Of all the body’s many components, the feet must absorb the eternal impact every time we walk, and with running and jumping, the stress levels can be significant. The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to changing environments, and with gradual increases in daily activity, the feet can become accustomed to extreme activity. There could be many causes of a lower limb problem, with poorly fitting shoes accounting for a large portion of complaints, which might manifest as corns or callous, and without the right support, arches can drop. The field of podiatry is complex and deals with all feet issues, which include the following.
- Achilles Tendon – This is the largest tendon in the human body and if too much stress is endured, inflammation can occur. Achilles Tendinitis is the medical term for an inflamed tendon and it can be brought on by sudden bursts of activity, or perhaps overtraining, and the foot must be rested for a period, which will reduce the inflammation. If you live in Western Australia, and experience pain in the lower calf when walking, there is a qualified ankle specialist in Perth who can diagnose the cause and recommend suitable treatment.
- Flatfoot – Often called fallen arches, flatfoot can occur at any age and is a result of the natural arch dropping, which could be caused by several things, and can come in different forms. Toe drift, for example, causes the toes to spread out and can be misaligned, which causes the arch to fall. Another common symptom is when the heel appears to turn itself in, which puts extra pressure on the ankle joint, and with the right podiatric insoles, this can be corrected. It is important to catch flatfoot early, in order to minimise damage, and it is more common in children and the elderly.
- Corns and Callous – Caused by friction and stress on the skin, the constant pressure on the skin causes it to harden, and is left unattended, corns can be very painful. There is little difference between a corn and a callous, as both contain hard skin that has been pressed continuously, and unless the underlying cause is identified and addressed, the problem is likely to return.
- Hammertoe – This gets progressively worse over time and is a bone deformity in the second, third, or fourth toes that is caused by abnormal bending. Ill-fitting shoes are often behind hammertoe, as the toes are forced into an unnatural position, and over time, the bony joints can become misshapen. Surgery would be a final option, but if it is diagnosed early, non-invasive treatments are often effective, and once the underlying cause is known, the condition is unlikely to return.
The podiatrist is the person to consult with lower limb issues, and if you are not familiar with your local podiatric clinic, a Google search will point you in the right direction.