Dreading those first few steps in the morning or at the end of the day? While the pain is worse first and last thing in the day, it can also be triggered from long periods of standing or when you get up from sitting. Interesting, the pain can be slight to non-existent during periods of exercise.
Callus is thickened, hard skin that develops on the foot in areas that are subjected to increased friction or pressure. Corns appear as a thickening of the skin with a central hard core, these can develop on the pressure areas of the under surface of the foot or the tops of the toes.
This thickening appears as a cone shaped mass pointing down into the skin and is often surrounded by callous.
They are actually a normal and natural way for the body to protect itself (the soft tissues beneath the skin). When the pressure continues the skin gets thicker and becomes painful. This often feels as though you are “walking on pebbles”.
There are three main types of corns or callus which occur on our feet:
- Callus can occur anywhere on the foot that is susceptible to increased pressure. It appears as a thickened diffuse area of hard skin which is yellowish in colour and can often have cracks within them.
- Hard corns are usually located on the outer surface of the little toe or on the upper surface of the other toes, but can occur between the toes as well as the bottom of the foot over a prominent bone or an area of high pressure.
- A soft corn occurs between the toes and often appears white and macerated. These can be aggravated by a tinea pedis (fungal) infection due to the moist nature of the soft corn.
Main Contributing Factors.
- Deformities of the toes such as hammer toes, claw toes, bunions – all predispose the foot to areas of increased pressure.
- Tight or poor fitting footwear.
- Gait abnormalities which cause the foot to be overloaded in particular areas and bony prominences.
The callus is reduced using a blade and the corn is enucleated in the same manner. It is usually a relatively painless procedure to remove the build up of skin. This should give you immediate relief. Footwear advice or modification can reduce the occurrence of callus and corns. If there is an underlying biomechanical abnormality that is a contributory case – orthotics may be considered.
At Gait Way Podiatry we make custom orthotics on site in our laboratory at North Lakes.
Do you suffer with cracked sore heels?
Try Silipos GeLuscious Moisturising Gel Socks. Made from bamboo charcoal. The bamboo in these socks contains pores making it excellent for absorbing odour-causing chemicals and controlling temperature. Moisturising socks condition dry calloused skin.
The manufacturer recommends using these socks for 20 minutes, 3 times per week up to 40 treatments.
The socks are washable and reusable, use mild soap for washing and hang to dry. Users with dry, callused feet will find the Silipos GelLuscious Moisturising Gel Socks excellent for moisturising their feet and controlling odour.
Medically referred to as Genu Valgum, knock knees are common in children between the ages of three and seven. When a child with knock knees stands with their knees together, the feet and ankles stay apart. The legs will usually gradually straighten as the child grows, although mild knock knees can last into adulthood.
If the severity of knock-knees increases or does not improve by age 10, then further evaluation and testing may be warranted.
If your children are extra flexible, they may have joint hypermobility syndrome. You may have also heard hypermobility referred to as loose joints or double jointed. This is common in young children, but in some cases, can lead to problems like joint pain and injuries.
Common Symptoms that your child may experience Include:
- Excessive motion at the joints
- Poor coordination and balance which can lead to falls, tripping and clumsiness
- Increased risk of injury
- Pain at the knees, hips, elbows and fingers
- Increased risk of joint dislocation and sprains
- Scoliosis of the spine
- Often confused with growing pains
There are many ways a Podiatrist can help with hypermobility, below are some of the options Gait Way Podiatry can do to help:
- Strengthening – strengthening the foot, ankle and leg muscles by prescribing exercises that target specific muscle groups
- Correct Footwear – we will assess your current footwear and recommend appropriate footwear to support hyper mobile feet and legs.
- Orthotics – an orthotic can be very beneficial at altering the loads and forces through the joints and can help with providing stability. They also help with restoring symmetry.
Intoeing is when the feet turn inwards when walking and running rather than pointing straight ahead. It is often referred to as pigeon toes. Intoeing is very common in children and usually resolves without treatment as children grow up.
If your child continues with intoeing beyond 4 years old, they may need help from a podiatrist to correct their foot posture.
1. Metatarsus Adductus
This is when the metatarsal bones are turned toward the middle of the body. The foot has a curved look to it rather than being straight. Most of the time this is flexible deformity and can improve with minimal intervention. In some cases, your podiatrist may give you some stretches and in-shoe padding to assist.
