5 Common Foot Problems and How to Treat Them

Aug 04, 2023
5 Common Foot Problems and How to Treat Them
You probably take your feet for granted - until they cause pain or don’t function as you need or want. Here are five common foot problems and how to get them healthy again.

Most people don’t put much thought into their feet until they experience a problem. The feet are the body’s foundation, allowing you to walk, stand, run, and jump. They also endure a lot of stress from the work they do each day, and various foot problems can develop, which may cause pain, discomfort, or mobility problems.

At Renew Foot & Ankle, LLC, in Grand Rapids and Bigfork, Minnesota, double board-certified podiatrist Dr. Eric Gilbertson, DPM, FACFAS, is committed to helping you maintain healthy feet and treatment for common foot problems. 

Here are five of the most common foot problems and how they are treated:

1. Plantar fasciitis

A painful condition caused by inflammation, plantar fasciitis commonly presents as heel pain in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue running along the bottom of your feet, connecting your toes to your heel bones.

Dr. Gilbertson recommends the following to treat plantar fasciitis:

  • Rest and reduce high-impact activities
  • Stretching exercises to improve flexibility and strength of the foot
  • Wear supportive shoes or custom orthotics to alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia
  • Ice the affected area to reduce inflammation

For severe plantar fasciitis, he may also recommend pysical therapy to aid in healing and recovery.

2. Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails occur when a portion of the toenail curves inward and grows into the surrounding skin, leading to pain, swelling, and potential infection. To treat ingrown toenails, Dr. Gilbertson suggests the following:

  • Soaking the foot in warm, soapy water to reduce inflammation.
  • Properly trimming the toenails straight across to avoid further ingrowth.
  • Avoiding tight-fitting shoes that put pressure on the toes.
  • Antibiotics

If do-it-yourself treatment doesn’t resolve the ingrown toenail, Dr. Gilbertson will recommend removing the ingrown portion of the toenail.

3. Bunions

A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe, causing it to point inwards and creating discomfort while walking. Treatment options for bunions include:

  • Wearing comfortable shoes with a wide toe box to reduce pressure on the affected area
  • Using bunion pads or orthotic inserts to alleviate pain
  • Icing the bunion to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy to strengthen foot muscles and improve alignment

Surgical intervention may be considered for severe bunions that cause discomfort or pain.

4. Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that affects the skin between the toes and the soles of the feet, causing itching, burning, and cracked skin. Treating athlete's foot involves:

  • Keeping feet clean and dry to prevent the spread of infection
  • Applying over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays
  • Wearing moisture-wicking socks and breathable shoes
  • Avoiding walking barefoot in public areas like locker rooms or swimming pools

Left untreated, athlete’s foot infections can migrate to other areas of the body. If the home remedies don’t resolve your athlete’s foot, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gilbertson for prescription-strength medication.

5. Heel spurs

Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the heel bone, often associated with plantar fasciitis. Treatment methods for heel spurs include:

  • Rest and avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain
  • Using orthotic devices or shoe inserts to provide support and cushioning
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the foot muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroid injections for pain relief

For severe heel spurs cases, surgical heel spur removal may be recommended.

Keep your feet healthy

Taking care of your feet is essential for your overall well-being. The Renew Foot & Ankle team is here to diagnose, treat, and prevent common foot problems, ensuring you can lead an active and pain-free life. If you are experiencing foot-related issues, don't hesitate to contact Renew Foot and Ankle by calling the office in Bigfork or Grand Rapids, Minnesota, or scheduling an online appointment.