Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease, or calcaneal apophysitis, is a common but painful heel injury that affects children. With Sever’s disease, the heel’s growth plate becomes inflamed and sore, usually in kids that are active in sports. It can crop up during periods of rapid growth, especially during the onset of puberty. During this time, the heel bone can grow faster than the leg’s muscles and tendons, causing the heel to lose flexibility and feel tightness and pressure. The condition can be worsened by continuous stress and impact on the feet, as well as wearing cleats during sports such as soccer, baseball, and football. Running and jumping on hard surfaces during sports such as track, basketball, and gymnastics can also cause the inflammation.

Symptoms are localized pain, swelling, and tenderness in the heel, walking with a limp, and increased discomfort during standing, walking, jumping, or running. Treatments to relieve pain and inflammation are rest, elevation, ice application, anti-inflammatory medications (always consult a doctor before taking any medication), and heel cushion inserts. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the lower leg muscles and tendons are also recommended. Sever’s disease has no permanent effects and goes away when the inflammation stops.

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is when the small arteries that circulate blood in the extremities, such as the hands and feet, become narrow due to vapospasms. Vapospasms are contractions that can occur due to stress or cold temperatures. The result is the affected areas feeling numb and cold as a result of the restricted blood circulation. It most commonly affects women and those living in cold climates. Raynaud’s disease usually does not involve treatment, aside from exercising to maintain good circulation and keeping warm with thick gloves and socks in cold weather. There are medications available to treat the disease if symptoms worsen.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial bone infection that can strike people of any age. In adults, osteomyelitis most frequently strikes the hips, vertebrae, or feet; in children, the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs are the most common site for the disease. Bone infection can occur as a result of an infection in another part of the body that then travels through the bloodstream and settles in the bone. The infection can initiate from a wound from surgery, injury, or an injection, as well as from an internal infection. Due to diabetic foot ulcers, diabetics are more prone to contracting osteomyelitis in their feet.

Symptoms of osteomyelitis include pain, tenderness, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation at the site of the infection, fever, chills, and nausea. The symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually. It is diagnosed with tests and bone images to check for changes in the bone. Further testing of biopsies and cultures may be used to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection so that proper treatment can be administered. Treatment involves antibiotics and pain medication. The affected area may also be immobilized with a splint. If diagnosed early, osteomyelitis can be effectively treated using these measures.

The diagnosis and treatment of severe or chronic bone infections is a specialized field of medicine. In the United States, there are relatively few doctors with expertise with severe or chronic osteomyelitis.

Ollier’s Disease

Ollier’s disease, or enchondromatosis, is a rare congenital disease of abnormal bone development due to cartilage overgrowth in the form of enchondromas, or benign, non-cancerous tumors. The limbs’ long bones and joint cartilage are affected by the disease, and the small bones and metatarsals of the hands and feet are common sites for the enchondromas to develop. The masses can also grow elsewhere in the body.

It is possible but not common for the tumors to become malignant, or cancerous. Most cases of Ollier’s disease remain benign and do not require treatment, unless bone tissue is destroyed by quick-growing tumors. Then, the growths can be surgically removed.

 

Maffucci’s Syndrome

Maffucci’s syndrome is a very rare congenital disease, wherein multiple enchondromas develop on the bones, along with hemangiomas, or soft tissue tumors that involve entangled, abnormal blood vessels. The benign, non-cancerous cartilage growths form in the cartilage at the end of bones, where bone growth occurs. They most frequently develop in the hands and feet, although they can form anywhere in the body, and can result in severe bone deformities, fractures, underdeveloped muscles, shortened limbs, and shorter stature. Enchondromas halt formation when growing stops. The growths can become malignant, or cancerous. Surgical treatment is necessary if the growths damage bone tissue, at which point they should be removed.

Kohler’s Disease

Kohler’s disease occurs in young children. Usually caused by abnormal foot artery growth, it disrupts blood supply to the foot and weakens the bone. The disease usually heals over time on its own; however, treatment may involve restricted activity and orthotics and braces to support the bone while it strengthens and heals.

Gout

Gout, a complex type of arthritis, results from an accumulation of uric acid in the joints. The big toe joint is often affected by gout, probably due to the pressure it is subjected to during walking and standing. Gout causes pain, extreme tenderness, throbbing, and a burning sensation in the joint, with localized redness and swelling. An attack of gout lasts for several hours before it usually subsides, but it more than likely returns to the same area within months. Gout, also known as gouty arthritis, more frequently affects men, but women can also suffer from it.

Since gout can be triggered by diet, it is recommended that gout sufferers avoid alcohol; limit high levels of proteins,red meat, shellfish, and rich sauces; and drink plenty of water or fluids. Medications are effective in treating the disease’s onset, symptoms, and complications.

