Symptoms of Foot Problems

Many feet problems can be corrected with wearing the correct orthotics. The best orthotics are ones that are custom made to fit your feet perfectly. Just like our Custom Comfort Insoles. With a pair of Custom Comfort Insoles you increase your change of never having any of the following common feet problems:
Achilles Tendonitis Arch Pain Arthritis Athlete's Foot
Bunions Calluses Claw/Hammer Toes Corns
Diabetic Foot Heel Fissures Heel Pain Heel Spurs
Ingrown Toenails Mallet Toes Metatarsalgia Plantar Fasciitis
Over Pronation (Flat Feet) Overlapping Toes Morton's Toe Morton's Neuroma
Post-Tib Tendonitis Pregnancy & Your Feet Sesamoiditis Shin Splints

Foot Care Facts

  • 75% of Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime.
  • The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.
  • 25% of all the bones in the human body are down in your feet. When feet bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body.
  • Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems.
  • Foot problems begin with lack of awareness of proper care; including ill fitting shoes and neglect.
  • Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. High heels are partly to blame.
  • Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control, and promoting all-around well being.
  • Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet - so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
  • 7 Million Americans are affected by arthritis. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America. It limits everyday dressing, climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed or walking.
  • About 65% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage, which in severe forms can lead to lower limb amputations. Approximately 56,000 people a year lose their foot or leg to diabetes.
  • There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands in the feet excrete as much as a half-pint of moisture a day.
  • Walking barefoot can cause plantar warts. The virus enters through a cut.
  • If your two feet are different sizes buy shoes for the larger one.
  • About 5% of Americans have toenail problems in a given year.
  • The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which adds up to about 115,000 miles over a lifetime. That's enough to go around the circumference of the earth four times.

Achilles Tendonitis?

Achilles Tendonitis is a syndrome of irritation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle. Achilles Tendonitis is a common overuse injury that tends to occur in middle-age recreational athletes. The overuse causes inflammation that can lead to pain and swelling. Furthermore, Achilles Tendonitis can lead to small tears within the tendon, and make it susceptible to rupture.

What causes Achilles Tendonitis?

The two most common causes of Achilles Tendonitis are inflexibility of the tendon and overpronation. Other factors associated with Achilles Tendonitis are recent changes in footwear and changes in training schedules. Often long distance runners will have symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis after increasing their mileage or increasing the amount of hill training they are doing. As people age, tendons, like other tissues in the body, become less flexible, more rigid, and more susceptible to injury. Therefore, middle-age recreational athletes are most susceptible to Achilles Tendonitis.

What are the symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis?

The main complaint associated with Achilles Tendonitis is pain over the back of the heel. This is the point where the tendon inserts on the heel bone. Patients with Achilles Tendonitis usually experience the most significant pain after periods of inactivity. Therefore patients experience pain most often after first walking in the morning and when getting up after sitting for long periods of time. Patients will also experience pain while participating in activities, such as when running or jumping. Achilles Tendonitis pain associated with exercise is most significant when pushing off or jumping.

What is Arch Pain?

The term arch pain (often referred to as arch strain) refers to an inflammation and/or burning sensation at the arch of the foot.

What causes Arch Pain?

There are many different factors that can cause arch pain. A structural imbalance or an injury to the foot can often be the direct cause. However, most frequently the cause is a common condition called plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Excessive stretching of the plantar fascia, usually due to over-pronation (flat feet), causes plantar fasciitis. The inflammation caused by the plantar fascia being stretched away from the heel often leads to pain in the heel and arch areas. The pain is often extreme in the morning when an individual first gets out of bed or after a prolonged period of rest. If this condition is left untreated and strain on the longitudinal arch continues, a bony protrusion may develop, known as a heel spur. It is important to treat the condition promptly before it worsens.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the cartilage and lining of the body’s joints. Inflammation causes redness, warmth, pain and swelling. There are about 40 million Americans who suffer from arthritis. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, estimates that by the year 2020, about 60 million Americans will have arthritis. The primary targets for arthritis are people over the age of 50. Arthritis is a major cause of foot pain because each foot has 33 joints that can become affected by the disease.

