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Flat Feet and Toe Problems

A mallet toe on the 3rd digit.

“The health of your feet, despite their distance from your heart, can affect your overall health,” says Paul F. Brezinski, DPM, a Chicago-area podiatrist and president of the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association. Achiness or pain in your feet can have many causes, and you shouldn’t ignore foot pain or regard it as a normal part of life.

Flat feet and fallen arches, due to weak ligaments, make the foot “roll inwards” at the ankle, which can lead to knee pain; shoe inserts from the pharmacy or podiatrist should help.

Hammer, claw and mallet toes mean that toe joints are out of line; toes can even overlap. They produce pressure points inside shoes, so toes can develop corns, calluses or even ulcers. In hallux valgus, the big toe points sideways. This puts pressure on the big-toe joint that can lead to painful swelling (a bunion). Anti-pressure padding and shoe inserts may help, but you may need corrective surgery.

Ingrowing toenails can be painful and may become infected; they may need to be partially or fully removed.

Most foot health problems are a direct result of squeezing into bad fitting shoes. Don’t grow old not being able to hop, skip and a jump as you should due to problem feet. Remember your feet are an essential part of your overall well-being.

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