Identifying Foot Diseases

Most of us use our feet every day and never really stop to think about how important they are. If you do any walking, running or exercise at all throughout the day, you have your feet to thank. The lease we can do is give them the proper level of care.

While on a typical day, that mostly means wearing comfortable shoes and occasionally putting some lotion on them, at times it means being vigilant to whether or not your feet are in need of some extra care due to a foot disease or ailment.

Usually you’ll recognize that there’s a problem due to the pain, but to ensure you know how to recognize the difference between run-of-the-mill aches and a foot problem that merits a trip to the doctor, we’ve got a few of the main foot diseases outlined below and what symptoms to look for to recognize them.

Foot Diseases

1. Disease: Fungal Infections

While the most common foot fungal infection you hear about is athlete’s foot, it’s not the only one you have to worry about. The symptoms of fungal infections are pretty similar across the board though.

Symptoms of Fungal Infections:

  • Itching or burning
  • Dry skin – peeling and cracking
  • Redness
  • Blisters

If you recognize the symptoms, get thee to a doctor. You can also find ointments at the drugstore, but it’s worth getting a professional’s opinion to confirm the diagnosis and ensure you use the right treatments moving forward.

2. Disease: Gout

Gout doesn’t only happen in the foot, but the most common place people experience it is in their big toe. It’s a form of arthritis that causes serious pain and swelling in a joint.

Symptoms of Gout:

  • Swelling in your big toe (or another joint)
  • Warmth in the same area
  • Pain in the same area
  • Red or purplish skin around where it hurts
  • Limited movement in the joint that’s affected
  • A lingering itch after the gout attack passes

If you experience these symptoms, even if they pass and you start to feel better, head to your doctor. The causes of a gout attack can linger and cause you more serious problems over time, so don’t get complacent once your big toe or other affected joint goes back to normal.

3. Disease: Bunions

Once again, we have a foot disease that tends to strike your big toe (poor guy). Bunions are painful bumps that show up at the base of your big toe due to your big toe pushing up against the toe next to it. Bunions are pretty easy to identify because of how much they hurt.

Symptoms of Bunions:

  • A painful bulge at the base of your big toe
  • Swelling in the same area
  • Redness in the same area
  • Pain, made worse by wearing tight shoes (or any constraining shoes)

Bunions don’t necessarily require a trip to the doctor. You may be able to get by with over-the-counter painkillers or heating pads and ice packs. If the pain persists or is especially bad though, go talk to your doctor to see what they recommend.

Those are the main foot diseases and ailments your average senior may encounter, but that doesn’t mean this is a complete list. If you experience any abnormal pain in your foot, even if it doesn’t match the symptoms on this list, consider heading to your doctor to find out what’s going on. So many diseases and ailments get better if identified early and properly treated, so stay on top if it if you sense anything abnormal.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


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