Types of Arthritis

There are many different types of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis: Can cause excessive strain and the wearing away of cartilage in the joints of the foot. Movement becomes very difficult and painful. The pain and swelling worsens while standing or walking, and stiffness usually occurs after periods of rest.
  • Gout: Excess uric acid crystals collect in and around the joints of the big toe. The big toe joint is commonly the focal point due to the stress and pressure it experiences during walking and other weight bearing activities. This often leads to severe pain in the big toe. Men are more likely to develop gouty arthritis than women.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It can develop at any age and there is no known cause for this condition. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most crippling form of the disease that can affect people of all ages. It can cause severe deformities of the joints with associated fatigue of the entire body. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis often develop severe forefoot problems such as bunions, hammer toes, claw toes, and others.

What causes Arthritis?

There are many causes of arthritis. Heredity plays a major role. However, arthritic symptoms can develop due to many other factors. Some of these include bacterial and viral infections, prescription and illegal drugs, traumatic injuries, and bowel disorders such as ileitis and colitis.

Forefoot problems such as hammer toes, claw toes, mallet toes, and bunions often develop as a result of arthritis, particularly Rheumatoid arthritis. Problems can also develop in the heel and ankle area due to the erosion of the involved joints.

What is Athlete's Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes red, dry, flaking skin, sometimes accompanied by pain or itching. The condition usually occurs between the toes or on the soles or sides of the feet. In its acute stage, the infected foot exhibits blisters that itch or “weep.” Athlete’s Foot can spread to the toenails, causing chronic fungal infections. Often when a patient thinks the feet are only dry and cracking, Athlete’s Foot is responsible for the problem.

What causes Athlete's Foot?

Fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot are often contracted in showers, gyms, dressing rooms, swimming pool lockers, or other warm, damp areas where fungus can thrive. The name of the condition comes from the fact that athletes spend the most time in these environments and therefore are at a higher risk of fungal infection.

Once fungal spores are present on the feet, they can enter fissures or sores and remain there to spread, unless the feet are carefully washed and thoroughly dried after exposure.

Athlete’s Foot can spread from the toes to the toenails. If the patient touches or scratches the infection and then touches other parts of the body, the fungus can spread to fingernails or other parts of the body, including the groin or underarms.

Like any foot condition, Athlete’s Foot is of special concern to people with diabetes and compromised immune systems who are more susceptible to developing infections that can lead to serious medical problems.

What are Bunions?

Bunions, referred to in the medical community as Hallux Valgus, are one of the most common forefoot problems. A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. This bump is actually a bone protruding towards the inside of the foot. With the continued movement of the big toe towards the smaller toes, it is common to find the big toe resting under or over the second toe. This causes a common forefoot condition called overlapping toes. Some of the symptoms of bunions include inflammation, swelling, and soreness on the side surface of the big toe. The discomfort commonly causes a patient to walk improperly.

Another type of bunion which some individuals experience is called a Tailor's Bunion, also known as a Bunionette. This forms on the outside of the foot towards the joint at the little toe. It is a smaller bump that forms due to the little toe moving inwards, towards the big toe.

What causes Bunions?

Bunions are a common problem experienced mostly by women. The deformity can develop from an abnormality in foot function, or arthritis, but is more commonly caused by wearing improper fitting footwear. Tight, narrow dress shoes with a constrictive toe box (toe area) can cause the foot to begin to take the shape of the shoe, leading to the formation of a bunion. Women who have bunions normally wear dress shoes that are too small for their feet. Their toes are squeezed together in their shoes causing the first metatarsal bone to protrude on the side of the foot.

It is important for men and women to realize that wearing dress shoes and boots, which are tapered in the toe area, can cause the bunion to worsen to the point where surgery is necessary.

What are Calluses?

The formation of calluses is caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. This callus formation isthe body's defense mechanism to protect the foot against excessive pressure and friction. Calluses are normally found on the ball-of-the-foot, the heel, and/or the inside of the big toe.