Freiberg’s Disease

Freiberg’s disease is a rare disorder of the foot’s metatarsal joints. The metatarsal bones run from the toes to the arch of the foot. With Freiberg’s disease, the joint surfaces disintegrate and/ or collapse and abnormal tissue forms in the joint. It can be the result of foot injury or trauma or the occurrence of longer-than-normal metatarsal bones. At its onset, the disease can cause pain or stiffness in the forefoot, which can become chronic; however, some cases are asymptomatic in the early stages. Although anyone can become susceptible to Freiberg’s disease, females are three times more likely to develop it than males, and it usually occurs during adolescence.

Freiberg’s disease may heal without treatment in its earlier stages. Usually, treatment involves resting the affected joint area to alleviate pressure and allow healing, orthotics, and cortisone. Joint surgery or replacement may be necessary in severe cases.

Charcot Foot

Charcot foot occurs when the foot bones weaken due to conditions such as arthritis and nerve damage. Diabetics who have neuropathy can suffer from Charcot foot. The weakened bones become susceptible to fractures in the feet or ankles, which can cause bone deformities that alter the shape and form of the foot. Fallen arches and collapsed joints result in changes in foot shape; this can lead to wounds and ulcers as pressure causes friction on the misshapen areas. Charcot foot can affect one or both feet as well as the ankles. The onset of Charcot foot occurs at the average age of 40.

Charcot foot can be treated through rest, elevation, and immobilization to halt pain and allow the fractures and wounds to heal. However, many cases require surgery to correct the deformities and fix the fractures, particularly in patients that have chronic or significant deformity alongside instability, extreme pressure, and/ or severe ulcers.

Charcot foot is a serious disease that leads to deformities and eventual disability. In extreme cases, amputation may be necessary, which is why diabetics and others with neuropathy must seek immediate care when any changes in the foot or ankle occur.

Cancers and Growths

Cancers and Growths:

To the surprise of many, the skin and bones of the foot can become inflicted with a variety of cancers, just like any other part of the human body. Here are some of the more common types of cancer than can affect the feet:

Giant cell tumors:
Giant cell tumors are benign, firm, irregular masses that form on the toes, top or side of the foot, or deep inside the foot. The tumors grow in the tendon sheath that protects the tendon. They are typically painful as they slowly grow larger over time. Giant cell tumors are uncommon and are usually benign.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma:
Kaposi’s sarcoma is a type of cancer that causes red, purple, or brown lesions on the skin due to abnormal tissue growth beneath the skin. It can strike anywhere on the body, including the skin of the feet. The disease can cause extreme pain at the lesion sites or result in no symptoms other than the noticeable discolorations.

In the lower extremities and groin area, Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions may be accompanied by painful swelling. Kaposi’s sarcoma, also known as KS, can advance slowly; however, in the presence of HIV/ AIDS, the disease spreads quickly. If the cancer spreads to the lungs or digestive tract, it can cause bleeding. In the lungs, breathing can become restricted.
Malignant melanoma, or skin cancer: Since the feet are covered up most of the time, they are often overlooked when screening for skin cancer. In addition to the harsh rays of the sun, skin cancer can develop from factors such as exposure to chemicals or radiation, a history of skin cancer in the family or in the individual on other parts of the body, and skin that is susceptible to moles. As spots or growths crop up on the skin or change shape or color, they should be immediately checked by a doctor, no matter where they appear on the body.

Precancerous lesions can be removed before they turn cancerous. With skin cancer, early detection is crucial for curing it. Malignant melanomas make up over 60% of deaths due to skin cancer, even though this type of cancer is accountable for only one percent of all skin cancers. About three percent of melanomas form on the feet.

Neoplastic disorders: Neoplastic disorders are benign or malignant neoplasms or tumors that develop from abnormal tissue growth.

Osteochondromas: Osteochondromas occur underneath the toenail when benign bone tumors form in that area, typically after injury. Most common in children and young adults, osteochondromas account for approximately 50% of all benign bone tumors. Most of the time, osteochondromas do not cause pain; however, discomfort can result if they irritate surrounding tissue. If osteochondromas deform the toenail or cause it to become ingrown, they can be surgically removed. Osteochondromas can become a recurring condition and on rare occasion, can become malignant.

Plantar fibroma: Plantar fibromas, or tumors, grow on the plantar, or bottom surface of the foot, in the same area of the foot where plantar warts develop. They are benign tumors that form in the tissue of the plantar fascia, whereas plantar warts form on the skin. Plantar fibromas that worsen or become painful may be surgically removed.