Walking is the fundamental movement skill used in everyday activities, but overtime, it will lead to stress and pain of the feet, which are common and many people do not think much of it until the pain persists and affects their daily activities. Learn more about how to spot early signs of foot pain and what causes them, how to treat foot pain, and how to take precautions to avoid foot pain.
Ankle Sprains & Foot injuries are a common occurrence that can result while playing your favourite sport or maybe from a fall you experienced climbing down a flight of steps. It may also result passively on account of inherent foot deformities and unwanted foot and ankle pain.
Looking for Orthopedic Bunion Corrector in Singapore? Let what Bunion Deformity Correction is first.
Bunions & Bunionettes are a common cause of painful toes. A bunion is a misalignment of the bones in the foot, occurring when something causes the big toe to turn inward or in case of bunionettes this is a bone growth on the outside of your foot near your pinky, or 5th, toe.
When it comes to everyday life your feet play a huge role. They take you from one place to the next, help you get where you need to go, and enjoy life playing sports, hanging out with friends and family, and just in general taking care of you. What happens you’re dealing with the pain of bunions or even embarrassment of the problem? Suffering with bunions on your feet can be painful and make it hard to enjoy everyday life activities that you so want to take part in.
There’s a variety of bunion treatment options and bunion surgery is one of them. Some people opt to have the surgery so they can wear their favorite shoes or sandals again, and to get rid of the pain. Others tend to wait until it’s the only option left before choosing bunion surgery as their treatment option. Here is a look at the benefits and disadvantages of having the surgery on your feet.
One of the main benefits to having bunion surgery is the relief of pain. Bunions can cause quite a bit of pain in your feet and make it impossible to enjoy your favorite activities such as walking or jogging. By having the corrective procedure, your pain can be a thing of the past. It also means you can become more active as the pain may have stopped you from exercising or moving.
Another benefit to the surgery option is that you will be more comfortable with the look of your foot. As bunions can become quite large, some people feel ashamed to wear sandals or shoes that shoe their feet. By having the surgery, you can start to enjoy your shoes again.
One other benefit to this type of bunion treatment is that you can get the best results with surgery. When you work with a surgeon who specializes in this treatment, you can get the most efficient treatment of your bunions.
While there are many benefits to this bunion treatment, you should also consider the downsides. There can be reoccurrences of the bunion a year or so down the road. It may come back in the future. You will experience some pain after the surgery still as it takes time to heal the foot completely. It can limit the shoes you wear during the healing process and even after it depending on the type of shoe you are trying to wear.
Of course, as in any surgery, you can have trouble in walking afterwards as your body tries to heal. There’s also a slight chance that the correction will not work or be successful.
Be sure to weigh all the pros and cons with your medical practitioner to make sure that bunion surgery is your best option.
Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis that causes pain and swelling in joints. Due to the wear and tear of cartilage in the joint, the bones become more prominent and as a result, rub against each other as they move. While the condition occurs gradually, it worsens over time if left untreated. The big toe is a common area to be affected by osteoarthritis.
Most cases of osteoarthritis come with age, starting from ages 30 to 60. As the body system slows down, the cartilage deteriorates faster than it can heal, resulting in osteoarthritis to develop.
Obesity also increases the risk of developing the condition. With additional pressure from the body weight, the bones of the feet are stressed and may accelerate the damage of cartilage in the big toe.
Some people are born with an overgrowth of the big toe bone, making the toe joint stiff and difficult to bend, thus more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis.
Some of the first signs of osteoarthritis of the big toe include stiffness, achiness, tenderness and pain in the affected toe, though may also be felt in the arch of the foot and other toes. The toe feels most achy and stiff in the morning and after sitting for a long period of time.
Gradually, you would start to notice swelling around the joint. It might be some time before the bone spur becomes visibly noticeable. However, you would feel the bones rubbing together and causing the area to swell as they get more prominent.
As the big toe gets stiffer, it gets harder to bend the toes. Walking and balancing becomes difficult and painful. The constant rubbing between the toes can cause corns and calluses to form, and even leading to other conditions such as hammer toes.