Some calluses have a deep seated core known as a nucleation. This particular type of callus can be especially painful to pressure. This condition is often referred to as Intractable Plantar Keratosis.

What causes Calluses?

Calluses develop becuase of excessive pressure at a specific area of the foot. Some common causes of callus formation are high-heeled dress shoes, shoes that are too small, obesity, abnormalities in the gait cycle (walking motion), flat feet, high arched feet, bony prominences, and the loss of the fat pad on the bottom of the foot.

What are Claw/Hammer Toes?

A claw/hammer toe is a toe that is contracted at the PIP and DIP joints (middle and end joints in the toe), and can lead to severe pressure and pain. Ligaments and tendons that have tightened cause the toe's joints to curl downwards. Claw/hammer toes may occur in any toe, except the big toe. There is often discomfort at the top part of the toe that is rubbing against the shoe and at the end of the toe that is pressed against the bottom of the shoe.

Claw/hammer toes are classified based on the mobility of the toe joints. There are two types - flexible and rigid. In a flexible claw toe, the joint has the ability to move. This type of claw toe can be straightened manually.

A rigid claw toe does not have that same ability to move. Movement is very limited and can be extremely painful. This sometimes causes foot movement to become restricted leading to extra stress at the ball-of-the-foot, and possibly causing pain and the development of corns and calluses.

What causes Claw/Hammer Toes?

Claw/hammer toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to become unnaturally tight. This results in the joints curling downwards. Arthritis can also lead to many different forefoot deformities, including claw toes.

What are Corns?

Corns like calluses develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells on the foot, forming thick, hardened areas. They contain a cone-shaped core with a point that can press on a nerve below, causing pain. Corns are a very common ailment that usually form on the tops, sides and tips of the toes. Corns can become inflamed due to constant friction and pressure from footwear. Corns that form between the toes are sometimes referred to as soft corns.

What causes Corns?

Some of the common causes of corn development are tight fitting footwear, high heeled footwear, tight fitting stockings and socks, deformed toes, or the foot sliding forward in a shoe that fits too loosely. Soft corns result from bony prominences and are located between the toes. They become soft due to perspiration in the forefoot area. Complications that can arise from corns include bursitis and the development of an ulcer.

The Diabetic Foot

Diabetes is a serious disease that can develop from lack of insulin production in the body or due to the inability of the body's insulin to perform its normal everyday functions. Insulin is a substance produced by the pancreas gland that helps process the food we eat and turn it into energy.

Diabetes affects approximately 16 million Americans and is classified into 2 different types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually associated with juvenile diabetes and is often linked to heredity. Type 2, commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes, is characterized by elevated blood sugars, often in people who are overweight or have not attended to their diet properly. Many complications can be associated with diabetes. Diabetes disrupts the vascular system, affecting many areas of the body such as the eyes, kidneys, legs, and feet. People with diabetes should pay special attention to their feet.

Neuropathy

Of the sixteen million Americans with diabetes, 25% will develop foot problems related to the disease. Diabetic foot conditions develop from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy. Diabetic Neuropathy can cause insensitivity or a loss of ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. Diabetics suffering from neuropathy can develop minor cuts, scrapes, blisters, or pressure sores that they may not be aware of due to the insensitivity. If these minor injuries are left untreated, complications may result and lead to ulceration and possibly even amputation. Neuropathy can also cause deformities such as Bunions, Hammer Toes, and Charcot Feet.

It is very important for diabetics to take the necessary precautions to prevent all foot related injuries. Due to the consequences of neuropathy, daily observation of the feet is critical. When a diabetic patient takes the necessary preventative footcare measures, he or she reduces the risks of serious foot conditions.

Poor Circulation

Diabetes often leads to peripheral vascular disease that inhibits a person’s blood circulation. With this condition, there is a narrowing of the arteries that frequently leads to significantly decreased circulation in the lower part of the legs and the feet. Poor circulation contributes to diabetic foot problems by reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrition supplied to the skin and other tissue, causing injuries to heal poorly. Poor circulation can also lead to swelling and dryness of the foot. Preventing foot complications is more critical for the diabetic patient because poor circulation impairs the healing process and can lead to ulcers, infection, and other serious foot conditions.

