Please enable JavaScript to access this page. Medicine And Fitness: The Truth About Navicular Pain

The Truth About Navicular Pain

By Mattie Knight

There is bone in both the wrist and the ankle that has the shape of a boat. This is called a navicular bone. Approximately two to 15 percent of the general population have an extra one of these bones; it is called an accessory bone. It may also be present in horses, where it can cause lameness. While the accessory bone generally does not produce symptoms in humans, when there is something wrong with it, it can cause navicular pain. Apart from pain, the accessory bone may cause plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and bunions.

Foot specialists in the medical world are known as podiatrists. Older practitioners may call themselves chiropodists. In European countries where English is not the first language, doctors who specialize in problems with the foot are called podologists or podologos. Down Under, in Australia, they are known as podiatric physicians or podiatric surgeons.

Podiatrists also take care of the leg as well as the feet. Training in medical school to become a foot doctor is arduous and comprehensive. The curriculum embraces topics such as genetics, biomechanics, microbiology, physical rehabilitation, biochemistry, pharmacology, sports medicine, orthopedic surgery, and women's health in addition to basic anatomy and physiology.

Probably the commonest reason why someone would walk (or be carried) into a chiropodist's office is for a broken toe. This can be caused in a single catastrophic event like something being dropped on the foot, or it may happen over time with repeated insults to the same area of the toe. Podiatrists see a lot of construction workers, ballet dancers and people who just trip over their own feet. Other symptoms of a broken phelange are swelling, stiffness, bruising and difficulty walking.

Typically, a broken toe will mend within a few weeks. Immediate first aid procedures are to raise the foot, pack it with ice and instruct the patient to sit and rest. Being waited on like a prince or princess is small compensation for pain and loss of mobility.

A broken toe is annoying, painful and can even be debilitating. Other, less serious, foot conditions include gout, ingrown toenails, corns or athlete's foot. Ingrowing toenails are a consequence of wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe area. Common sense and comfort are sacrificed for the sake of fashion. Ultimately, an ingrown toenail may be so deep and painful that surgery is required. Athlete's foot is characterized by a dry, red rash on the skin between the toes. This condition may be avoided by staying away from communal shower rooms and swimming pools, where feet congregate with shallow water.

For some reason, many of us take our feet for granted and don't give them the proper care and attention that they deserve. This may be because of embarrassment. At the other extreme are foot fetishists, who are lovingly obsessed with feet.

Pain in the foot shows up in the face, no matter what we do. Many of the facial expressions on people in paintings by Toulouse Latrec look like they belong to people with painful fet. It is the kind of pain that cannot be masked by makeup. For a happy face, make sure you have happy feet!

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