Tags: Bunions, Corns, Fallen Arches, Fungal Infection, Ingrown Toenails, Verruca
Here’s how you can easily fix six common foot problems
Statistics show that millions of women suffer problems with their feet, while one in five men suffer foot pain most days. Here’s the low-down on the most common foot problems and how to beat them.
#1 Corns and Calluses
Prevent it: Avoid shoes that are too tight or have very high heels, which compress areas or those that are too loose, as your foot will slide and rub. Remove hardened skin with a pumice stone or foot file. Never use anything that resembles a metal “cheese grater”! Moisturising your feet with a quality foot cream can help prevent corns and calluses.
Treat it: If the corn is very painful, see a foot health professional. They can remove the corns or, in more serious cases, may fit you for orthotic insoles that sit in your shoes and will correct any imbalance in the way you walk.
What are they? Painful bony swellings at the base of the big toe, which can be a result of shoes that cramp the feet. Bunions can run in families, so check-out your parents or grand-parents feet to see what your future may hold in store!
Prevent it: Make sure your shoes don’t squash your toes together there should be space between the tip of your toes and the end of the shoe. Avoid heels higher than two inches for long periods.
Treat it: You can buy gel pads that ease pressure on the big toe joint, along with orthotic insoles that help the feet work properly. In severe cases, surgery can remove swollen tissue and part of the bone.
What are they? Verrucae are warts caused by a viral infection and are found anywhere on the feet. Some can start as a small pink area with a few black dots, which develops into a larger, brown area with hardened skin, forming a mosaic verruca.
Prevent it: The virus thrives in areas such as swimming pools and communal showers, so it pays to always wear flip-flops until you’re in the water.
Treat it: If it is large or painful, a foot health professional can treat the area to eradicate the verruca. Treatments may include paring the wart to thin it and then carefully treating with caustics, acids and cryotherapy to freeze and kill the verrucae. Your foot health professional will normally have access to a wide range of professional products and treatment options that you may not be able to purchase from your local pharmacy.
#4 Fungal Skin & Nail Infection
Prevent it: Change your socks or hosiery daily, and don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row, so they can dry out. Wash all socks and hosiery at 50 degrees centigrade or above to kill fungal spores. Sandals also help as they allow air to circulate between the toes and allow sunlight to your skin and nails.
Treat it: Anti-fungal creams and powders are very effective for Athlete’s Foot. Occasionally dosing shoes and trainers with athletes foot powder will help kill any fungal spores living in your footwear. If the toenail is infected, see a foot health professional so they can file down the nail and prescribe a topical solution to fight the infection. PACT treatment can be highly effective.
#5 Fallen Arches
Prevent it: Avoid high heels for long periods. Because heels cause your tendons to tighten, your ankle can’t bend properly, and so the tendons in your foot arch try to compensate and can break or collapse.
Treat it: Pain relief and special orthotic insoles. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
What are they? When growing nails become painfully embedded in the skin at the sides.
Prevent it: Don’t cut your toenails too short and follow the outline of your toe and file away any sharp edges. Wear wide fitting shoes that don’t pinch your toes.
Treat it: Soaking feet in saltwater can prevent infection and reduce swelling. Wearing shoes with a wide toe-box will help prevent the toes being pinched and any ingrowing nail spike being pushed further into the skin. Visit your foot health professional for safe and effective removal of any ingrowing nail spike. A course of antibiotics may be required from your GP, but this will only treat the infection, not the cause – the nail spike which must be removed to avoid recurrence of the problem. Nail surgery to remove part or total nail under local anaesthetic may be an option which should be discussed with your foot care professional for a permanent solution to recurring ingrown and infected toenails.
Here at We Fix Feet, your local Podiatry and Foot Healthcare clinics, in Ilkeston, Beeston and Sheffield; we’re always here to help with our professional advice and treatments for these common foot conditions.