What are Heel Fissures?

Heel fissures, also known as cracked heels can be a simple cosmetic problem and a nuisance, but can also lead to serious medical problems. Heel fissures occur when the skin on the bottom, outer edge of the heel becomes hard, dry and flaky, sometimes causing deep fissures that can be painful or bleed.

What causes Heel Fissures?

Heel fissures can affect anyone, but risk factors include:

  • Living in a dry climate
  • Obesity
  • Consistently walking barefoot or wearing sandals or open-backed shoes
  • Inactive sweat glands

Like many foot conditions, heel fissures can become more dangerous if they go untreated and become deep or infected. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes or compromised immune systems.

What is Heel Pain?

Heel pain is a common condition in which weight bearing on the heel causes extreme discomfort.

What causes Heel Pain?

There are two different categories of heel pain. The first is caused by over-use repetitive stress which refers to a soreness resulting from too much impact on a specific area of the foot. This condition, often referred to as "heel pain syndrome," can be caused by shoes with heels that are too low, a thinned out fat pad in the heel area, or from a sudden increase in activity.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fascitis, a very common diagnosis of heel pain, is usually caused from a biomechancial problem, such as over-pronation (flat feet). The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom surface of the foot, from the heel through the midfoot and into the forefoot. Over-pronation can cause the plantar fascia to be excessively stretched and inflamed, resulting in pain in the heel and arch areas of the foot. Often the pain will be most intense first thing in the morning or after a prolonged period of rest. The pain will gradually subside as the day progresses.

What are Heel Spurs?

The heel bone is the largest bone in the foot and absorbs the most amount of shock and pressure. A heel spur develops as an abnormal growth of the heel bone. Calcium deposits form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel area, causing a bony protrusion, or heel spur to develop. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue located along the bottom surface of the foot that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Heel spurs can cause extreme pain in the rearfoot, especially while standing or walking.

What causes Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs develop as an abnormal growth in the heel bone due to calcium deposits that form when the plantar fascia pulls away from the heel. This stretching of the plantar fascia is usually the result of over-pronation (flat feet), but people with unusually high arches (pes cavus) can also develop heel spurs. Women have a significantly higher incidence of heel spurs due to the types of footwear often worn on a regular basis.

What are Ingrown Toenails?

Known to physicians as onychocryptosis, ingrown toe nails are a common, painful condition that occur when skin on one or both sides of a nail grows over the edges of the nail, or when the nail itself grows into the skin. This condition is usually very painful and can be associated with infection of the toe. Some ingrown toenails are chronic, with repeated episodes of pain and infection. Irritation, redness, an uncomfortable sensation of warmth, as well as swelling can result from an ingrown toenail.

What causes Ingrown Toenails?

Ingrown toenails develop for many reasons. In some cases the condition is congenital, such as toenails that simply are too large. People whose toes curl, either congenitally or from diseases like arthritis, are prone to ingrown toenails. Often trauma, like stubbing a toe or having a toe stepped on, can cause a piece of the nail to be jammed into the skin. Repeated trauma, such as the pounding to which runners typically subject their feet, also can cause ingrown nails.

The most common cause is cutting your toenails incorrectly, causing them to re-grow into the skin. Tight hosiery or shoes with narrow toe boxes only make matters worse. If the skin is red, painful or swollen on the sides of the nail, an infection may be present. This occurs because the ingrown nail is often in a warm, moist and bacteria-rich environment. When the nail penetrates the skin, it provides a convenient entry for germs that can cause infection. Untreated, the nail can go under the skin, causing a more severe infection. In either case, the infection needs to be cured with sterile instruments and antibiotics.

What are Mallet Toes?

Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort.

What causes Mallet Toes?

Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. A mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort. Arthritis can also lead to many forefoot deformities including mallet toes. Mallet toes can cause extreme discomfort, and can be aggravated if restrictive or improperly fitting footwear is worn for a prolonged period of time.

