The human foot is made up of 26 different bones (25% of all the bones in the body), 22 distinct joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The foot can be broken down into six separate sections: the heel, the instep, the sole, the ball of the foot, the toes and the toenails. Since this section of the body is so complex, many different ailments take place in the feet.
Pressure related problems: An average day of walking around is the equivalent of hundreds of tons of pressure to your feet. Injuries like fallen arches can result after a lifetime of being on your feet all day, every day. Long term effects of fallen arches can result in chronic knee pain and shin splints.
Traumatic injuries: As any professional athlete can tell you, traumatic foot injuries can be a pain in the, well, foot. Broken toes and foot bones can take months to heel, and Achilles tendon injuries can be debilitating for life. One of the most common injuries to the foot is simply dropping something heavy onto the foot and crushing one or more bones in the process.
Ingrown Toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the side or the corner of the toenail end up digging into the skin and causing moderate to severe pain, swelling, redness and in extreme cases, infection. They can usually be cured by simply soaking the toe in hot water for about 30 minutes and then placing thin fabric under the nail to keep it from digging into the foot. In serious cases, minor surgery might be needed to remove the nail from the foot.
Plantars warts: Plantar warts are small, usually round warts that appear on the sole of the foot and are caused by the HPV virus. They sometimes have small black specks with them that will bleed when the surface is punctured. The wart is usually covered by a layer of hard skin due to the pressure on the foot during periods of standing and walking. It can be spread by use of common showers or around swimming pools. They are usually treated by using regular over-the-counter wart medicine containing acid.
Arthritis: Arthritis in the foot is extremely common in older people since the foot alone has 33 joints. Any sort of traumatic injury to the foot can cause arthritis in the future.
Heel conditions: The two most common causes of severe pain in the heel belong to plantar fasciitis and bone spurs in the heel. Bone spurs are caused by a calcium deposit attached to the bone of the heel. They can go from mildly annoying to excruciating depending on the size. We’ll discuss plantar fasciitis later.
Athelte’s Foot: Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that attacks the feet. It ranges from being almost painless to causing extreme burning and itching all over the toes and sole of the foot. There are many different over the counter remedies for Athlete’s foot, but if you use many common areas barefoot, you may have to treat it over and over again as it’s easy to catch.
Nerve Problems in the feet: Most nerve problems in the feet are caused by the long-term effects of diabetes. The nerves in the feet are the longest nerves in the body and are susceptible to neuropathy and other ailments brought on by diabetes.
Diabetes: Other than the aforementioned nerve problems, diabetes seriously effects the circulation in the body and many serious diabetes sufferers have lost fingers, toes and even feet due to lack of circulation due to a lifetime of diabetes.
Congenital foot conditions: Birth defects can range from misshapen feet to bone protrusions, to nerve problems. Most congenital problems can be dealt with through surgery.
You can see from this brief overview how many aspects there are to the feet and why foot pain can be such a common and complicated problem for many people.