Conservative treatment for osteoarthritis may not cure the condition but can relief the symptoms. Your doctor might prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine to ease the pain and bring down the swelling. There are also creams and gels to reduce the swelling. Orthoses can be inserted in your shoes to decrease the pressure while walking. It is best to avoid high heels and pointy-toed shoes as these shoes give puts stress on the feet and may aggravate the symptoms.
For very severe cases, your doctor might recommend a joint replacement surgery. The damaged cartilage is removed and the joint is held together in a fixed and immovable position so that the cartilage would not be affected again. However, the results of the surgery might cause a reduction in mobility. Thus, this procedure may only be suitable for elderly patients that do not require as much mobility in daily activities.
Hallux rigidus is a stiff big toe that occurs when there is an overgrowth at the base of the big toe. It prevents the toe from bending, causing pain and difficulty in walking and standing. This is a disorder of the joint and a form of degenerative arthritis that usually develops between the ages of 30 and 60.
This condition could be inherited from parents, bearing an abnormal foot structure at birth that is more prone to developing hallux rigidus. It could also be an overuse injury – athletes or people who are constantly engaged in activities that add stress on the big toe, such as squatting and standing, are at higher risk.
Other causes include injury to the toe that damages the articular cartilage, causing the ends of the bones to rub together, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Some of the symptoms you should look out for are pain and stiffness during walking, standing or even at rest, and the pain worsens in cold weather. Bending of the big toe is very difficult or impossible. There might be swelling around the big toe joint and a bump on the top of the foot. Patients might compensate the inability to use their big toes when walking by using the strength of the hip, knee or lower back, causing pain in those areas. This might lead to walking with a limp over time.
Patients should seek medical help once the first signs of symptoms appear as the longer it is delayed, the more difficult it is to treat. If the condition is diagnosed early, non-surgical treatment may suffice for treatment. But if diagnosis is delayed or if the condition is severe, surgery is unavoidable.
To first reduce the pain and inflammation, oral medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed. For progressive recovery, patients have to wear shoes with rocker-bottom soles and a large toe box to reduce pressure on the big toe. Orthotic devices are used to support the foot, so that the toe does not have to bend when walking. Physical therapy is recommended for reducing inflammation and improving foot function with exercises.
If the symptoms do not improve with non-surgical treatment, patient would have to go through surgery. One method is to remove the bone spurs and some part of the bone to make space for the joint to bend. For more severe cases, the bones are fused together, making the joint unable to bend permanently but relieving the pain.
Joint replacement surgery helps to both relieve the pain and preserve joint motion but is usually only recommended for elderly patients that do not have much physical demands.
Tarsal coalition is a congenital condition that occurs when the tarsal bones at the back of the foot are abnormally connected, causing pain and limitations in walking. Because of the joint bones, the foot may appear to be made up of a “bar of bones”, looking flatter and stiffer than a normal foot. Depending on the degree of attachment, if the bones are connected by fibrous tissue, the foot would be more flexible compared to a bony connection. About 1% of the population is affected by tarsal coalition.
Most cases are present at birth as the tarsal bones fail to separate during foetal development. And because tarsal coalition is an autosomal dominant genetic condition, children are likely to inherit the disorder if one of the parents has it.
The symptoms may only appear later in life or when the bones are beginning to mature. The most common sign is pain on the outside of the foot along the fibula, especially when walking or standing. The foot feels stiffer and flatter, and the patient might walk with a limp because of the rigid bone structure. Over time, other joints may be affected and pain is felt at the outer top side of the foot.
Because the bones are still developing during childhood, it may be difficult to diagnose until the bones begin to mature at about 9 years old. Some people only discover it during adulthood when affected by the symptoms. To help the doctor diagnose, it is important to give a full history of the duration and development of the symptoms, together with the activity level involved in the patient’s daily life. The patient’s walking movements are observed and followed by a thorough physical examination of the foot to look for tenderness and restriction of motions in the joints.
Depending on the severity of the condition, surgical or non-surgical treatment can be used to relieve the symptoms and reduce motion of the joints.
The foot is immobilized in a cast or brace for two to four weeks to allow the joints to rest. Steroid injections and oral medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce the pain and inflammation. After the cast is removed, custom made orthotics is placed into footwear to support the joints and reduce pain when walking. Patient may have to go through regular physical therapy sessions.
