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Effective Treatments for Common Foot Problems

The team at Durham Family Footcare Clinic & Wellness Centre has over 30 years’ experience treating a variety of common foot ailments. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet, make an appointment to see us today .


A bony enlargement at the base of the big toe due to misalignment of the joint. It can become swollen and tender, and made more painful by wearing shoes.

Causes : Heredity, biomechanical abnormalities, neuromuscular disorders, arthritis, trauma, congenital deformities.

What we can do : Options for treatment include a physical exam of the foot, X-ray evaluation, padding or taping, prescription orthotics, or surgery, as indicated.


Corns and Calluses

A callus or corn is a build-up of skin that forms at points of pressure or over bony prominences. Calluses form on the bottom side of the foot, while corns form on the top of the foot and between the toes.

Causes : Repeated friction and pressure from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity in a shoe, as well as hereditary disorders.

What we can do : Options for treatment include physical examination, X-ray evaluation, trimming or padding of the lesions, and surgery as needed.



Often referred to as a “pinched nerve”, a neuroma is a painful condition cause by the benign growth of nerve tissue typically found between the third and fourth toes. Patients with neuroma can experience pain, burning, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.

Causes : Improper or ill-fitting shoes, trauma, high heeled shoes, heredity.

What we can do : Options for treatment include physical examination, X-ray evaluation to rule out other causes, padding and taping, custom orthotics, inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, or surgery as needed.


Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is the result of inflammation of the connective tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot, while heel spur syndrome is a boney overgrowth on the heel bone. Both of these conditions tend to affect more women than men.

Causes : Stretching of the long band of tissue connecting the heel and ball of the foot, muscle imbalance, bone deformity, obesity, trauma, tightness of muscles in the back of the leg.

What we can do : Options for treatment include physical examination, X-ray evaluation, taping, prescription orthotics, prescription medication, and injections or surgery as determined by your foot care physician.


plantar Warts

Warts are caused by a virus which can invade the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. Once they develop, warts can be painful. Children, especially teenagers, are more susceptible to warts than adults. Plantar warts are a viral infection often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered ground. As the virus thrives in warm, moist, environments, communal bathing facilities are common sources of infection. Warts are highly contagious, spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart.

Known issues : Though they can be painful, most warts are harmless. Rarely, other more serious legions can appear on the foot, such as melanomas, and be misidentified as warts. Plantar warts are typically hard and flat with a rough surface and well-defined borders. Consult your foot care physician as soon as you notice any suspicious growth or eruption on your feet.

What you can do

  • Avoid walking barefoot, except on sandy beaches
  • Change shoes and socks daily
  • Keep feet clean and dry
  • Check children’s feet periodically
  • Avoid direct contact with warts from other persons or from other parts of the body
  • Do not ignore growths on, or changes in, your skin
  • Visit your podiatric physician as part of your annual health checkup

Self-treatment is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter preparations contain acids or chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells (warts) without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. Self-treatment with such medications should be avoided especially by people with diabetes and those with cardiovascular or circulatory disorders. NEVER use them in the presence of an active infection.

What we can do : Options for treatment include prescribed and supervised us of a wart removal preparation, simple surgery with local anesthetic, laser surgery with local anesthetic.

Nail Fungus

This chronic condition is an infection characterized by discolouration, thickening, scaling, and/or detachment of the nail plate from the nail bed. In addition to pain and discomfort, many patients will also have concerns about the cosmetic appearance of the nail(s).

What we can do : When a fungal nail is diagnosed it should be treated with appropriate drug regimens to achieve a cure, whether topically (cream, soaks, or nail lacquer) for the mild to moderate conditions, or orally for moderate to severe nail conditions. Your podiatrist will choose the proper treatment for you.


Athlete’s Foot

A common infection of the skin, athlete’s foot is characterized by itching, scaling, redness, and the formation of small blisters. It typically starts between the toes, extending to the borders and bottom of the foot. The fungus has the potential to spread to the toenails, causing them to become thickened, discolored and painful, at which point the infection is called onychomycosis. Despite the name of this condition, it affects athletes and non-athletes alike.

Causes : The warm, dark, humid environment caused by footwear encourages fungal growth. Athlete’s foot can also be contracted in dressing rooms, hotel and locker room showers, swimming pool locker rooms, and other places where bare feet can come in contact with the fungus.

What you can do : Prevention starts with keeping your shoes and socks dry. Practise good foot hygiene including daily washing of your feet with soap and water, drying carefully and thoroughly, especially between the toes. Change your shoes regularly and wear breathable socks, ideally made of cotton or acrylic.

What we can do : Options for treatment include prescription of topical or oral anti-fungal medication, based on your podiatric physician’s assessment.


Flat Feet/Fallen Arches

Flat feet present as a structural deformity resulting in the lowering of the arch of the foot, known as fallen arches. This condition is usually due to hyperpronation, and is fairly painful. People with flat feet may experience other foot related problems such as ankle, knee, hip or lower back pain.

Causes : heredity, arthritis, trauma, and musculoskeletal disorders.

What you can do : Supportive shoes provide relief for those with flat feet.

What we can do
: Options for treatment include a physical exam and gait analysis, X-rays, and prescription custom orthotics. Surgical treatment options include an extensive flat foot reconstruction procedure or the use of a sinus tarsi titanium implant, i.e., HyProCure.


Hammer Toe

A contraction deformity resulting in a bony prominence on top of or in between the toes of the feet.

Causes : improper, ill-fitting or high heel shoes, trauma or heredity.

What you can do : Change to shoes with lower heels, wear supportive shoes with a roomy toe box, and soak and ice your toes.

What we can do : Options for treatment include physical exam, X-rays, padding and taping, prescription orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medication. Following your assessment, your physician may also recommend and administer cortisone injections, inject collagen filler, or perform surgery.


Achilles Tendonitis

People with this painful condition may experience irritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone.

Causes : This condition may occur in athletes who overtrain or don't do warm-up exercises, and in individuals who have had a sprain or strain while working or just going for a walk.

What you can do : Initially, it can be treated with ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication. When the pain becomes chronic it should be professionally evaluated.

What we can do : Options for treatment include stretching programs, ultrasound and laser therapies, cortisone injections, prescription anti-inflammatory medication, heel lifts, orthotics, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy.

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