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Foot Health

Your feet must last a lifetime, and most Americans log an amazing 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach age 50. Regular foot care can make sure your feet are up to the task. With proper detection, intervention, and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented.

Use the foot health information below to learn more common foot conditions and treatments. Click links for additional offsite information at APMA

Arthritis

  • Arthritis
    Arthritis is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. Each foot has 33 joints that can be afflicted with arthritis.

Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease

  • Diabetes
    Today's podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications.
  • Diabetic Wound Care
    A diabetic foot ulcer is an open sore or wound that occurs in approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes and is commonly located on the bottom of the foot.
  • High Blood Pressure
    High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Your podiatrist is vitally concerned about hypertension and vascular disease (heart and circulatory problems).
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
    PAD is caused by a blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the legs when fatty deposits (plaque) build up. The buildup of plaque causes the arteries to harden and narrow.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
    Peripheral neuropathy is damage of the peripheral nerves—the nerves in your toes and fingertips. In the United States, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes.

Foot & Ankle Injuries

  • Sprains, Strains & Fractures
    The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. A fracture is actually a break in the bone.

Muscle & Tendon Problems

  • Haglund's Deformity
    Haglund's Deformity is a bony enlargement of the back of the heel bone. Sometimes it's called “pump bump” because the deformity often occurs in women who wears pumps.
  • Heel Pain
    The heel bone is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot. Like all bones, it is subject to outside influences that can affect its integrity and cause heel pain.
  • Tendinitis
    Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. Achilles tendinitis, or an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, is one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain.

Skin Disorders

  • Athlete's Foot
    Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus. It most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth.
  • Corns and Calluses
    Corns and calluses are areas of thickened skin that develop to protect that area from irritation. They are usually caused by rubbing or excess pressure against part of the foot.
  • Psoriasis
    Psoriasis is caused by faster-than-normal turnover of skin cells. In people who have psoriasis, the new cells move to the surface so rapidly that the dead cells build up on the surface in dry, whitish-silver patches.
  • Skin Cancers of the Feet
    Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body, including in the lower extremities. Most skin cancers of the feet are painless, and often there is a history of recurrent cracking, bleeding, or ulceration.
  • Sweaty Feet
    Excessive sweating of the feet is called hyperhidrosis. People whose feet sweat excessively often also have problems with excessive sweating of the palms.
  • Warts
    Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus and can appear anywhere on the skin.

Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders

  • Bunions
    A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place.
  • Hammer Toes
    A hammer toe is a contracture, or bending, of the toe at the first joint of the digit, called the proximal interphalangeal joint. This bending causes the toe to appear like an upside-down V when looked at from the side.
  • Neuromas
    A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes.

Toenail Problems

  • Ingrown Toenails
    Ingrown toenails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling.
  • Toenail Fungus
    Toenail fungus is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. The disease is characterized by a progressive change in a toenail's quality and color.

Treatment

  • Shoe Inserts and Prescription Custom Orthotics
    Shoe inserts are any kind of non-prescription foot support designed to be worn inside a shoe. Custom orthotics are specially-made devices designed to support and comfort your feet.
  • Surgery
    Often when pain or deformity persists, surgery may be appropriate to alleviate discomfort or to restore the function of your foot.

Tips for Healthy Feet

Get advice on how to care for your feet, including how to select the perfect shoes for a variety of activities and how to get a pedicure safely. These helpful pointers are sure to keep you and your family in step with good foot health.

Foot Care Tips

  • Holiday Foot Care
    You may be doing a lot of walking, dancing, standing and sitting in one position throughout the holiday season. Learn how to care for your feet so they can carry you through all those seasonal celebrations and chores.
  • Pedicure Pointers
    Whether you like to get a pedicure in the nail salon or at home, follow these easy tips to keep your feet looking and feeling their best.
  • Summer Foot Care
    Get tips for protecting your feet from the summer heat.
  • Winter Foot Care
    It's important to take care of your feet all winter long. Get tips for keeping feet healthy in several common winter scenarios.

Footwear Selection Tips

  • Avoiding a Sandal Scandal
    This tip sheet will help you avoid a beach blunder this summer by addressing all your footwear woes.
  • Balance-Boosting Footwear Tips for Older People
    Good physical balance can help older people avoid the debilitating and potentially life-threatening complications of a fall. Follow these tips to select shoes to improve your balance.
  • Buying Children's Footwear
    Several tips on buying back-to-school shoes for your child, as well as a simple "1,2,3 Test" to determine the safety of any shoe.
  • Choosing Shoes for Sports
    Sport-specific shoes can really affect the way you play. Avoid some serious pain and raise your game by checking out the best shoes for each sport.
  • Flip-Flops
    Avoid foot pain and other flip-flop fiascos with these essential tips on shopping for and wearing flip-flops.
  • Footwear for Teenagers
    Advice for teens on how to get great fitting shoes.
  • Which Running Shoe is Right for You?
    One of the first steps to healthy running is wearing supportive running shoes. APMA has information which might help determine which athletic shoe is right for your foot type.