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, more commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-the-foot. Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).

What causes Metatarsalgia?

With this common foot condition, one or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain with metatarsalgia. Ball-of-foot pain is often caused from improper fitting footwear, most frequently by women’s dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box (toe area) forces the ball-of-foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.

Other factors can cause excessive pressure in the ball-of-foot area that can result in metatarsalgia. These include shoes with heels that are too high or participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics. Also as we get older, the fat pad in our foot tends to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball-of-the-foot.

What is Morton's Neuroma?

Morton's Neuroma is a common foot problem associated with pain, swelling and/or an inflammation of a nerve, usually at the ball-of-the-foot between the 3rd and 4th toes. Symptoms of this condition include sharp pain, burning, and even a lack of feeling in the affected area. Morton's Neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot.

What causes Morton's Neuroma?

Morton's Neuroma is a foot condition caused from an abnormal function of the foot that leads to bones squeezing a nerve usually between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads. Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma often occur during or after you have been placing significant pressure on the forefoot area, while walking, standing, jumping, or sprinting. This condition can also be caused by footwear selection. Footwear with pointed toes and/or high heels can often lead to a neuroma. Constricting shoes can pinch the nerve between the toes, causing discomfort and extreme pain.

What is Morton's Toe?

Morton's Toe is a common forefoot disorder where the second toe is longer than the Big Toe (the Hallux).

What causes Morton's Toe?

Morton's toe leads to excessive pressure on the second metatarsal head (behind the second toe at the ball- of-the-foot) resulting in pain similar to the discomfort associated with metatarsalgia. The constant pressure placed on the longer second toe while walking or standing can lead to callus formation under the second metatarsal head due to this excessive pressure.

What are Overlapping Toes?

Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. People of all ages can experience forefoot problems. Overlapping toes can occur in any of the toes and can cause extreme irritation if not corrected.

What causes Overlapping Toes?

Many disorders can affect the joints in the toes, causing pain and preventing the foot from functioning as it should. People of all ages can experience forefoot problems. Overlapping toes can occur in any of the toes and can cause extreme irritation if not corrected.

What is Over Pronation (Flat Feet)?

Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, potentially causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.

What Causes Over Pronation (Flat Feet)?

Over-pronation is very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet. The framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten and adding stress to other parts of the foot. As a result, over-pronation, often leads to Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.

There are many causes of flat feet. Obesity, pregnancy or repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch leading to over-pronation. Often people with flat feet do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increased strain on the feet and calves.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation caused by excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a broad band of fibrous tissue which runs along the bottom surface of the foot, attaching at the bottom of the heel bone and extending to the forefoot. When the plantar fascia is excessively stretched, this can cause plantar fasciitis, which can also lead to heel pain, arch pain, and heel spurs.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis often leads to heel pain, heel spurs, and/or arch pain. The excessive stretching of the plantar fascia that leads to the inflammation and discomfort can be caused by the following:

  • Over-pronation (flat feet) which results in the arch collapsing upon weight bearing
  • A foot with an unusually high arch
  • A sudden increase in physical activity
  • Excessive weight on the foot, usually attributed to obesity or pregnancy
  • Improperly fitting footwear

Over-pronation (flat feet) is the leading cause of plantar fasciitis. Over-pronation occurs in the walking process, when a person's arch collapses upon weight bearing, causing the plantar fascia to be stretched away from the heel bone.

With Plantar Fasciitis, the bottom of your foot usually hurts near the inside of the foot where the heel and arch meet. The pain is often acute either first thing in the morning or after a long rest, because while resting the plantar fascia contracts back to its original shape. As the day progresses and the plantar fascia continues to be stretched, the pain often subsides.

What is Post-Tib Tendonitis?

Post-Tib Tendonitis is a strain placed on the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and the foot. When there is post-tibial tendon disfunction, the tendon does not function to hold up the arch, resulting in flat feet. This can lead to heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs. With post-tib tendonitis, pain will be more severe upon weight bearing, especially while walking or running.

What causes Post-Tib Tendonitis?

