What's Your Ailment?

We're a father/daughter podiatry duo with over 30 years experience practicing in the Illinois Valley.  Crowhurst Foot Care offers walk-ins or same-day appointments and specialize in a wide variety of foot care needs.

The foot conditions described below may be helpful in determining what types of problems you are experiencing. Please be advised that these descriptions are offered for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of a trained physician's medical advice.  

If you believe you're experiencing any of these conditions and would like to seek treatment, call our office today at 815-434-1900.  In the event of a medical emergency, please contact your nearest Emergency Department.

Arthritis

Arthritis, in general terms, is inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. Arthritis has multiple causes; just as a sore throat may have its origin in a variety of diseases, so joint inflammation and arthritis are associated with many different illnesses. Arthritis is a frequent component of complex diseases that may involve more than 100 identifiable disorders. If the feet seem more susceptible to arthritis than other parts of the body, it is because each foot has 33 joints that can be afflicted and there is no way to avoid the pain of the tremendous weight-bearing load on the feet. Arthritis is a disabling and occasionally crippling disease; it afflicts almost 40 million Americans. In some forms, it appears to have hereditary tendencies. People over 50 are most prone to arthritis.Arthritic feet can result in loss of mobility and independence, but early diagnosis and proper medical care can help significantly.


Corns and Calluses

These are thickened areas of skin which can be soft (usually between toes or hard usually on the top of a toe. They are the body's response to too much pressure in an area. They usually occur over bony prominences or in areas where there is too much friction. The more common areas on the foot are outside part of the heel or the top of the small toe (seed corn). They can be associated with redness, pain, and swelling (bursitis). They can be disabling, and in a diabetic can lead to serious complications if left untreated.


Fungal Nails

Fungal infection of the nail, or onychomycosis, is often ignored because the infection can be present for years without causing any pain. The disease is characterized by a progressive change in a toenail's quality and color, which is often ugly and embarrassing. In reality, the condition is an infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi. When the tiny organisms take hold, the nail often becomes darker in color and foul smelling. Debris may collect beneath the nail plate, white marks frequently appear on the nail plate, and the infection is capable of spreading to other toenails, the skin, or even the fingernails. If ignored, the infection can spread. 


Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown nails, the most common nail impairment, are nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the soft tissue of nail grooves, often leading to irritation, redness, and swelling. Usually, toenails grow straight out. Sometimes, however, one or both corners or sides curve and grow into the flesh. The big toe is usually the victim of this condition but other toes can also become affected. 

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. Not all fungus conditions are athlete's foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, may mimic athlete's foot. The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms are also breeding grounds for fungi. Because the infection was common among athletes who used these facilities frequently, the term "athlete's foot" became popular.


Diabetes and the Feet

People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. Even ordinary problems can get worse and lead to serious complications. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage, also called neuropathy, which results in loss of feeling in your feet. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems. Inspect your feet every day, and seek care early if you do get a foot injury. Make sure your health care provider checks your feet at least once a year - more often if you have foot problems. Your health care provider should also give you a list and explain the do's and don'ts of foot care. Most people can prevent any serious foot problem by following some simple steps. So let's begin taking care of your feet today.


Hammertoes

These are the results of abnormal contraction and a muscle imbalance that leaves your toe in a bent position. Once hammertoes stiffen they can rub against the shoe and cause pain from inflammation in the joint area. This is commonly known as bursitis. You may also notice a corn or callus on the top on the hammertoe. They can be aggravated by shoes or socks which do not fit properly. There are a variety of treatments for hammertoes which range from padding, shoe modifications and in some cases surgery is necessary for severe deformities.


Nerve Injuries

Indicators of a nerve injury include numbness in your toes or even swelling in between the toes. Symptoms usually occur in the third and fourth toes.  A neuroma is a benign growth of nerve tissue typically found in women. The nerve enlargement could be caused by an injury, a high arch or an arch that is too low. Pain while wearing narrow shoes may also be an indicator of neuroma. There are several options to relieve pain and the enlarged tissue area.

Bunions

An enlargement of the big toe joint. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. The most common cause is an abnormal motion of the foot called pronation and eventually in some people lead to a bunion deformity. They are hereditary, and can be prevented in some patients if caught early enough. It is very important that they be treated, if left untreated they will eventually interfere with the quality of life and will affect walking and standing.


Foot or Ankle Sprain / Fracture

The feet and ankles work together to provide support and mobility to the body. A foot or ankle sprain is a soft tissue injury. Most often, a sprain occurs when an injury pulls, stretches, or tears the ligaments that connect bone to bone. A fracture is actually a break in the bone. Injuries are the most common causes of foot and ankle sprains and fractures. Many fractures and sprains occur during sports. Pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking on the affected foot or ankle are the most common symptoms of a sprained or fractured foot or ankle. You should seek medical attention for foot and ankle injuries that affect your walking or running.


Heel Pain

The most common cause is abnormal motion in your foot which leads to too much stress on a thick ligament on the bottom of the foot (plantar fascia). It is commonly referred to as plantar fasicitis or heel spur syndrome. Inherited muscle imbalances, heel injury, improper shoes, excessive weight, nerve problems in the ankle. The treatment may consist of inserts, medications, cortisone injections and surgery.


Plantars Warts

These are cause by a virus know as HPV or human papilloma virus. Children and teens are most commonly affected but adults can get warts too. The most common area on the foot is the bottom or plantar surface. Depending on where these are they can be very painful. Warts have the ability to spread quickly and require an evaluation to initiate the proper treatment.


Sweaty Feet

Excessive sweating of the feet is called hyperhidrosis. It's more common in men than in women, and more common in young adults than older adults. People whose feet sweat excessively often also have problems with excessive sweating of the palms.Excessive sweating of the feet seems to be an inherited problem. No one knows exactly why it occurs, but people who sweat excessively seem to have a different “set point” than other people. Most people sweat when it's hot out, or when they become warm. People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively almost all the time.


Brittany M. Jones, DPM   •   Jeffrey A. Crowhurst, DPM

1703 Polaris Circle  |  Ottawa, Illinois  |  815-434-1900
www.crowhurstfootcare.com