Verrucae

A verruca is usually found on the sole of the foot and because of the pressure, may be quite painful. It is flatter in appearance and the surface may have black dots on it. There may be several verrucae or just one. Verrucae may come and go but can sometimes persist for several years if they are not treated.

Warts

Warts are slightly raised and circular in shape, with a thickened rim of surrounding skin that looks like a callus (hardened skin). They are usually not painful.

What are Corns?

A corn is a small area of skin which has become thickened due to pressure on it. A corn is roughly round in shape. Corns may press into the deeper layers of skin and can be painful.

  • Hard corns commonly occur on the top of the smaller toes or on the outer side of the little toe. These are the areas where poorly fitted shoes tend to rub most.
  • Soft corns sometimes form in between the toes, most commonly between the fourth and fifth toes. These are softer because the sweat between the toes keeps them moist. Soft corns can sometimes become infected if not treated.

What are the causes of Corns?

A corn is caused by too much pressure which can be from a number of sources, including:

  • Tight or poor fitting shoes, socks or stockings
  • Shoes rubbing against the toe
  • Deformed toes

What are the symptoms of Corns?

Some of the most common symptoms of a corn are:

  • A hard growth on the skin of the toes
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the hard growth
  • Redness and swelling around the hard growth
  • Severe discomfort around a hard growth of skin on the toes
  • Discomfort when wearing tight fitting shoes

What are Calluses?

A callus is larger, broader and has a less well defined edge than a corn. Although calluses tend to be found on the underside of the foot (the sole), a callus will form on any part of the skin exposed to friction over a long period of time.. They commonly form over the bony area just underneath the toes. This area takes much of your weight when you walk. They are usually painless but can become painful if not treated.

What are the causes?

Normally, a callus will form on any part of the skin exposed to friction over a long period of time. Although often found on the foot (where the most pressure and friction are applied), calluses can occur anywhere on the body as a reaction to moderate, constant "grinding" pressure.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are:

  • A hard growth usually on the ball of the foot
  • Pain on weight bearing, relieved by rest
  • Increased discomfort in thin soled and high heeled shoes

What are Bunions?

A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint, usually found at the base of the big toe. The big toe may turn in toward the second toe and the tissues surrounding the joint may be swollen and tender.

What are the causes?

The most common causes of bunions are:

  • Poorly fitting shoes
  • High heel and narrow shoes
  • Genetics
  • Arthritis

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of bunions include:

  • Irritated skin around the bunion
  • Pain when walking
  • Joint redness and pain
  • Possible shift of the big toe toward the other toes

Having bunions can also make it harder to find shoes that fit properly; bunions may force a person to have to buy a larger size shoe to accommodate the width the bunion creates. When bunion deformity becomes severe enough, the foot can hurt in different places even without the constriction of shoes because it then becomes a mechanical function problem of the forefoot.

Dry Skin

The skin on our feet is naturally dry, unlike the skin on the rest of the body. The skin on our feet has no oil glands, so it relies on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands to keep our feet moisturized. Dry feet are caused by a lack of moisture in the skin. There are several common factors that can lead to dry feet, including:

  • Excessively hot showers or baths
  • A skin condition that dries the skin (eczema, psoriasis, Athlete`s Foot, etc.)
  • Soaps that are non-moisturizing
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Cold weather
  • Low humidity levels in home, office, etc. (heating systems are known to dry the air)
  • Ageing (we naturally lose moisture in our skin as we age)
  • Long periods spent in the sun or open shoes worn in the hot weather.

What is Hammer Toe?

A hammer toe (or a Claw Toe) is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe(s). In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. Initially, hammer toes are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures but, if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.

What are the causes?

Hammer toe most frequently results from wearing poorly fitting shoes that can force the toe into a bent position, such as excessively high heels or shoes that are too short or narrow for the foot. Having the toes bent for long periods of time can cause the muscles in them to shorten, resulting in the hammer toe deformity.

What are the symptoms?

People with hammer toe may have corns or calluses on the top of the middle joint of the toe or on the tip of the toe. They may also feel pain in their toes or feet and have difficulty finding comfortable shoes.

Ulcers, Neuropathy and Infections

Foot problems are a big risk for people suffering from diabetes. All diabetic people should have regular foot checks with a registered Podiatrist and should monitor their feet between appointments.

With a diabetic foot, a wound as small as a blister from wearing a shoe that is too tight can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases your blood flow, so your injuries are slow to heal and there is a higher risk of infection. If not treated early, the infection can spread and the consequences can be severe. Foot-related problems are responsible for up to 50% of diabetes-related hospital admissions.

Heel Pain

Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) is commonly caused by inflammation of the tissues running from the heel to the toes (plantar fascia). Small tares occur in the tissues after the tissue is stretched and one may notice a sharp or stabbing pain after periods of inactivity such as when sleeping. Over time, if left untreated, the tearing of the tissue may lead to the development of a bony growth on the heel bone called a heel spur.

Causes include being overweight, pregnant, participating in a lot of running and sport, desk jobs where the calf muscle is not being regularly exercised and badly fitting shoes.

Ball of Foot Pain

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia) commonly occurs in women although men do suffer too. There are two types, one caused by intense sport activities, being overweight, walking or standing for long periods of time and hard or high heeled shoes.

