Human feet are arguably the most overworked part of the human body, and sore feet at the end of the day aren't uncommon. When they seem to be causing pain more frequently, though, it's time to visit the podiatrist to see what's going on. Here are two conditions that can cause pain in the feet.
Most people think of athlete's foot as just a common, irritating skin rash between the toes, but athlete's foot can actually cause more severe symptoms in some people. Caused by the fungus Trichophyton, athlete's foot is often seen in people who frequent gyms or saunas. The moist, warm environment provides ideal growing conditions for the fungus. The typical symptoms include dry, itchy skin, a burning sensation, and redness, which are usually more annoying than painful.
However, if the feet are severely dry, this can cause painful cracks in the skin, leading to oozing blisters. The cracks can also open the foot to secondary bacterial infections, causing pain on the sides and soles of the feet as well. Cellulitis, which happens when bacteria gets deep into the skin, is a serious, potentially life threatening condition.
If you have athlete's foot that isn't being helped by over-the-counter medications and seems to be getting worse, the podiatrist can prescribe an oral anti-fungal to help get it under control.
This condition is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can affect any joint, but it most commonly affects the big toe. It is caused by an overproduction of uric acid or the body's failure to excrete it. This forms uric acid crystals that settle in the joints. These crystals are akin to shards of glass. They can be incredibly painful, giving the sensation that the foot is on fire. Something as simple as having a sheet draped over your foot can cause agonizing pain if you have gout. While the condition is more common in men, it can affect anyone who drinks alcohol to excess, is overweight, post-menopausal, or eats a diet rich in purines, found in red meat and seafood. Attacks can be managed with anti-inflammatory medications, but they may recur if the underlying causes aren't addressed. The uric acid crystals will continue to cause joint damage even if the pain is no longer present, as well. A podiatrist who specializes in rheumatology, the study of arthritis and other joint-related ailments, as well as a nutritionist should be consulted if you suffer attacks of gout.