Plantar warts: What they are, how they’re treated, and how to avoid them

treating plantar wartsYou thought it was just a callus — a buildup of tough, thick skin on the bottom of the foot — but then you squeezed it and experienced pain as a result. Chances are that you have a wart, not a callus. Plantar warts, warts on the bottom of the foot , are a common malady caused by a virus. They may look like a callus, but the telltale sign is that a callus doesn’t typically hurt when pressed on, but a wart usually does. You might have only one wart, or maybe you have several. What exactly are plantar warts, how are they treated, and how can they be avoided?

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Most Americans suffer from foot problems

foot problems in americaHow important is foot health to you compared to eye health, nutrition, and exercise? How often do you experience foot pain? Have you been to a podiatrist? These are just a few of the questions asked in an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) survey carried out earlier this year. Of particular interest in the survey results is the fact that more than 75 percent of Americans suffer from foot pain, but only one-third would have sought care from a podiatrist.

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Pain down the front of the lower leg: shin splints

shin splints

The lower leg has two bones: the tibia and fibula. Few runners are lucky enough to go their entire running career without experiencing pain along the inner edge of the shin, along the path of the tibia. This type of pain is often referred to as shin splints, but a more specific term is medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). Thankfully, MTSS can be alleviated using simple measures.

Causes and symptoms of shin splints

Shin splints can be caused by a number of activities, but are most frequently related to running. The pain is considered a type of overuse injury. New runners who add too many miles to their routine too soon, or those who run on hills frequently are at higher risk for MTSS pain. Low or flat arches, arches with reduced flexibility, or wearing the wrong shoes or worn-out shoes can also increase the risk of developing shin splints. The pain results from inflammation of the muscles and tendons around the tibia -- the larger of the two bones in the lower leg -- and occurs along the attachment of the muscles to the bone.

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Understanding sesamoid injuries

Did you know there are bones in your foot that aren’t connected to other bones by ligaments? There are actually several bones throughout the body that are embedded in tendons rather than being connected to other bones. The kneecap, or patella, is the largest of these, but there are others as well, including two very small ones in the foot. These types of bones are classified as sesamoids, and function like pulleys to allow movement related to pushing and pulling. In the foot, the sesamoid bones are small, pea-shaped bones attached to the tendon associated with the first metatarsal -- the first long bone of the foot that connects to the large toe. Unfortunately, these two little bones are highly susceptible to injury.

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Toenail fungus — what is it and what can you do about it?

toenail fungus

As summer approaches, many of us are looking forward to wearing sandals and spending time at the pool or beach where our feet will be visible to the masses. But, what should you do if you suffer from onychomycosis, better known as toenail fungus? Toenail fungus can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and even painful. Onychomycosis is caused by tiny fungal organisms that attach to the toenail and surrounding skin, which, over time, becomes darker and begins to smell badly. White spots may also begin to appear on the toenails and material may collect below the nail. When left untreated, these can conditions can cause nails to thicken, making them difficult to trim and care for. Eventually, the infection can become so severe that wearing shoes may become painful.

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