2. Internal Tibial Torsion
This is when there is an inward twisting of the tibia (lower leg). This is quite common in young children and primary school kids. It usually corrects itself over time without any help, by around 8 years of age, with natural development.
3. Internal Femoral Torsion
This can mean it’s coming from the thigh. The bone in the thigh, the femur, has rotated inwards. This is also common, and usually corrects itself by about 10 years of age.
A podiatrist will undertake a complete assessment of the lower limb to identify any developmental issues and also identify what’s causing the intoeing.
Often it’s simple and small interventions such as footwear, stretches and exercises are all that’s need. Sometimes orthotics may be helpful to correct the issue.
When children are first starting to learn to walk, they may tiptoe. This may then become a habit. The child displays a pattern of walking where their heels do not make contact with the ground, and they remain on the toes for each step. Running gait usually appears normal and if instructed to walk on the heels, the child is usually able to do this.
Tip toe walking should be outgrown by the age of 3. If it is not, it is recommended to have an assessment with a podiatrist to rule out more serious causes of the toe walking and potentially treat physical and developmental conditions.
Sometimes children with no health, medical or developmental condition will also walk on their toes. These children seem to walk on their toes for no known reason, or out of habit. This type of toe walking is called idiopathic toe walking. Most children with idiopathic toe walking are able to stand flat footed, and are often able to walk flat footed if you ask them to.
Other certain underlying health, medical or developmental conditions can cause a child to walk on their toes. These conditions include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorder.
- Stretching and/or strengthening programs
- Footwear advice
- In-shoe padding or orthotics
- Any neuromuscular conditions are referred to a specialist
A bunion (also referred to as hallux-abducto valgus–HAV) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. The visible bump is caused by changes to the big toe joint and the big toe (hallux) will begin to deviate towards the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. They develop gradually over time and many people will not experience any pain or discomfort unless the bunion is irritated by tight shoes that rub against it. However, over time this can become a fixed and rigid deformity.
Common causes for developing a bunion include:
- Hereditary factors (by far the biggest factor)
- Prolonged use of inappropriate footwear (i.e. shoes that are too narrow)
- Biomechanical factors
- Arthritis in the feet
At Gait Way Podiatry we will assess your bunion, your foot, gait, the severity of your condition, and go through the range of treatment options.
Some common treatments for bunions include:
- Custom orthotics – to assist with offloading areas that are being overloaded and worked and help realign the foot and prevent the toe from turning further inwards.
- Exercises to help improve the strength of some of the smaller muscles around the joint.
- Footwear advice – assess your footwear and give you appropriate advice to reduce bunion progression and pain.
- Joint mobilisation – involves using hands-on therapy to help improve the joint.
If pain persists, or worsens, we may refer you for a surgical opinion. Bunions are a very common issue we see in our clinic. If you’re suffering from pain or concerned about your bunion, feel free to get in touch as we can fully assess your issue and work with you to find the best solution.
Children’s feet are different from adults, as they are not yet fully formed. At 6 months of age, a babies’ foot is still mostly cartilage, in fact the last bone doesn’t start forming until children are about 3 years old. By the time we turn 18 the bones in our feet are fully matured.
Here are some tips for different life stages for foot development:
It’s recommended to keep your baby’s feet unconstrained. Playsuits with feet, socks or even natural fibre shoes can be used to keep little feet warm, but can also restrict muscle development in their legs and feet. It’s great to let your baby go barefoot as much as possible, this is how they learn to control and use their feet, through feeling.
Many children begin to walk between approximately 10 and 20 months of age. It is important to remember that each child is unique and will move through the development stages at their own pace. Sometimes children may walk with their feet pointed inward (in-toeing) or outward (out-toeing) and most of the time, children will outgrow these walking styles. If these walking patterns persist or if you have any concerns it is recommended, you get in touch with your podiatrist.
This is a period of rapid growth for children, where the length, shape and arch of their feet is constantly changing. This is why it’s important to keep a close eye on the size of their shoes and socks and make sure they properly accommodate their foot size (tips for choosing school shoes).
This is also the age where children tend to take up a sporting activity. If your child is complaining of pain in their feet, which limits their activity or causes them to limp, it is recommended to consult a Podiatrist.
