Feet & Foot Care

Feet & Foot Care Articles

Staying one step ahead of toenail fungus

Toenail fungus is difficult to cure if the nail is disfigured and raised off the nail bed. Oral medications may be effective but can affect liver function. Home remedies and topical treatments can improve the appearance of nails. More »

Where does it hurt?

The Harvard Health Decision Guides help you determine the appropriate next steps to alleviate your pain. More »

Gout

Gout is a painful condition caused by too much uric acid in the blood and tissues. When the level of uric acid is too high, this substance can form tiny crystals that lodge in joints, causing joint pain. Uric acid crystals can also lodge in the kidneys, causing kidney stones. Gout occurs for three main reasons: Gout runs in some families. Among younger individuals, it affects men far more often than women. This gap shrinks among older men and women. The first attack of gout usually involves only one joint. The most common site is the big toe, though it can also be a knee, ankle, wrist, foot, finger or other joint. The affected joint can become: (Locked) More »

Calluses and corns

Calluses and corns are thickenings of the outer layer of skin. They develop to protect skin from damage against prolonged rubbing, pressure, and other forms of irritation. Calluses and corns usually form on the hands or feet. They only need treatment by a doctor or other clinician only if they cause pain or other problems.  More »

Heel pain explained

Plantar fasciitis usually gets better without medical treatment. Stretching and weight training can speed the process. (Locked) More »

Bunions and bunionettes

Bunions are among the most common causes of painful toes. A bunion is a misalignment of the bones in the foot. This occurs when something causes the big toe to turn inward, bending toward (or even under) the other toes. The medical term for bunion—hallux valgus deformity—is a literal description of the condition. "Hallux" is Latin for big toe, "valgus" is Latin for misalignment. A bunionette is a similar condition that affects the base of the baby toe. It is sometimes called a "tailor's bunion," because tailors once sat cross-legged all day, with the outer sides of their feet rubbing on the ground. Bunions plague more than half of all American women, and a quarter of men. They are twice as common among people over age 60, compared with younger adults. More »

Hammertoe

The smallest four toes of each foot have three bony segments connected by two joints. Hammertoe is a deformity in which one or more of the small toes develops a bend at the joint between the first and second segments. The tip of the toe turns downward, making it look like a hammer or claw. The second toe is the one most often affected. Hammertoe may be more likely to occur when the second toe is longer than the first toe or when the arch of the foot is flat. Most hammertoes are caused by wearing ill-fitting, tight or high-heeled shoes over a long period of time. Shoes that don't fit well can crowd the toes, putting pressure on the middle toes and causing them to curl downward. Other causes include: More »

Achilles tendonitis

Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel. It is the largest tendon in the body. It is also the strongest, withstanding great force each time you raise your body's weight on your toes, such as when you walk, run, jump, or stand on your toes to reach something. Achilles tendonitis (sometimes spelled tendinitis) is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Without treatment, this condition can become a long-term problem, increasing the chances of breaking (rupturing) the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis is usually caused by overuse. It is common in runners and other athletes. Sometimes it is a sign of a body-wide joint condition such as ankylosing spondylitis. Wearing poorly fitting shoes, or wearing high heels every day, can also cause Achilles tendonitis. More »