Common Foot Conditions

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Turf Toe

Turf toe occurs when one of the two joints in the big toe is sprained. While the foot is fixed flat and the heel is elevated, a force bends the big toe beyond its normal range of motion, causing the sprain.

Though the term originated from sprains that were common among football players who played on synthetic turf, anyone can experience turf toe from a range of activities.1

Once the toe has been bent, you should heed the RICE rule for first aid:

R = Rest

I
= Ice (cooling)

C
= Compression

E
= Elevate

1OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2019.

Arthritis in the Big Toe

bunion pain

Hallux rigidus, or ‘stiff big toe’ is a form of arthritis. It causes pain and stiffness in the big toe, where it joins the rest of your foot. This condition is the most common issue in the big toe and it can become worse over time, leaving you in more pain and with less mobility.1

Those from the ages of 30 to 60 are most likely to be affected by big toe arthritis, but anyone from teenagers to the oldest adults can experience it.

Big toe arthritis can be caused by:

• Using the joint too much, common among people who squat, overuse the joint at work and athletes.
• Problems with the joint stemming from turf toe
• Inheriting the condition from a family member
• Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Wearing shoes that give your feet proper room provides relief to those dealing with this condition. Insoles can also be worn to prevent movement of your big toe and avoiding unnecessary strain.

1Cleveland Clinic, 2020.

Bunions

Hallux abducto valgus, commonly referred to as a bunion, is a bump on the side of the big toe that forms over time as the joint becomes misaligned. They begin as a small deformity but get worse progressively. As pressure is placed on the joint, the big toe moves toward the second toe, causing a slow change in the formation of the bone, leaving the noticeable bump. Developing a bunion can make it painful to wear certain shoes or even to walk.

This condition is often caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or do not fit properly and can be relieved with wider shoes that leave room for the foot’s new shape. It can also develop due to genetics or another condition like rheumatoid arthritis. You may experience pain, inflammation, rough skin or callouses and/or limited mobility in your big toe/difficulty walking.1

Orthotics can be used to remove the pressure from a bunion and realign your toe in a straighter position.

1OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2016.

Flat Feet

A fallen foot arch results in a flat foot. Normally you should see an arch in the bottom of your foot which is created by the tendons pulling in your feet.

Besides congenital deformities, weak ligaments and muscles are primarily responsible for fallen arches. They can often occur when the arches of the feet do not grow properly during childhood. Lots of people experience no pain or discomfort as a result of flat feet. Even if there are no symptoms at first, however, higher loads on the ankle or knee due to misalignment can lead to problems in the knees and back eventually.

Morton's Neuroma

While plantar fasciitis runs the length of your foot, Morton’s neuroma affects the ball of the foot. The nerves around your toes can become affected when tissue begins to thicken, causing pain or a burning sensation in your foot, usually around the third and fourth toes.1

If you encounter Morton’s neuroma, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • The feeling of a pebble in your shoe
  • Burning in the ball of your foot into your toes
  • Tingling in the toes

Morton’s neuroma can be brought on by a variety of factors, including:

  • Wearing high-heeled or tight shoes
  • Sports that require you to wear tight shoes, like rock climbing
  • Deformities, like flat feet or high arches

To relieve pressure and pain, consider wearing flat shoes. Foot supports can also help in the early stages by realigning the foot and rearranging the weight placed on it.

1Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2019.

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