Children’s Sport injuries
Children don’t necessarily get a sporting injury due to their body failing them. Sometimes this can be the result of a biomechanical instability somewhere, or a developmental condition called Severs Disease, Osgood-Schlatters or Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This is why it’s so important for a qualified podiatrist to assess the injury if it’s a true sports injury or if a biomechanics structure needs to be addressed.
Ingrown toenails are when one or both sides of the nail begin to grow into the skin next to it, which can lead to pain, redness and swelling. This can lead to infection because of the bacteria that is found on the feet – and usually happens on the big toe.
- swelling around the ingrown edge
- pink or red skin
If an ingrown toenail becomes infected, signs may include:
- pain that gets worse
- liquid or pus discharge
- a warm feeling
- a bad smell from the toe
Common causes of ingrown toenails:
- Inherited tendency to ingrown toenails
- Tight shoes/tight socks
- An injury/trauma to the toe
- Incorrect nail cutting technique i.e. cutting nails too short where the skin on the sides cover the corners of the nail, can cause the nail to grown back into the skin.
As soon as you notice signs of an ingrown toenail, schedule an appointment with a Podiatrist before it worsens or infections sets in.
Until you can see a podiatrist, we recommend soaking your child’s foot in warm, salty water for up to ten minutes two or three times a day. This cleanses the area and increases the flexibility of the nail. Once the nail is soft and flexible you may be able to gently lift the nail away from the skin at the side of the toe.
We strongly advise against parents trying to cut ingrown toenails out themselves as there is a high risk of infection and other complications.
A podiatrist may need to remove the corner of the nail that is stuck. If infection recurs following treatment, minor ingrown toenail surgery may be the best option for resolution.
When it comes to school shoe shopping time, make sure you go armed with the knowledge and everything you need to pick the right shoes for your child.
- Children’s feet grow on average 1-2 sizes per year, so it’s important to have their feet measured before buying new shoes. Always have the shoes fitted for both length and width.
- Bring their school socks to make sure the shoes fit comfortably, and try shoes on at the end of the day to account for the natural swelling that occurs throughout the day.
- Look for a shoe that has cushioning and arch support. A cushioned heel will absorb shock and protect their young joints.
- Toenail length can affect the shoe comfort and fit, so keep your child’s toenails trimmed.
- If your child wears orthotics, bring them when trying on shoes to ensure there is sufficient depth to fit the orthotics comfortably.
If you have any concerns about your childrens shoes or foot health, our experienced podiatrists are here to help.
Warts can occur at any age, but are most commonly found in children. They are caused by a group of viruses called the HPV (human papilloma viruses) and can be found anywhere on the body, with hands and feet the most common spots. As warts are caused by a virus, they are highly contagious.
Plantar warts are the common complaint we see as podiatrists, especially common in children. Often mistaken for a corn, a plantar wart is a benign lesion of the outer surfaces of the skin on the foot or toes.
Plantar warts are contagious and are spread through direct contact – either with someone that has the virus, or from sharing floors, shoes and socks with someone who has the virus. This means warts can quickly spread through families if care is not taken.
Signs of a plantar wart
Warts and corns can look very similar, and as they have very different treatment requirements, it’s highly recommended having a podiatrist assess and diagnose the condition.
The visible signs of a plantar wart are tiny blood vessels at the base of the wart (which tend to look like small black dots in the centre of the wart). If your wart is causing you pain, discomfort, or is affecting the way you walk, we highly recommend having it treated.
Contact Gait Way Podiatry and book an appointment with a qualified podiatrist. We will assess the size and depth of the plantar wart and recommend the best type of treatment for you.
Keep your feet clean and dry. Avoid going barefoot, particularly in moist and communal environments. Sporting club showers and swimming pools are prominent places where the wart virus may spread. You are more at risk of being infected if your skin is damaged, wet or in contact with roughened surface.
The following may help with preventing warts:
- Avoid walking barefoot in communal changing or shower rooms.
- Change shoes and socks daily.
- Keep feet clean and dry.
- Check children’s feet periodically.
- Avoid direct contact with warts on other persons or on other parts of the body.
- Do not ignore growths on, or changes in, your skin.
- Visit a podiatrist immediately if you notice and lumps or sores on the feet.