American Podiatric Medical Association Discusses Painful Foot Problems

Posted on Oct 31, 2012

The American Podiatric Medical Association estimates that the average person will walk approximately 25,000 miles in his or her lifetime—the equivalent of walking around the Earth four times. So, it’s understandable that people are suffering from painful foot ailments in Philadelphia—especially if they aren’t wearing the right shoes!

Here are two chronic conditions caused by footwear that doesn’t fit properly:

Bunions

These are hard, painful bumps on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. Although there are numerous causes, one of the most common is shoes that are too tight and therefore put pressure on the joint of the big toe. As the bunion grows, the big toe turns in toward the toe next to it.

Early treatment: Avoid narrow shoes, high heels, or shoes with pointed toes. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may relieve the pain and reduce swelling. Wearing orthotics for better arch support during the day and a bunion splint at night might help to relieve the pressure on the bunion and straighten the toe.

Surgery: When all else fails, a bunion might require surgical intervention. Generally, the bump is pared down and the bones in the big toe are realigned. Recovery time depends on the severity of the problem and the extent of the surgical procedure; it can range from several weeks to six months or so.

Morton's neuroma

Often caused by pointy-toed, high-heeled shoes that squeeze the toes together, a neuroma involves thickening of the tissue around a nerve that leads to one of the toes. Individuals with this condition often feel a sharp, shooting, burning pain in the ball of the foot, frequently occurring between the third and fourth toes, that is worse while walking. There might also be numbness or tingling in the toes or a feeling as if there’s a pebble under the foot or a crease in the sock.

Early treatment: Ice and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended to reduce swelling. Shoes should have a roomy toe box. Wearing food pads and arch supports or custom orthotics in the shoes can help alleviate pressure on the nerve. Use of a device to spread the toes apart is sometimes helpful. Corticosteroid injections are used in some instances.

Surgery: In some cases, cutting a ligament or other soft tissue near the affected nerve is enough to relieve the pressure.If scarring around the nerve becomes severe, surgery may be necessary to have the nerve removed. 

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