.

If caught early enough, you can use inserts or foot pads to help reposition your toe. However, the longer you wait, your toe will become stuck in the bent position. Hammertoes can be incredibly painful, and surgery may be needed to help correct the issue and relieve the discomfort.

4. Blisters

Blisters are soft skin pockets filled with clear fluid that occur when your shoes do not fit well. Many people experience them forming on their heels when wearing new shoes, and they are incredibly painful and make walking difficult.

The last thing you want to do is pick at them. Instead, drain the blister with a sterilized sewing needle, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover it with a bandaid. Over time, they will heal on their own and should not require a doctor’s visit.

5. Talus Foot Pain

Is the pain mostly focused on where your foot meets your ankle? All of our weight is down on this joint, and it can easily get injured. Talus foot pain can get caused by fractures or even bruising along the bone.

More often than not, it’s from running or walking on a hard steep incline that you don’t usually take. The added stress on an unusual angle can land you in severe pain. Take steps to avoid this by being careful about what area you’re running in.



If the pain gets too harsh, or you think you may have fractured or broken your talus, seek medical help immediately. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may also need physical therapy to help fully recover.

6. Bunions

A bunion is a crooked big toe joint that sticks out at the base, forcing the big toe to turn in towards the others. Bunions have many different causes, such as trauma, heredity, and congenital deformities. They are also very common in dancers, due to their feet always being constrained in tight pointe shoes.

Bunions can be painful when confined in tight shoes, and surgery is often recommended for treatment when footwear changs and over-the-counter pain reliever no longer works. They can also form on the outside of your pinky toe, commonly referred to as tailors bunions.

7. Arthritis

If your feet have been hurting for a long time, and you’ve been unable to find relief, it may be arthritis. By attacking your joints, arthritis causes your tissues to inflame and can limit your range of motion. It’s a long-term pain that can be brought on by overexertion over a long time, or by illnesses such as lupus.

You should go directly to a doctor if you feel like it may be arthritis. It’s incurable, but the symptoms themselves may get treated to ease your discomfort. Only a doctor can confirm whether or not it’s arthritis, so it’s better to go sooner than later to avoid the condition from getting worse.

8. Gout

A gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by uric acid building up in the joint tissues and fluids. One of the first places in the body this buildup occurs in is the big toe. Your toes are the coldest part of your body, and uric acid crystallizes with temperature changes.



You will know when gout strikes, as your toe will become warm, red, swollen, and incredibly painful to touch. The best way to prevent this is to identify triggers within your diest, such as red meat, seafood, and alcohol.

Conclusion

Our feet carry us through our daily lives. Whether you are on your feet for work, health, or enjoyment, no one wants to deal with foot problems. By paying attention, we can make sure we don’t risk losing our mobility or comfort.

Valerie Soleil, B.A., LL.B.

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