When summer hits, we are guaranteed at least three solid months of wearing sandals. Seeing your feet exposed may raise questions as to what could be ailing your feet. To help keep your feet healthy and happy for the summer and beyond, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) offers tips on what to look for with some of the most common foot conditions and when you should see a foot and ankle surgeon for proper treatment.
Surgeons add, getting to the root of the problem early on lends itself to better outcomes and shorter recovery time. Your foot and ankle surgeon can determine the best course of action to get your feet back to a healthy and comfortable state.
Do you have a bump on the side of your big toe? It could be a bunion. Bunions are often thought to be caused by wearing narrow shoes when in fact they are an inherited condition aggravated by shoe wear. Good news is, they are treatable. Treatment may only require monitoring your feet and making modest modifications to footwear, or depending on the severity of the bunion, surgery may be the best option.
Here is a test—relax and set your feet and toes flat on the ground. If it looks as though you are drawing up your toes toward the ceiling, you could have a hammertoe. Hammertoe is a bending deformity of one or both joints of your toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop. Because of the progressive nature of hammertoes, they should receive early attention. Hammertoes don’t get better without some kind of intervention.
3. Melanoma Skin Cancer
Yes, skin cancer can be found on your feet—in fact, melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer) is the type of skin cancer most frequently found on the feet. If you notice an abnormal freckle or mole anywhere on your foot, even under your toenail, it’s best to have it checked out by a foot and ankle surgeon. Early detection is key.
4. Haglund’s Deformity
If you notice a painful bony enlargement on the back of your heel, it could be a Haglund’s deformity—or often heard as a “pump bump.” The soft tissue near the Achilles tendon becomes irritated when the bony enlargement rubs against shoes. This often leads to painful bursitis, which is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac between the tendon and the bone—the bursa. Foot and ankle surgeons can treat a Haglund’s deformity nonsurgically, but when conservative methods fail, surgery may be needed to relieve pain.
5. Tailor’s Bunion
While most people have heard of the most common type of bunions, which are near the big toe, another type of bunion is the tailor’s bunion or bunionette, which occurs near the little toe. If you notice a painful bump at the base of your little toe, it could be a tailor’s bunion. A foot and ankle surgeon can provide you with conservative methods of treatment as well as surgical options to help alleviate the pain.
No matter your foot ailments, for best results, a foot and ankle surgeon can provide you with a proper diagnosis and offer treatment options specific to your condition.