5 Common Foot Problems and How to Prevent Them

5 Common Foot Problems and How to Prevent Them


Do you spend most of your day on your feet? Are you tired of that annoying twinge of pain running up and down your foot? If this sounds like an everyday struggle, you’re not alone. Around 87% of individuals experience foot discomfort at some point in their lives due to various reasons..


Podiatric issues can range from minor discomfort to severe injuries that demand medical attention. The most common issues include athlete’s foot, Plantar Fasciitis, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and bunions. These are often caused by factors ranging from poor footwear, repeated stress on the feet, medical conditions, or even poor hygiene. 


In this blog, we’ll discuss common foot problems, explore their causes, and, most importantly, share actionable advice on preventing them. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to properly care for your feet or how to sidestep those pesky foot pain, you’re in the right place.


The Importance of Foot Health


In terms of healthcare, feet problems often slip through the cracks.  Our feet are the ultimate workhorses of our body—they carry us around all day, every day. 


When our feet are happy, it becomes that much easier to stay active, keep fit, and manage the day’s hustle and bustle without a hitch. Foot ailments can really throw a wrench in our plans, causing more than just physical pain; leading to a domino effect that can impact our posture, our mobility, and even our overall mood. 


Common Causes of Foot Problems


When it comes to common foot problems, there’s a whole list of usual suspects. Ill-fitting shoes are like the arch-nemesis of foot comfort, often creating an onset of blisters, bunions, and calluses. 


Then there’s our daily grind—long hours on your feet, high-impact workouts, or just the natural aging process can all contribute to foot discomfort. Sometimes, it’s our genetics that leaves us with issues like flat feet or high arches, making us more prone to foot ailments. 


And let’s not forget those chronic conditions like diabetes that have a knack for stirring up trouble in the foot department. 


Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis is one of those pedal conditions that can put a damper on your step. This lower extremity disorder involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs beneath the foot. 


Here, we’ll explore its symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment options that can make a world of difference in managing the pain – 

  • Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis


Experiencing a sharp pain in the heel or the bottom of the foot, primarily upon waking, is a telltale sign of plantar fasciitis. This discomfort may decrease as you move around more but can return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting. 


It’s a common issue among runners, overweight individuals, and those with previous foot disorders. 

  • Causes of Plantar Fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis stems from straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament, leading to pain and swelling. This tension can occur due to excessive weight, a sudden increase in activity, or footwear that lacks proper support. 

  • Prevention of Plantar Fasciitis


Maintaining a healthy weight is your first defense in preventing plantar fasciitis. You can also choose supportive footwear and avoid high heels or flat shoes that don’t cushion or support your arch. Regular Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretching can also help keep this condition at bay.

  • Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis


Treatment includes rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation. Stretching exercises and physical therapy can also strengthen foot muscles, which helps stabilise your walk and lessen the workload on the plantar fascia. 


Sometimes, a doctor may recommend orthotics or more invasive treatments to help remove some of the pressure. 




Bunions are high-up on the list of common foot problems-characterised by a noticeable bump at the base of your big toe. As a podiatry concern, they’re more than just a bump—they represent a change in the foot’s structure. This section will look into its causes, how to spot the symptoms, ways to prevent them, and the treatment options available.

  • Symptoms of Bunions


Notice a bony bump at the base of your big toe? That’s a classic sign of a bunion. There’s often redness, swelling, and soreness around the joint. These symptoms can make it challenging to find comfortable and well-fitted shoes, which can lead to a host of other foot issues.

  • Causes of Bunions


Bunions often stem from a mix of genetics and footwear choices. Wearing narrow shoes can push your big toe inward, contributing to these podiatry concerns. Some people’s feet are structured in a way that makes them more prone to developing bunions.

  • Prevention of Bunions


Opt for shoes with a wide toe box and good arch support to help prevent bunions. It’s a simple change that can make a big difference in managing common foot problems. Also, regular foot exercises and physical therapy can strengthen the feet and help maintain proper alignment.

  • Treatment of Bunions


When treating bunions, podiatrists have a toolbox complete with options. There are several non-surgical ways to alleviate the discomfort, from custom orthotics to anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases, surgery might be recommended to correct the foot structure and remedy the underlying foot problem.


Athlete’s Foot


Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that usually begins between the toes and can spread to other parts of the foot and body. If you’re a fitness enthusiast or frequent damp communal areas, you might be all too familiar with its itch and discomfort. 

  • Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot


Recognising its signs early can save you from the persistent itch. Look out for peeling, redness, and a burning sensation between your toes or on the soles of your feet. 


Itching is a tell-tale sign, especially right after you take off your shoes and socks. If these symptoms sound all too familiar, it’s time to take action.

