Foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country and with the increasing incidence of diabetes, looking after your feet has never been more important.
How Diabetes affects the Foot
It is important to consult a podiatrist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following; Numbness, pins and needles or burning sensation Persistent pain in your feet or ankles. Changes in the nails or skin on your foot. Severe cracking, scaling, or peeling on the heel or foot. Blisters on your feet. There are signs of bacterial infection, including: Increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat. Red streaks extending from the affected area. Discharge or pus from an area on the foot. Spreading of an infection from one area of the foot to another, such as under the nail or the surrounding skin. Thickening toenails that cause discomfort. Heel pain accompanied by a fever, redness (sometimes warmth), or numbness. Tingling in the heel; persistent heel pain without putting any weight or pressure on your heel Athlete’s Foot.
Children’s feet are a different shape from those of adults; they are wider across the toes and narrower at the heels. Bones do not harden until the child is in the late teens and as they are growing are particularly vulnerable to deformity caused by poorly fitting footwear.
Toddlers naturally have flat feet due to a plantar fat pad and as this is natural it is not necessary to try to correct the “flat feet” and small children should be allowed to walk barefoot for as long as possible.
Shoes should be checked often to ensure that they have not been outgrown and socks should be checked for size and shape as they can shrink in the wash.
Children who trip over their own feet more than normal should be checked for “Toeing in” gait. This may be corrected fairly simply with the aid of insoles and/or exercises but may be due to an abnormality in hip development. This can be assessed in this podiatry clinic and referred to the paediatrician or orthopaedics if necessary.
The foot is a intricate structure which includes 26 bones, 33 joints and various ligaments, muscles and tendons which must move together and in all the right positions during the gait cycle. The integrated movement of all these structures is called biomechanics and is a complex study. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that most people will experience some problem with their feet at some time in their lives.
Foot conditions treated at this clinic include;
Ankle Instability /sprains
These are often caused by structural and muscular imbalances and may be treated by strapping and correction of the underlying structural defect by using orthotic insoles to change the way the foot moves on the ground and correct the walking pattern.
Arthritis of the Foot & Ankle
Diabetic Foot conditions
Hyper pronation (Flat Feet)
These are usually caused by improper nail trimming, but can also result from shoe pressure, damage, a nail fungal infection, inherited nail shape or abnormal foot function. The corner or sides dig into the flesh and may set up an infection. It can be prevented by not cutting down the sides of nails or seeking help before an infection sets in. Clinical treatment of Ingrowing toenails may include careful painless clinical treatment to gently remove the part of the side of the nail which is causing the pain treatment.
Fungal Toenails and other toenail problems
Plantar fasciitis (Heel Spurs)
This is a common complaint involving inflammation on the bottom of the foot that leads to heel and/or arch pain. Injury or abnormal foot biomechanics can cause plantar fasciitis. Treatment initially consists of ice, foot and leg stretching exercises combined with specialised strapping technique to take the strain off the plantar fascia; the ligament which connects the heel to the front of the foot. Prescription of orthotic insoles can help to correct the foot position and relieve strain on the arch. If these do not relieve the pain, steroid injections may be indicated.
Pain in the ball of the foot (Metatarsalgia)
These are painful enlarged fibrous growths around a nerve, usually between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal joints. Neuromas are caused when the joint rubs against the nerve and causes irritation and eventually fibrous tissue around the nerve sheath. This can be caused by tight shoes which squash the joints or abnormal foot biomechanical function. Treatment depends on the severity of the pain; orthotic insoles, cortisone injections or surgical removal of the growth.