Common Conditions and Treatments
- Arch Pain
Also called arch strain and is an indicator of inflammation with a burning sensation at the arch of the foot. Arch pain can result from a number of different causes. The most common is plantar fasciitis (same as for heel pain) however other causes of arch pain include structural imbalances and foot shock/injury. Arch pain and heel pain often come together due to this shared caused. A heel spur may result if the arch pain is left untreated and allows further strain on the arch. It is treated easily with proper footwear or shock absorbing soles and if needed orthotics with a good arch support to prevent further inflammation and re-occurrence.
Occur on the large toe and are an enlargement of the joint at the base of the toe. It produces a painful lump of bone at the base which forms from the tissue or bone at the joint moving out of place which forces the toe to bend in a direction it normally shouldn’t be facing. The bump usually occurs on the outside of the foot (at the bottom/base of the large toe). Bunions only form after years of pressure and abnormal motion on the joint from walking style, genetic foot type or bad fitting shoes. Treatment can usually be done without the need for surgery. Initially focused on relieving the pressure and pain to reduce and stop further joint deformity. Other treatments include ultrasound therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, topical lotions and icing
Similar to corns but generally refer to the formation of dead skin on the heel (but also the large toe and ball of the foot). A callous is more an indicator of a problem (symptom) rather than a condition. Improper foot wear is the most common cause of callouses due to excessive pressure on particular areas of the foot. Correct footwear will relieve and prevent the callus from returning and inserts or orthotic devices can be used to evenly redistribute the weight along your foot correctly, preventing excessive pressure on any one spot.
- Children’s Feet
Child foot problems usually exhibit pain or deformity but can show both symptoms. Flat feet are the most common deformity and if there is no pain, no treatment needs to be sought. However if it results in pain and stiffness then the problem will not go away on its own and professional treatment needs to be found. Another childhood foot problem is toeing in and out which can result from abnormal hip, leg or foot alignment. The causes of and subsequent treatment of toeing in and out is easily determined and can be resolved quickly. Children like adults can also suffer from heel pain which is also a result of over use. Treatment is easy through inserts and physical therapy.
Corns are small dense layer of dead skin cells that result from excessive pressure on the skin (and act as a ‘padding’ to further damage). They are a response by the body to protect the foot due to abuse and stress. The pressure that results in Corns, can be due to a number of causes including, tight and ill-fitting shoes, deformed toes, walking problems and bunions or shoes that are poorly made and rub against the toes. Corns can be easily treated by a practitioner through a number of means, one being trimming the dead skin off with a scalpel. Preventing corns in the first place is better to avoid the extra pressure that is placed on your feet. Wearing correctly fitting shoes, thick socks when participating in sports can help reduce the possibility of corns forming.
- Diabetic Foot Care
Is an extremely important preventative measure that all Diabetics need to be aware of. Diabetes can cause foot problems due to nerve damage which affects how the senses in the foot can detect sensation, trauma and pressure. It can also affect circulation in the lower body which leads to reduced ability to repair wounds and fight infections. All diabetics should routinely have a consultation and foot examination to keep on top of any potential issues. It is critical for diabetics to prevent foot problems with simple precautions that can be done every day.
- Dry Needling
Essentially ‘western acupuncture’ although based on very different principles, it helps relieve knots (called myofascial trigger points) in muscle, tendons or connective tissue. It uses fine acupuncture needles to create a local twitch response which treats the hypersensitive areas of the trigger points. The result of this treatment causes the muscles to relax, relieves the pain and improves the range of foot movement.
- Flat Feet
Defined as the inner arch of the foot being more flat than normal. This condition appears most commonly in children, although can appear in people of any age. The range of causes for flat feet can be from genetic (bone and tendon positioning) to acquired and related to other conditions like trauma or cerebral palsy. In adults it is usually the result of soft tissue injuries where they tendons and ligaments have been torn. The earlier the treatment for flat feet the better as if left untreated over time it can develop into a number of painful conditions. For children each case is different and needs to be determined by a podiatrist to assess whether it is within normal change, or potentially needs some preventative measure. General treatment involves better quality footwear, or specially made orthotics.
- Forefoot Pain
Is pain normally arising in the sole of the feet that can also be accompanied by swelling, burning and numbness, however often there is none. The pain is often present when the foot is under load (weight) for only a short duration. The exact causes can be quite varied but include bad fitting footwear, trauma (sports related), problems with the actual mechanics of the foot and inflammation in the joints. It is mostly treated with orthotics and corticosteroid injections and if the condition is severe a surgical procedure may be needed.