  • Causes of Athlete’s Foot


The fungus that causes athlete’s foot thrives in warm, moist environments. Walking barefoot in locker rooms, around pools, or in communal showers can significantly increase your risk. 


Tight-fitting shoes that don’t breathe can also create the perfect home for fungus to grow, leading to more than just arch pain but a full-blown infection.

  • Prevention of Athlete’s Foot


Keep athletes’ feet under control by drying your feet thoroughly after showers and swims. Invest in well-ventilated shoes and sandals to let your feet breathe and reduce moisture. 


Changing your socks regularly and using over-the-counter antifungal powder, especially after a workout, can also prevent the dreaded itch from acting up.

  • Treatment of Athlete’s Foot


Like most other fungal infections, athlete’s foot is also highly treatable. Over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays are often all you need. For persistent cases, a visit to the doctor might be in order.


Ingrown Toenails


Ingrown toenails, also known as onychocryptosis, can be a real pain—literally. They occur when the nail grows into the skin, leading to a nagging pain while walking and sometimes infection. 


It’s a widespread condition that affects almost 2.5–5% of the general population, especially those on their feet or wearing tight shoes. 

  • Symptoms of Ingrown Toenails


If your toe is red, swollen, and feels like it’s throbbing, you might be dealing with an ingrown toenail. Sometimes, it’s tender when you touch it or put on shoes, but other times, it can be seriously sore. 


There’s often a visible sign, like the nail curving down into the skin. Keep an eye out for any pus or fluid, too, which could indicate an infection. Catching these signs early means you can start treatment before surgery. 

  • Causes of Ingrown Toenails


So, why do some people get ingrown toenails and others don’t? Well, it comes down to how you cut your toenails. If cut too short or not straight across, the nail curves over time and grows into the skin. 


Tight shoes and socks can also pressure the nails into an ingrown state. Even your genes can be the culprit, as some folks are more prone to it.

  • Prevention of Ingrown Toenails


Start by trimming your nails properly—straight across and short. Choose footwear that gives your toes room to move, and avoid too tight socks. If you’re an athlete or on your feet a lot, pay extra attention to your toenails. 


A little foot hygiene goes a long way, so wash your feet regularly and keep them dry to prevent problems.

  • Treatment of Ingrown Toenails


When an ingrown toenail strikes, don’t panic! Often, you can manage it at home by soaking your foot in warm, soapy water to reduce swelling and tenderness. Once the skin around the nail has softened up, massage the excess skin away from the toenail to allow it to grow out. 


If the symptoms don’t improve or there’s an infection, a visit to the doctor or a podiatrist can offer treatments like lifting the nail or even minor surgery to remove the offending part of the nail. 




Hammertoes are foot deformities where the toe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint, resembling a hammer. While it might not be painful for some, hammertoes can cause chronic pain and difficulty in walking for others.

  • Symptoms of Hammertoes


You might be dealing with hammertoes if your toes are starting to look like little hammers. The tell-tale signs include a noticeable bend in one or more toes, pain when you move them, and difficulty fitting into your favorite shoes. 


You might also notice calluses forming where your bent toes rub against the shoe. 

  • Causes of Hammertoes


Hammertoes don’t just pop up overnight; they’re usually the result of muscle imbalance, which puts pressure on the toe’s joints and tendons. Wearing tight shoes or high heels can worsen this condition, and if you’re also dealing with heel spurs, the added strain on your feet might make you more prone to developing hammertoes. 


It’s a bit of a domino effect—poor footwear leads to strain, which leads to deformities like hammertoes.

  • Prevention of Hammertoes


Start by finding comfortable, well-fitting shoes that allow your toes to spread out. If you’ve had issues like Achilles tendonitis, be extra careful—this condition can affect how you walk and put you at risk for hammertoes. 


Regular exercises to strengthen the foot muscles can also help maintain balance and support your toes properly.

  • Treatment of Hammertoes


Custom-made orthotics, made from a digital scan of your foot, help keep the toe straight to correct its posture gradually. Your doctor might recommend physiotherapy to stretch and strengthen your toes in milder cases. 


If it starts causing considerable pain, surgery might be on the cards to correct the deformity and provide long-term relief.


Wrapping Up 


Common foot problems like athlete’s foot, plantar fasciitis, and bunions can stop us in our tracks. But with some knowledge and proactive steps, such as maintaining good foot hygiene and wearing the right shoes, we can keep our feet happy and healthy. 


And if you’re in the Melbourne CBD area, don’t forget to step into Era Health, where your feet will get the top-notch care they deserve. At Era Health, it’s not just about treating problems; it’s about teaching you the stride in prevention. So, give your feet the attention they deserve, and keep them stepping strong!