Bunions or hallux valgus are painful bony lumps on the side of your foot caused when your big toe excessively angles towards your second toe. They typically occur gradually and may be complicated by inflammation around the joint or arthritis. Wearing wide shoes, using bunion pads or toe splints may help to reduce pain caused by bunions but surgery may be the only way to help with long standing pain.
Flat foot or fallen arches is a postural deformity where the entire sole of the foot is in complete or near-complete contact with the ground. Around 20-30% of the general population do not have a fully developed arch in one or both feet. It may be present from birth or may occur with age or as a result of an injury. Midfoot pain which increases with exercise may be present and there may be swelling to the arch and inner ankle. Patients may benefit from using arch support and from specific foot exercises. Surgery is used as a last resort in patients with significant symptoms after trying various non-surgical interventions.
Plantar fasciitis is a disorder caused by straining the connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes. Pain in the heel and bottom of the foot is often worse first thing in the morning or after a period of rest. It is also made worse by bending the foot or toes towards your shin. The cause of the condition is unknown, but you are more prone if you have increased the amount of exercise you do, especially on hard surfaces, wear poorly cushioned shoes or are overweight. Treatment includes pain relief, insoles, socks, injections and foot exercises.
Foot pain has many different causes ranging from weight distribution issues, inflammation (arthritis, gout), fractures and stress fractures, Morton’s neuroma and deformities. The type and exact location of the pain experienced may guide the diagnosis but further investigations such as x-ray and MRI are often needed. Depending on the cause of the pain, a wide variety of treatment options are available.