If the patient does not respond well to non-surgical treatment and the symptoms do not seem to subside, or if the condition is too severe, surgical treatment is opted for.
Depending on the age of the patient that tells the maturity of the bones, the goal of the surgery is either to restore the motion of the joints by removing or excising the bones, or fusing the joints together to form a solid bone. Removing or excising the bones is only recommended for young children as restoring motion in more mature and degenerative bones may not be enough to stop the pain.
Another name for progressive flatfoot is Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction. The posterior tibial tendon is found in the calf down to the inside of the ankle to the middle section of the foot. It is responsible for holding up the arch of the foot and gives us support when walking. Progressive flatfoot happens when the tendon becomes inflamed, stretched or torn, causing the arch to collapse.
Not to be confused with plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, causing the bottom of the foot to hurt and swell. While progressive flatfoot is an injury to the tendon, plantar fasciitis is a strain to the ligament.
Patients with progressive flatfoot will experience pain on the inner side of the ankle. The arch of the foot is now flat and pain gradually develops on the outer side of the ankle as well. Patients may be unable to or experience difficulty in supporting their weight on their toes.
Progressive flatfoot is often caused by trauma to the ankle from sports or outdoor activities such as soccer, running and hiking. The posterior tibial tendon is overstretched, resulting in inflammation. This condition can also happen to patients with an abnormality of the tendon, usually women over the age of 50. Obese and diabetic patients are also at higher risk for this injury.
Treatment is important to prevent chronic pain or even disability. If left unattended, the tendon would stiffen up and it might be difficult to walk or wear shoes. Arthritis would develop in the hind foot and the pain would spread to other parts of the ankle.
If the condition is mild, patient would be wearing a cast or brace for 6-8 weeks to prevent the foot from weight bearing. At this point, anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of rest are needed to recover. Patient would need to wear a shoe insert to support the arch after the cast is removed.
For more severe cases or if the condition does not get better with non-surgical treatment, the doctor would recommend surgery. The surgical procedure may include cleaning away inflamed tissue, changing the alignment of the heel bone, repairing the damaged tendon, recreating the arch of the foot or joining two bones together to stabilize the hind foot.
Adult acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD) is not present at birth and only acquired during adulthood between 40-60 years of age. Usually caused by damage to the posterior tibial tendon, the arch of the foot gradually collapses as the tendon gets inflamed or torn.
There are a few categories of people more likely to develop AAFD – Women over 40, diabetic patients, obese people and patients with hypertension. Such conditions provide a higher risk to overstretch or rupture the posterior tibial tendon, leading to AAFD.
Other causes of AAFD are rheumatoid arthritis, bone fracture or dislocation. These conditions cause the tendon to be weaker and subject to impairment. Those with flatfoot since birth are also more prone to AAFD later in life.
One or more of these symptoms may be experienced depending on the cause of the AAFD.
- The foot is angled in an awkward position. One way to check is to view from the back of the foot. For a normal foot, only the fourth and fifth toes can be seen from the back. If the big toe can be seen, chances are AAFD has developed.
- Pain and swelling along the inner side of the foot causing difficulty to tiptoe.
- Aggravated pain from long periods of standing or walking, or from high intensity physical activities.
- Pain in the anklebone that feels like arthritis.
- Numbness and tingling on the top of the foot and in the toes caused by bony bumps developed from old injuries.
- Diabetic patients may only notice the swelling but not feel any pain due to their impairment of sensation.
Most cases of AAFD can be treated without surgery. If the condition is not improved after nonsurgical treatments, surgery is needed to realign the foot.
- Shoe modification may help for mild conditions. A shoe insert or customized shoes that give arch support can be easily purchased from stores.
- Customized braces and foot orthoses are fit tightly around the leg to prevent it from moving in certain angles and correct the alignment of the foot.
- Physiotherapy helps to strengthen leg muscles and guide foot movements.
Depending on the type and severity of deformity, one or a combination of these procedures might be used if nonsurgical treatments show no improvement.
- Repairing of the posterior tibial tendon and removing inflammatory tissue.
- Tendon transfer if the posterior tibial tendon is badly damaged.
- Bone surgery is done to recreate the arch and realign the bones, which are then held in place with screws and plates.