Post-Tib Tendonitis occurs when the muscle is overused and the tendon (soft tissue) that connects the muscle to your bone is strained. Years of over-pronation (flat feet) can also lead to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. If you keep overusing the muscle, damage to the tendon builds up and tendonitis develops. At first the pain or swelling may come and go quickly, but eventually the problem may become more permanent.

Pregnancy & Your Feet

Pregnancy triggers many different changes in a woman's body. Many women have common complaints throughout their pregnancy. One of these complaints, often overlooked, is foot pain. Due to the natural weight gain during pregnancy, a woman's center of gravity is completely altered. This causes a new weight-bearing stance and added pressure to the knees and feet.Two of the most common foot problems experienced by pregnant woman are over- pronation and edema. These problems can lead to pain at the heel, arch, or the ball-of-foot. Many women may also experience leg cramping and varicose veins due to weight gain. Because of this, it is important for all pregnant women to learn more about foot health during their pregnancy to help make this nine month period more comfortable for them.

Causes

  • Over-Pronation, also referred to as flat feet, is caused when a person's arch flattens out upon weight bearing and their feet roll inward when walking. This can create extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, the fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot. Over-pronation can make walking very painful and can increase strain on the feet, calves and/or back. The reason many pregnant women suffer from over-pronation is the added pressure on the body as a result of weight gain. Over-pronation is also very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet or in people who are obese.
  • Edema, also referred to as swelling in the feet, normally occurs in the latter part of pregnancy. Edema results from the extra blood accumulated during pregnancy. The enlarging uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvis and legs causing circulation to slow down and blood to pool in the lower extremities. The total water fluid in the body remains the same as before pregnancy, however it becomes displaced. When feet are swollen, they can become purplish in color. Sometimes extra water is retained during pregnancy, adding to the swelling. If there is swelling in the face or hands, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

What is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is a common ailment that affects the forefoot, typically in young people who engage in physical activity like running or dancing. Its most common symptom is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial or inner side. The term is a general description for any irritation of the sesamoid bones, which are tiny bones within the tendons that run to the big toe. Like the kneecap, the sesamoids function as a pulley, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. Every time you push off against the toe the sesamoids are involved, and eventually they can become irritated, even fractured. Because the bones are actually within the tendons, sesamoiditis is really a kind of tendinitis - the tendons around the bones become inflamed as well.

What causes Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis typically can be distinguished from other forefoot conditions by its gradual onset. The pain usually begins as a mild ache and increases gradually as the aggravating activity is continued. It may build to an intense throbbing. In most cases there is little or no bruising or redness. One of the major causes of sesamoiditis is increased activity. You've probably stepped up your activity level lately, which has forced you to put more pressure on the balls of your feet. Speedwork, hillwork, or even increased mileage can cause this. If you have a bony foot, you simply may not have enough fat on your foot to protect your tender sesamoids. Also, if you have a high arched foot, you will naturally run on the balls-of-your-feet, adding even more pressure.

What are Shin Splints?

Shin splints are a common lower extremity complaint, especially among runners and other athletes. They are characterized by pain in the front or inside aspect of the lower leg due to overexertion of the muscles. The pain usually develops gradually without a history of trauma, and might begin as a dull ache along the front or inside of the shin (Tibia) after running or even walking. Small bumps and tender areas may become evident adjacent to the shin bone. The pain can become more intense if not addressed, and shin splints should not be left untreated because of an increased risk of developing stress fractures. Shin splints usually involve small tears in the leg muscles where they are attached to the shin bone. The two types of shin splints are: anterior shin splints, in the front portion of the tibia; and posterior shin splints, occurring on the inside of the leg along the tibia.

What causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints can be caused when the anterior leg muscles are stressed by running, especially on hard surfaces or extensively on the toes, or by sports that involve jumping. Wearing athletic shoes that are worn out or don’t have enough shock absorption can also cause this condition. Over-pronated (flat feet) are another factor that can lead to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercise. People with high arched feet can also experience shin splint discomfort because this foot type is a poor shock absorber.

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