Our feet are composed of numerous bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, making it a complex system that keeps us moving, walking, running, jumping, standing, and many more. As intricate structures, these endure a lot of wear and tear over time, making them susceptible to various foot conditions.
Some foot problems are common and easily treated, such as bunions, ingrown toenails, and even corns. There are, however, some rare and unusual foot conditions that fly under the radar and only a knowledgeable podiatrist can identify and diagnose them. Get to know some of these here and when you should consult a foot doctor.
Otherwise known as Thromboagiitis Obliterans, Buerger’s Disease is a rare type of vascular condition that primarily affects the blood vessels in the extremities, particularly in the hands and legs. While the exact cause of this disease is unknown, this condition is often linked to tobacco smoking. According to researchers, tobacco chemicals cause the lining of the blood vessels to swell.
Buerger’s disease is often characterized by symptoms such as pain, inflammation, and more commonly, restricted blood flow. This leads to fingers or toes that appear dark or bluish, leading to tissue damage or worse, gangrene.
If you are a smoker, your foot doctor would advise you to stop smoking and, in severe cases, obtain surgical intervention.
Mafucci syndrome is a type of rare condition that causes the growth of benign tumors within the bones. These tumors, called enchondromas, appear on different bones within the body, but are most common in the hands and feet.
When it affects the feet, individuals who are suffering from this foot condition can not only experience foot pain, inflammation, and difficulty walking, but they can also lead to deformities.
Freiberg’s disease, on the other hand, is a foot condition that affects the metatarsal bones in the foot. These metatarsal bones are considered the bones that connect the toes to the rest of the foot. This condition stems from the death of bone tissue, often from inadequate blood supply.
Once the metatarsal bone in the feet collapses, the makes the foot flat. This can likewise make the person with this foot condition deal with pain, swelling, and foot stiffness. A podiatrist plays a crucial role in the treatment and intervention of this condition, with custom orthotics and surgery being viable options to improve their quality of life and well-being.
Unlike other previous foot conditions mentioned above, Kohler’s disease is a rare properly that primarily affects children. In particular, this is more common in young boys aged 3 to 10. Kohler’s disease disrupts the blood flow to the navicular bone in the midfoot which then leads to necrosis of the bone.
Individuals who suffer from this disease can experience limping, pain, and difficulty in walking. Thankfully, many children who deal with this problem outgrow this condition as the navicular bone regenerates.
When to Consult a Foot Doctor
While these aforementioned foot conditions are rare and unusual as they come, it’s imperative that you recognize when it’s time to consult a podiatrist for any of your concerns. Below are some signs you should look out for:
- Persistent Pain
Foot pain that continues to persist even without explanation can be concerning. If your foot pain still doesn’t improve with rest and medication, make sure to consult a foot doctor right away.
- Skin Changes
Apart from pain, some tell-tale signs you should pay attention to include inflammation, swelling, or deformities. Any skin changes, whether it be structural or textural, should be evaluated by your podiatrist immediately.
- Loss of Function
If you experience difficulties in walking, running, or general mobility, the loss of function in your feet should signal that it’s time to seek professional attention.
The Bottom Line
Unusual foot conditions can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While these conditions are rare, these foot problems can be diagnosed and treated properly with the help of a podiatrist . By observing and caring for your feet, you, too, can stay on top of your health and well-being.