Causes Of Foot Diseases
Any discussion of foot diseases should include what can better be described as foot disorders, as the two are closely intertwined. Most foot diseases or disorders we are apt to experience are problems we have brought on ourselves. Improper foot care or foot hygiene is a leading cause of foot disease. Many disorders are due to the fact that our feet probably suffer more wear and tear than any other part of the body, and as we age, they sometimes begin to wear out, or at least begin to cause problems. Systemic diseases can also be a source of diseases in the feet, with diabetes leading the way, followed by cardiovascular diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is another of the more commonly encountered foot diseases. Some foot diseases fall into the category of skin diseases, one of the more common being Candida between the toes, a condition more commonly known as athlete’s foot.
Diabetes – Diabetes mellitus is a disease which commonly affects the vascular system, and by extension, leads to problems in the veins and muscles of the feet. This is particularly true for older people suffering from the disease. The effects of the disease added to the wear and tear the feet undergo over the years, can lead to many different foot diseases and disorders which, in the extreme, can make it difficult for a person to move about. Foot problems associated with diabetes unfortunately at times result in a need for amputation, a situation which, if given proper attention earlier on, could often have been avoided. Pressure due to normal walking about, combined with vascular problems due to diabetes, often cause foot ulcers, a painful situation which also brings with it a high risk of infection. Congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism and kidney failure can sometimes cause foot problems, including foot ulcer, as nasty side effects.
Toenail Problems – There are more mundane foot problems of course, which many of us may experience from time to time. While an ingrown nail is hardly a disease, it is definitely a foot disorder that can cause pain. Fungal infections under the toenails can sometimes cause pain as well but mainly serve to disfigure the nails. Fungal infections can be difficult to treat, and are fairly contagious, spreading from nail to nail if left untreated, or if good foot hygiene is not being practiced. Cleanliness and proper trimming of the nails will usually go a long way in preventing either of these disorders from occurring.
Bunions – An occurrence of bunions on the other hand, appears to be hereditary in many instances. A bunion is a deformity in the joint of the toe, almost always the big toe, causing it to become swollen, and at times tender to the touch. Sometimes the choice of shoes, wider shoes in this case, will suffice to keep pain and irritation to a minimum. Wearing pads can help as well, as can cortisone injections. The last resort in treating a bunion is surgery.
Less Serious Disorders – There are other foot problems and diseases as well, some of them having to do with the skin. Dry skin is a fairly common condition which can cause feet to become warm to the touch, and at times painful to the touch. Scratching an itchy foot always carries with it the possibility of creating a wound on the surface of the skin, leading to subsequent infection. Shoes provide an almost perfect environment for bacteria to flourish in, so an infection of the skin on our feet is something we really want to try to avoid.
Summary – A program of cleanliness and proper attention to the care of our feet can keep many foot diseases and disorders at bay. And living a healthy lifestyle may result in less of a likelihood that we will fall victim to some of the systemic diseases that often cause foot problems. Feet are important, try to keep them healthy.
Information collected from the American Podiatric Medical Association, Inc