We depend upon our feet for so much in our daily lives, and yet quite often we take common foot problems for granted to the extent that sometimes we fail to realize that we’re mistreating them.
It’s not until a painful or unsightly foot disease appears that we realize the importance of proper foot care. Foot problems can arise for a number of reasons, but the commonest are fairly easy to treat and can be avoided altogether if a little essential foot care is taken. Here are five everyday foot problems and the best ways of dealing with them.
5 Common Foot Problems
A corn is an area of inflamed and hardened skin which usually forms on the bonier parts of the foot and is caused by a combination of friction and pressure, often the result of poorly-fitting or tight shoes and can cause really sore feet.
Corns, which are clearly identifiable by a pale center surrounded by hard white skin, can be extremely painful and may be susceptible to infection if left untreated. Under no circumstances should you try to cut out a corn yourself; if this is necessary consult your GP. There are over-the-counter treatments for corns, but you may also relieve the pressure by soaking your foot in warm water for half an hour to soften the skin and the gently abrading the corn with a pumice stone.
Investment in a pair of shoes with soft uppers will also relieve pressure whilst the corn is healing.
If the big toe of either foot is pushed in towards the second toe over time, a bunion may develop at the base of the big toe on the outer side of the foot. This is more common foot problems in women due to tight fitting high healed shoes.
Whilst there is evidence to suggest that in some cases a tendency for bunions may be inherited, these painful foot problems and bony protrusions can also result from shoes that constrict the toes, forcing them together.
A bunion can be recognized by a swelling on the side of the foot which may become red, inflamed and tender, accompanied by stiffness in the joint at the base of the affected big toe.
Prevention of bunions is preferable to curing them, which requires an operation. Bunions can be avoided by wearing shoes that are sufficiently wide enough to accommodate your toes without them rubbing together. High heels can encourage and aggravate bunions, whilst shoes that have cushioned ‘shock absorbing’ are beneficial.
Once again, tight fitting shoes can be to blame for another of the common toe problems; ingrowing toenails, although they are also associated with cutting toenails too short or cutting rounded edges rather than straight across the toenail.
As the name suggests, an ingrowing toenail grows into the flesh at the side of the nail bed and can become extremely painful and possibly infected. Besides the obvious discomfort, an ingrowing toenail will be identifiable by a redness and swelling in the flesh of the affected toe and an accompanying fluid discharge if the wound is infected.
Caught early enough an ingrowing toenail can be remedied at home by soaking the foot in warm water each day and gently pushing back the flesh of the toe from the toenail with a cotton bud. This will gradually allow the toenail to grow clear of the flesh at which point it can be cut properly.
More severe cases will require the attention of a chiropodist or surgeon to remove the part of the nail that is ingrowing. Ingrowing toenails can be avoided by cutting toenails straight across, by ensuring feet are kept clean and dry and by wearing correctly-fitting and comfortable shoes.
Fungal or Bacterial Growth Foot Problems
Fungi and bacteria thrive in the kind of warm, moist environment in which our feet spend much of their lives.
The symptoms of a fungal or bacterial foot disease may include dry, flaking skin, redness and inflammation, blistering, itching and really sore feet.
Common afflictions such as athlete’s foot can be successfully treated with home remedies for athletes foot, but it is important that fungal or bacterial foot problems are dealt with as soon as they arise – if ignored these types of foot problems can become untreatable and recurrent.
See our page on toenail fungus home remedies. Ensuring that feet are properly cleaned and thoroughly dried – particularly between the toes, wearing natural fiber rather than synthetic socks and applying foot powder can all prevent the onset of fungal or bacterial foot complaints.
A verruca is simply a Plantar Fascia wart that forms on the sole of the foot. Although commonly associated with childhood, a verruca is the result of an infection in skin cells which can be acquired at any age and are another of the common foot problems many people suffer from.
Verrucas appear as round white patches of skin with a black central core. They can become painful as a result of pressure from body weight, and are best treated as soon as they start to cause you sore feet. Although verrucas are commonly self-healing there is a range of freely available home treatments for them.
Since the virus that causes verrucas is commonly picked up and spread as a result of walking barefoot through communal areas such as sports changing rooms, swimming baths, spas and gymnasium the best way of preventing them is to wear flip-flops or foam shoes whenever walking in these areas.
One way to look after your feet is to wear footwear that breath. My Amazing Shoes are retailers of Crocs such as Crocs Specialist shoes.