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Foot Problems

Foot Problems

Foot Problems associated with walking

Blisters

Blisters are painful, fluid-filled lesions produced by friction and pressure. They can be caused by the following:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Stiff shoes
  • Wrinkled socks against the skin
  • Excessive moisture
  • Foot deformities

How to prevent blisters


  • Keep your feet dry
  • Always wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes
  • Wear properly fitting shoes
  • Look at specialist sports and walking socks  which have either padding or double layers that can help reduce the chance of getting blisters.

If you get a blister

In most cases blisters heal naturally and do not require specialist attention. The body will reabsorb the fluid and the blister will dry and peel off. The skin that forms on top of the blisters provides a natural defence to infection. Ideally you should not pierce a blister with a needle but allow it to heal naturally.
You can cover a blister with an adhesive dressing or gauze. If the blister is causing you pain, cover the area with a soft dressing and change the dressing daily. Once the blister bursts refrain from peeling the skin and cover the exposed skin with a dressing1.

Advice on Blisters: www.scpod.org/foothealth/blisters

Advice on Heel pain: www.scpod.org/foothealth/heelpain

Morton’s neuroma

The pain of Morton's neuroma occurs when the nerve connecting the toe bones (metatarsal bones) becomes irritated or compressed. The exact cause of the irritation is unknown, but it may be the metatarsal bones pressing against the nerve when the gap between the bones is narrow. This causes the nerve and surrounding tissue to thicken2.

Some experts believe that a number of other foot problems, including flat feet, high foot arches, bunions and hammer toes, may also play a role in Morton's neuroma.

People with Morton's neuroma usually complain of pain that can start in the ball of the foot and shoot into the affected toes. However, some people just have toe pain. There may also be burning and tingling of the toes. The symptoms are usually felt up the sides of the space between two toes. For example, if the nerve between the third and fourth long bones (metatarsals) of the right foot is affected, the symptoms will usually be felt up the right-hand side of the fourth toe and up the left-hand side of the third toe. Some people describe the pain that they feel as being like walking on a stone or a marble2.

When to see your Podiatrist


If you have continual tingling or persistent pain in your foot, you should make an appointment to see a podiatrist. Alternatively, you could visit your GP, who may refer you to a podiatrist.

 Your podiatrist will examine your foot and ask you some questions to find out:

  • About the pain and what it feels like
  • When your symptoms started
  • What type of shoes you usually wear
  • About your work, lifestyle and sporting activities

They may also refer you for a scan, such as an ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, to get a detailed image of the inside of your foot.

Treating Morton's neuroma

If you have Morton's neuroma, shoes with a wider toe area may be recommended. You can also take painkillers to help ease the pain. Steroid/local anaesthesia injections may also be given to treat the affected nerve.

If these treatments don't work, surgery may be needed. This involves removing the thickened tissue around the nerve (and sometimes the nerve itself) to release the pressure.


Sources:
1. Dr.Foot http://www.drfoot.co.uk/blisters.htm

2. NHS UK http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mortonsneuroma/Pages/Introduction.aspx