The A to Z

Browse for the key concepts in the footcare sector


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Hammer toe

Hammer toe is a deformity of the second, third or fourth toe, when the toe appears permanently bent at the joint. There are a number of causes of hammer toe. Ill-fitting shoes are a common culprit. Injury, bunions or rheumatoid arthritis are other causes.

Hammer toe can cause other problems. Because the toe joint sticks out, it is more susceptible to shoes rubbing, meaning corns and calluses can develop. Hammer toes can also cause stress on the ball of the foot, which can lead to pain known as metatarsalgia.

Source: NHS choices


Heel pain

Heel pain is a common foot condition. It is usually felt as an intense pain when using the affected heel.

Heel pain usually builds up gradually and gets worse over time. The pain is often severe and occurs when you place weight on the heel.

In most cases only one heel is affected, although estimates suggest around a third of people have pain in both heels.

The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, or when you first take a step after a period of inactivity. After walking the pain usually improves, but often gets worse again after walking or standing for a long time.

Some people may limp or develop an abnormal walking style as they try to avoid placing weight on the affected heel.

Being overweight can place excess pressure and strain on your feet, particularly on your heels. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight by combining regular exercise with a healthy balanced diet can be beneficial for your feet.

Wearing appropriate footwear is also important. Ideally, you should wear shoes with a low to moderate heel that supports and cushions your arches and heels. Avoid wearing shoes with no heels.

Source: NHS choices


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