Common foot issues involve a diverse range of conditions including athletes foot, heel spur, various toenail conditions, as well as related leg pathology such as knee , achilles and heel pain, in children as well as adults. The most common foot conditions are listed below.
Plantar Fasciitis (common cause heel pain/arch pain)
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation, irritation or degeneration of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue under the foot that connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot. It has also been called heel spur syndrome in the past , as the pain was thought to be associated to a heel spur seen often on xray, but current research has generally ruled this out. A common symptom of plantar fasciitis, is pain on standing first thing in the morning, and after rest. Throughout the day, the heel pain will usually return. Causes are usually a combination of poor biomechanical foot function, poor footwear, standing long hours on hard surfaces or acute injury. Treatment by your Cheltenham Podiatrist can include taping, footwear advice, dry needling where applicable, paddings and often orthotic devices that redistribute forces away from the plantar fascia and thus reduce inflammation and pain.
Achilles Tendonitis is now more accurately known as achilles tendinopathy. This is because rather than an inflammatory condition it is more likely to be due to the degeneration of the tendon. Symptoms include a gradual onset of pain at the back of the heel, stiffness and aching. The tendon is usually tender to touch and may contain lumps known as nodules. Common causes include a sudden increase in activity, a change of footwear or training surface, weak or tight calf muscles, wearing high heels, running up hills and over pronation (poor biomechanics). Treatments by your Cheltenham Podiatrist include rest from aggravating activities, ice, paddings and sometimes orthotics, as well as a stretching and eccentric strengthening program. This will improve the strength and reduce the loading of the tendon, providing relief.
Heel Pain Children/ Severs Disease
Sever’s Disease is a common cause of heel pain in children. A growth related condition seen most commonly in children aged 5 – 11 years old. The heel pain often increases with activity and some children will even experience pain undergoing regular activities, such as walking. Sever’s Disease is usually relieved by rest. The condition is due to the pulling of the achilles and calf muscle at its attachment to the growth plate of the calcaneous (heel bone) as the legs grow and elongate, resulting in inflammation and pain. The treatment of Sever’s Disease includes paddings, exercises, and sometimes orthotics. It is however a self limiting condition, as the growth plate eventually ossifies.
Bunions (Hallux Valgus)
Bunions are a common problem of the main joint of the big toe. Largely a genetic condition, it may not be particularly painful initially, but once fully developed can cause major foot deformity, including clawed toes,hallux valgus overlapping toes, corns and calluses. If picked up early, podiatry treatment and advice (exercises, orthotics, and footwear consultation) can slow down the condition and help prevent some of the complications.
Ingrown nails are nails that have punctured the skin as they grow forward. They are painful usually down the side of the nail, and will be often red, inflamed and may weep. Ingrown nails should not be left untreated as they may become chronically infected, and will often not heal until the nail spike is removed. Cheltenham podiatrists treat the condition by a simple reshaping of the nail edge to remove the sharp spike, or in chronic cases, a very simple nail correction procedure (surgery) can be performed under local anesthetic to prevent future reoccurrence. Or the new BS invisible nail brace is available for simple ,pain free correction.
Corns and Callouses
Corns and calluses are one of the most common problems seen by Podiatrists. Pathologically they are all the same – the skin has thickened in response to pressure. Callous generally refers to a more diffuse thickening of the skin, whereas a corn is a more focal area of callous buildup, and is often more painful. A corn can occur under, and be surrounded by callous. They are both generally painless to remove by your Cheltenham podiatrist and the patient gets instant relief. Sometimes, the podiatrist can use paddings and devices to slow down re-growth by reducing the pressure and or friction that causes them.
Shin Splints is a general term used for shin pain. The most common cause is a pulling of the soft tissue away from the boney sheath. It is characterized by pain along the inner border of the shin, and can occur at the beginning of exercise, during and/or after exercise. Causative factors include biomechanical abnormalities , downhill/uphill running, activity on uneven surfaces , a sudden increase in training, activity on hard surfaces, and inappropriate footwear. Podiatry is an important part of or the management of this condition, particularly to correct foot function and loading ,with orthotic therapy. Treatment may also include stretching exercises, footwear change, night splints, and training advice.
Diabetes can directly affect the feet in various ways. Over time the feet can be prone to detrimental changes, depending on how well blood glucose levels are managed. This includes changes to nerve function (numbness, and strange sensations in the feet), reduced blood flow through the vessels of the feet which compromise lower limb circulation, reduced mobility of joints, and deformity of the foot. In combination, these changes can potentially lead to a much greater risk of trauma, infection, ulceration, and in severe cases, amputation. Attending a podiatrist regularly can reduce the risk of foot complication by monitoring these possible changes. Cheltenham Podiatrists carry out annual Diabetic Foot assessments to monitor the various parameters, and can also perform a Doppler Ultrasound for Arterial assessments when required, the results are reported to your G.P. and Diabetic Specialist. This helps with the overall management.
At Our Cheltenham ulcer clinic, our podiatrists have years of experience dealing with foot ulcers. Ulcers are often caused by a combination of systemic and local issues, including diabetes (or diabetes related), poor vascular supply, trauma, foot deformity, and infection. The causes are established and then dealt with. Treatment in our ulcer clinic will often include offloading of the wound with paddings, specialist shoes and specialist dressing, depending on the type of wound. In some cases antibiotics, and/or PACT photodynamic antimicrobial therapy for infective wounds, may also be required. Often our Cheltenham podiatrists will work in conjunction with the G.P, nurses and or vascular specialists to ensure the best outcome. Regular debridement of necrotic tissue may be required weekly.
One of the common causes of knee pain is arthritis. Pain on the inside of the knee joint, at its medial(inside) compartment can be caused by degeneration of the cartilage. There is a growing body of evidence, that lateral foot wedges can reduce loading and pain with the type of knee arthritis, by redirecting forces away from the damaged area. At Cheltenham Podiatry we utilize this technique and have had some success. It is a simple and cheap technique .
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