6 Uncommon Foot Ailments That Need Treatment

Some foot problems start in the foot itself, for example, resulting from a foot injury. Problems can occur in any bone, joint, muscle, tendon, or ligament of the foot.

Foot and ankle fractures are fairly common. Among the most common foot problems are blisters, corns and calluses, bunions, heel pain, ingrown toenails, diabetic foot conditions, and fractures. Slightly less common are gout, a type of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, and flatfoot, in which the lack of an adequate arch in the sole causes pain when standing or walking. Fallen arches can be acquired or you may be born with the condition.

Many foot disorders are successfully treated by changing a person’s footwear, such as wearing different shoes or using inserts or other devices placed in the shoe that change the position or range of movement of the foot to relieve pressure on affected joints or painful areas (called orthotics or orthoses).

If these treatments are not successful, sometimes seeing a podiatrist in Singapore and surgery are needed to improve joint alignment and function and relieve pain. Here are some more foot problems that you could experience.


Arthritis causes inflammation, stiffness, and pain around the joints. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are common in the ankle and foot – especially at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the big toe, where the toe bone connects to the rest of the foot.

The MTP joint is large and sustains a lot of pressure when walking, making it particularly susceptible to wear-and-tear issues like arthritis. Arthritis affecting the MTP joint of the big toe is also sometimes called hallux rigidus.

This term means stiff big toe and it occurs when the joint at the base of the big toe wears down and makes movement difficult. Hallux rigidus is a progressive condition, and over time, the toe may become very stiff. It is the most common type of arthritis affecting the foot.

Symptomatic relief can often be achieved through conservative therapies such as anti-inflammatory medications (including corticosteroid injections) to reduce pain and swelling, custom orthotics to relieve pressure and improve foot function, and hot and cold therapy. In the case of severe degeneration in the ankle from arthritis, your podiatrist may recommend an ankle replacement.

Gout can also cause pain and inflammation around the big toe joint, brought on by a buildup of uric acid. However, gout symptoms in the feet tend to be sudden and severe – as opposed to arthritis symptoms in the feet, which tend to develop slowly over time.

Athlete’s foot

This extremely common and highly contagious problem is a type of fungal infection.

Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, can cause a scaly rash that can burn, sting, and itch – and may lead to blisters or dry, cracked skin on your feet. It usually appears between the toes and on the soles of the feet and can spread to the toenails. It occurs after direct exposure to fungi (including yeast), typically in a moist environment like a locker room, public shower, or swimming pool.

Prescription antifungal medication is needed to clear the infection, and it can take months to completely resolve. A reliable podiatry clinic in Singapore can offer fungal nail laser treatment in cases where the infection has spread to the toenails.

Toe Deformities

Hammertoe and Mallet Toe: These toe deformities cause one or more toes to bend down due to a contraction in the middle joint of the toe (hammertoe) or the joint at the end of the toe (mallet toe). The conditions typically affect the second, third, or fourth toes and may be accompanied by pain and stiffness of the affected toe. Corns and calluses may develop.

Hammertoe and mallet toe can occur due to genetics, injury, arthritis, imbalance in the toe muscles, and ill-fitting shoes. Wearing roomy shoes can help relieve pain. If you can still bend your toes, your podiatry clinic might recommend orthotics to reposition the toes and exercises to help stretch the toe muscles. Surgery may be required if the toes become stuck in the bent position.

Claw toe (Claw Foot): This toe deformity causes the joint at the base of the toe to bend upward and the toes to curl downward like a claw. It typically affects the four smaller toes at the same time and affects women far more frequently than men.

While claw toe can occur due to structural changes in the nerves, muscles, or tendons that bend the toes, it often results from wearing tight, ill-fitting shoes such as those with a pointed toe and high heels.

It is important to treat claw toe because the condition will worsen over time and may result in permanent disfigurement. If caught early, custom orthotics or a splint may be used to treat claw toe. Later interventions include visiting a podiatry clinic and surgery.

Turf Toe

Turf toe is a sprain of the ligament at the joint of the big toe. It became a common injury among football players after less shock-absorbent artificial turf was introduced on the playing field, hence the name, “turf toe.” It occurs when the big toe overextends, spraining or tearing tissue at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. In extreme cases, podiatrist and surgery may be necessary to repair soft tissue in the area, reposition bones, and fuse or replace the MTP joint itself.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts tend to develop on weight-bearing areas of the foot, such as the heel or ball of the foot. They are subject to incredible pressure in these locations when walking, running, or even just standing. Over time, this can cause warts to grow inward, into the foot. Plantar warts are highly contagious and can be very painful.

These warts are transmitted by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. They may eventually go away on their own without treatment. If they do not, however, it’s best to let a podiatrist remove a plantar wart instead of trying over-the-counter remedies, especially for those with diabetes or poor circulation.

Toenail Disorders

Ingrown toenails are one of the most common toenail disorders. It involves the toenail growing into the skin surrounding the nail bed, often because the toenail is cut too short.

Fungal infections of the toenail are another common disorder, and these infections can be notoriously difficult to treat. An early sign of a toenail fungal infection is a light-coloured spot under the top of the toenail. The nail itself slowly thickens, discolours, and becomes brittle.

A prescription antifungal cream can be used on the toenail to kill the infection, although it can take months for the infection to clear up. Some oral medications allow new, uninfected growth in the toenail, which ultimately replaces the infected portion of the toenail, although this process can take some time.

Also, seeing a podiatrist immediately and laser therapy can treat toenail fungal infections. This relatively new, noninvasive method targets the fungi under the nail without damaging the toenail.

If you are looking for a podiatry centre in Singapore, visit our website now and let our experts help you today.

Clare Louise

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