With the average person walking more than 100,000 miles during the course of their lifetime, it should come as no surprise that nearly 3/4 of the US population will eventually be affected by foot and ankle disorders. Below you will learn more about a few of the most common disorders that affect this overworked, and often under-appreciated area of the human body. More importantly, you will learn about the treatment options that a foot and ankle specialist may be able to offer.
While many people assume that this disorder only impacts athletes, the truth is, anyone can contract this type of fungal infection. This is because the fungus that causes athlete's foot can easily survive in moist, wet environments until it is able to find a suitable host. For instance, this fungus will often be found around swimming pools and in locker rooms that are equipped with showers.
Athlete's foot will typically present as an itchy, scaling rash around the toes or on the ball of the foot. If left untreated, this infection can result in painful red blisters.
While some cases of athlete's foot can be successfully treated with over-the-counter topical treatments, more aggressive cases will require oral medication.
While arthritis is most commonly found in the hands, this disorder can present itself in other areas of the body as well, such as in the ankles and feet. This foot disorder is most common in dancers and runners. However, this disorder can affect anyone.
Arthritis typically presents as soreness or inflammation surrounding the joints. As the joint continues to break down over time, the pain and limited mobility associated with this disorder will continually get worse.
The use of anti-inflammatory medications has been shown to be effective in minimizing the pain associated with early stage arthritis. However, this treatment method will often offer minimal results in more advanced cases. In these cases, additional medications and physical therapy may need to be prescribed by an ankle and foot specialist.
Bunions are abnormal growths that occur at the base of the big toe. Over time, these growths can put strain on the joint and ultimately cause the big toe to turn inward toward the rest of the toes. Bunions can result in serious pain, extreme redness, and severe deformities.
The treatment of bunions will depend upon the severity of the abnormality. In mild cases, wearing a splint at night will often be enough to correct the misalignment of the big toe and relieve any pain. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the abnormality and restore full function to the foot.