Over-pronation is a more common cause of ball of foot pain. This is the collapsing of the arches and rolling inwards of the ankles. Orthotic insoles are very good at treating this problem although it should be noted that most orthotic insoles from your pharmacy or chemist do not have any metatarsal support and are therefore not very effective in the treatment of Metatarsalgia.

Fungal Nail Infection and Athlete's Foot

Fungal nail infections can cause a variety of changes in the affected nail, including:

  • White or yellow spots or streaks under the tip of the nail
  • Thickening and roughness
  • Brittle, crumbling nail edges
  • Nail discoloration (nails may turn white, yellow or brown)
  • Separation of the nail from the nail bed
  • Pain and tenderness

The fungus may infect a broken or injured nail, or may spread to the nail from a nearby skin infection, such as athlete’s foot. Fungal infections can be picked up by walking barefoot in public changing rooms, pools, and showers. Anywhere warm and moist where the public walk barefoot is an ideal environment for the fungus to spread from person to person.

Athlete’s Foot is caused by a fungal infection. Harmless fungi live naturally on your skin. If these organisms multiply, your skin can become infected.

A group of fungi called Dermatophytes is responsible for Athlete’s Foot. These fungi feed off other organisms to survive. Your feet provide a warm, dark and humid environment. These are ideal conditions for Dermatophytes to grow.

Athlete's Foot spreads easily. It can be passed from person to person through contaminated towels, clothing or surfaces.

The fungi multiply in warm and humid places such as showers, swimming pools and changing rooms.

As well as being itchy, the skin in the affected area may be scaly, flaky and dry. The medical name for Athlete’s Foot is Tinea Pedis.

What is a Gait Analysis?

A gait analysis is a detailed look at how you walk. There is a vast amount of information that we can determine from analysing how you walk. The mechanisms by which the foot loads can affect the rest of the body. Therefore it is for this reason that it is important that we consider a persons foundations - their feet - when we are looking at how the rest of their body is functioning.

What is footscan® and why should we use this?

Your foot is in contact with the ground for about 0.8 of a second when walking and about 0.25 seconds when running. This is too difficult for even the most experienced practitioner to see with the naked eye. Therefore as you walk across the RS Scan footscan® pressure plate. It will scan your foot at 500hz using 4096 pressure sensors. This generates quantifiable static and dynamic measurements providing your podiatrist with comprehensive data regarding the pressure distribution of your feet.

The advanced software allows automatic division of the foot into specific regions. This allows force and pressure distribution within these areas to be analysed and associated with certain foot mechanics and functions.

Force and pressure distribution in all regions of the foot can be analysed in graphical format allowing insight into force and pressure in both localised and general areas under the foot during stance phase and gait.

What can Footscan® tell you?

There is a vast amount of information that can be received by having a footscan®. For example, by looking at the results we are able to better understand why a person may be suffering recurrent shin splints, knee or hip pain. If a person's feet are sore first thing in the morning or they have pain while walking on the balls of their feet, the scan will tell the Podiatrist why these things are likely to be occurring.

If there is a problem discovered with your gait, what is the next step?

The best solution to counter problems with the feet is with Orthotics.

Problems with the feet can cause a chain of events resulting in aches and pains all the way to your hips and back. Orthotics are designed to counter any biomechanical problems in the feet and are the first step towards solving your overall biomechanical health.

Biomechanical Assessment

Biomechanics is the scientific study of forces and the effects of those forces on and within the human body.

The field of biomechanics can analyse and interpret the cause and effect of forces applied to and by the body. Bio-mechanists are involved in a range of activities, from technical performance analysis, to injury prevention and rehabilitation methods.

A Biomechanical Assessment involves a complex evaluation of the feet, legs and body position whilst weight bearing and non-weight bearing. The biomechanical examination is a critical part of the evaluation for functional foot orthotics. The information gained from a biomechanical assessment forms the basis for a rehabilitation programme, or if the problem is mechanical - an orthotic prescription.

What happens in a Biomechanical Assessment session?

The assessment consists of, muscle strength, range-of-motion at the lower limb joints, and the angular relationships of the segments of the foot and leg. The Podiatrist will also collect information by performing a computerised gait analysis of your feet. Using the RSscan Dynamic footscan® System. as seen in the image;

Orthotics (Custom Made Shoe Inserts)

  • Bunions, Dropped Arches
  • Pain in one or more joints of the feet at the end of the day
  • Returning pain after receiving treatment from a Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist
  • Pain in your foot, knees, hips, lower back or spine after standing, running or walking
  • Unexplained pain in the foot or ankle
  • Reoccurring lower limb or sport injuries

Using the RS Foot Scan System, custom orthotics can be made to fit into your shoes to rectify the problem and relieve symptoms.

Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis are two common examples of conditions which can put the legs and feet at increased risk of injury/disability. The use of the correct orthotic can reduce painful joints of those suffering with arthritis. Early screening and treatment can prevent deterioration and serious problems in the long term in both conditions.

Athletes

Athletes/sports persons of all ages can also benefit from custom made orthotics especially if re-occurring back aches, lower limb pain and injuries are common! Improvement in performance can be seen with the correct prescription!

This painful condition can affect any one of the nails on the feet. However, an ingrown toenail most often occurs on the big toe. The side and/or front of an ingrown toenail curl and grow into the skin of the toe, causing redness, swelling, and in some cases, bleeding or infection if not treated.