Foot Anatomy, Common Foot Problems & Care Guidelines

Foot

Keeping our bodies clean and healthy is our priority. To achieve this, we take shower frequently, wear clean clothes, and get treatment in case of a problem. This similar care applies to our feet which are more prone to get injured or get infected. Let us take a look at the anatomy of the human foot, the common issues which can cause harm to it, as well as the basic steps which can be adopted to save you trouble.

Anatomy of the human foot

The human foot is a body part consisting of numerous bones, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and muscles. It is a complex structure that is responsible for all the locomotion of our body. Our feet are strong enough to carry our weight as well as balance it in such a way that movement is possible without failing.

Parts of a foot

Each foot consists of the following:

Parts Number
Bones26
Joints33
Ligaments107
Tendons
Muscles19

Bones of a foot

Foot Bones

X-ray Result of a Foot

Among these 26 bones, the division is as follows:

Type of bone Number
Tarsals7
Metatarsals5
Phalanges14

Tarsals and metatarsals, in association with the ligaments, make up the base of the foot while the phalanges are in the foot digits.

Common foot problems

Our feet are subjected to pressure, moisture, sweat, and many other things which can sometimes generate an ideal environment for the microbes to grow thus resulting in several foot problems. Some of these are easy to heal while others need proper care and treatment. Let us take a look at some of these:

  1. Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot or Tinea pedis is a common problem associated with feet. It occurs due to a fungus that usually grows between the foot digits.

The symptoms include:

  • Reddish skin
  • White and scaly rash
  • Peeling skin
  • Mild odor
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation

Antifungal creams or lotions can be applied to the affected area. The skin must be kept clean and dry.

Athlete’s foot is easy to prevent by adopting easy measures which include:

  • Keep your feet dry
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public toilets and showers
  • Change your socks regularly
  1. Calluses and corns

Calluses and corns are the collection of dead cells at the heels or tips of the feet respectively. They become hard and cause pain and discomfort when one walks.

Their treatment is associated with their removal which can be done by soaking the foot in warm water. It will soften the hardened skin and make it easy to remove. A wet pumice stone or an emery board can be used to detach the callus or corn from its place. Moisturizing cream or lotion can also be applied.

  1. Hammertoes

Hammertoe is a condition in which the patient experiences bending of the toe joint. Usually, it is caused due to the use of an ill-fitting shoe which forces one to bend the foot.

Hammertoe can be managed by:

  • Wearing a comfortable shoe
  • Wearing foot pads

If the condition has aggravated, the patient may need surgery.

  1. Ingrown toenails

If the nail edges are not cut properly, the corner of the nail can pierce the skin and result in an infection termed paronychia. This can cause extreme pain and difficulty in walking. To manage this problem, it is best to soak the affected foot in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes. Placing a small piece of dental floss under the nail edge can help it grow outwards instead of growing into the skin. If these treatments do not work, topical antibiotics may be required.

  1. Bunions

A bunion is a condition characterized by the appearance of a bumpy area at the end of your toe. The toe is visibly bent towards the other digits and the bony structure is bulging in the opposite direction. The reasons behind this condition can be:

  • Wearing heels or narrow-tipped shoes for longer periods
  • Congenital disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Hereditary causes

For the management of bunions, roomier shoes must be worn to increase comfort. Moreover, the use of over-the-counter painkillers is also recommended.

  1. Fungal infection

Nails of the feet affected by a fungal infection is a common problem. The fungus modifies the shape of the nails, their texture as well as their color.

Common causes include:

  • Wearing an ill-fitted shoe
  • Taking a pedicure
  • Trauma or injury

Although antifungal medications are prescribed for this condition, it is still hard to get rid of the toenail fungus as its recurrence is easy.

  1. Gout

Gout is a condition in which the body accumulates uric acid crystals within the space between the toe joints. These needle-like crystals get crushed when the person walks and cause extreme pain and swelling. As uric acid is a product of proteins, the patient is advised to avoid the intake of meat and other protein-rich foods. Increasing the intake of water along with the prescribed medications can help manage the situation.

  1. Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a condition that is caused by the pressing of a nerve between the foot bones. This results in the formation of a non-cancerous mass within the nerve.

Symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Tenderness

 Taking rest is helpful for the management of Morton’s neuroma. In some cases, cortisol injections can also be given if the pain persists for longer.

Taking care of your feet

By taking care of one’s feet, it is possible to avoid commonly occurring foot problems. The foot care guidelines include the following:

  • Inspect your feet on a regular basis. Look for any kind of discoloration, cracks, or hardened skin.
  • Do not ignore foot pain if it persists for more than 2 to 3 days.
  • Wash your feet regularly followed by drying them with a clean cloth.
  • Cut your nails properly. Do not let the nail edges be sharp. Cut them as well. Do not cut your nails too short.
  • Change your socks on a regular basis.
  • Let your shoes sit in the air to disperse any odor trapped in them after long wear.

Conclusion

Our feet, like other body parts, need care and protection against the environmental factors which can damage them. There are multiple issues that can your feet and cause pain and discomfort. However, by taking care of your feet, it is easy to avoid these problems.

uzma e1714761913269

PhD Scholar (Pharmaceutics), MPhil (Pharmaceutics), Pharm D, B. Sc.

Uzma Zafar is a dedicated and highly motivated pharmaceutical professional currently pursuing her PhD in Pharmaceutics at the Punjab University College of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab. With a comprehensive academic and research background, Uzma has consistently excelled in her studies, securing first division throughout her educational journey.

Uzma’s passion for the pharmaceutical field is evident from her active engagement during her Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) program, where she not only mastered industrial techniques and clinical case studies but also delved into marketing strategies and management skills.

Throughout her career, Uzma has actively contributed to the pharmaceutical sciences, with specific research on suspension formulation and Hepatitis C risk factors and side effects. Additionally, Uzma has lent her expertise to review and fact-check articles for the Health Supply 770 blog, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the information presented.

As she continues her PhD, expected to complete in 2025, Uzma is eager to contribute further to the field by combining her deep knowledge of pharmaceutics with real-world applications to meet global professional standards and challenges.