- Heel Pain
A condition that is extremely common in adults and one of the most treated conditions in Podiatry. It’s usually caused due to simple day to day tasks and exercise. The most common cause of heel pain is inflammation in the plantar fascia (the connective tissue of the foot). The pain most frequently persists in the side or bottom rear of the heel. Different treatments are available depending on the exact cause of heal pain, but orthotics are one of the most commonly used options.
- Ingrown Toe Nails
These are defined as the nail either growing into the skin, causing inflammation and pain, or where the skin of the side of the nail grows over it. The most common cause is ill fitting shows and poorly maintained nails (ie cutting them too short, or letting them grow too long). Other causes include trauma, tight socks/stockings and frequent running. Non infected ingrown toenails can be treated at home with over the counter products. If the nail is infected however, it needs to be treated by a practitioner who will fix the nail in a minor surgical procedure. Reoccurring ingrown toenails need a more permanent fix to prevent them from re-growing and causing issues again. Prevention of ingrown toenails is always the best and they can be avoided through cutting nails straight, protecting your feet from trauma and wearing shoes that fit properly.
- Joint Mobilisation and Manipulation
This process is designed to stretch stiff structures with the aim of relieving pain and restoring the structure to their normal joint position and back to normal recovery of movement. The difference between mobilisation and manipulation is, manipulation involves a quick thrusting movement to get the joint back to position. It can form part of the treatment process for many different including heel and ankle pain, leg pain, shin splints, knee pain etc
Foot orthotics are custom made inserts that fit into shoes to help distribute body weight evenly across the foot. The result is the removal of imbalances and better foot control to reduce ongoing stress to any one area on the foot. They can be used to align and support the foot or ankle, help correct or prevent foot deformities and improve the general function of your foot/ankle. Orthotics can be used to treat a range of foot conditions, help ease pain on feet during exercise, or for those who have a little more weight than they would like and are trying to exercise but find it painful and uncomfortable on their feet. There are HUNDREDS of differing types of orthotics and our professionals can assist you with the right choice for your condition.
Also called nonsurgical ligament reconstruction or regenerative injection therapy. It is done in many parts of the body, but used in Podiatry to reduce chronic pain by strengthening any weekend connective tissue in the foot nd promoting repair of damaged nerves and reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation allows blood to more freely flow into the area, which helps promote the repair of the damaged area. The treatment is done through series of injections of a dextrose solution just under the skin using fine needles.
- Related Hip/Knee/Back Pain
Foot health is not only about the feet, but many painful symptoms in the knees, hips and back can be a result of bad foot posture. There are potentially a number of different abnormalities of the foot that can lead to pain in these areas. For instance, over pronation (where the foot rolls in too much) causes the leg to rotate inwards towards the other leg, and stresses the knee joint, resulting in pain. Another common problem is the leg length discrepancy, which can result in back and hip pain. Among other treatments, many of these can be treated with orthotics, correcting the positioning of the foot and alleviating the stress of the upper part of the body, removing the pain.
- Soft Tissue Mobilisation
Is an intervention treatment for an injury, designed to increase the circulation and the flexibility of the soft tissue muscles in the lower leg, foot and ankle. Soft tissue inflammation can result in adhesions (tissue ‘sticking’ together) and scar tissue which will reduce the range of motion of the joints and can cause pain. Bad foot posture, high activity levels and body weight can all contribute to soft tissue injuries which can result in heel pain, chronic ankle pain, shin splints and Achilles pain, all for which soft tissue mobilisation can form part of the treatment regime.
Also called Verrucas, they appear on the soles of the feet and are the result of viral infection within the skin. They appear as areas of flat and thick skin, that have a hard edge surrounding a softer centre. The difference between them and corns/hard skin is the appearance of tiny black dots within them (warts). The virus is most commonly caught in public areas, such as change rooms or swimming pools, where an infected foot has been before you and left ‘infected cells’ on the floor. Treatments vary from person to person and depend on many factors including age, the number etc and although they will heal up on their own, it can take months to years for this to happen, so treatment is the best option. Treatment involves using corrosive solutions and liquid plaster or freezing them with liquid nitrogen.