By John Guevara
Due to the central role that they play in movement and weight-bearing, feet problems can make life miserable for even the hardiest soul. Modern footwear, with its spongy soles and cramped toe area, have meant that foot conditions are a rising concern for podiatrists. Together with overuse, injury or conditions causing chronic inflammation, bad footwear is one of the most common causes of foot complaints. The following is a list of some of the most common foot-related ailments and the best courses with which to treat them. For any more advice on symptoms, diagnoses and treatments, visit your nearest reputable podiatrist in Sydney.
1. Plantar Fasciitis
Presenting with symptoms of pain in the heel or arch of the foot, plantar fasciitis is caused by chronically tight hamstrings and/or calves. Treatment usually involves applying ice to the heel and engaging in a vigorous stretching regime for the lower legs over a prolonged period of time. Although it has traditionally been believed that the condition can be treated by platform insoles to support the foot arch, recent research has indicated that the most successful means of treating the condition is to spend at least part of the day walking around barefoot or wearing special barefoot shoes.
2. Stress Fracture
A stress fracture is a painful condition that is often caused by suddenly increasing the kilometres run in a workout. It can also be caused by the unhealthy habit of heel-striking when running, which greatly increases the weight-load of running throughout the whole body when compared to the toe-striking running style. Although an athlete may not want to hear this, the best remedy for curing a stress fracture is rest. The condition should cure itself on its own given a few weeks without any intensive physical activity or load-bearing.
Formed by a large lump on the joint between the foot and the big toe, bunions develop gradually and are often caused by osteoporosis, arthritis or simply wearing narrow, pointed shoes. Suffers from the condition report pain when walking and a big toe that appears to angle toward the outside of the foot. The key to treating a bunion is changing your footwear for shoes with a wide toe-box. This will release the pressure on the joint and leave the foot free to return to its original shape. This action should be accompanied by a regular application of ice throughout the day to reduce the pain and swelling until the sufferer is feeling better.
4. Heel Spurs
Heel spurs occur when an extra bone, or calcium deposit, grows over the original heel bone. The condition can be quite painful when the extra bone rubs up against another bone or ligament. Heel spurs are caused by prolonged tightness in the ligaments throughout the upper and lower legs. The best treatment for the condition is to start a regimented stretching routine for the calves and hamstrings. It can also help to work to strengthen the arch of the foot by stretching the toes, bouncing on tiptoes, and curling and uncurling the feet.