order to keep your feet healthy, you should be familiar with
the most common ills and problems that affect them. Following
are the common foot problems.
Athlete's foot is a skin disease,
usually starting between the toes or on the bottom of the
feet, which can spread to other parts of the body. It is caused
by a fungus, which most commonly attacks the feet because
the wearing of shoes and hosiery fosters fungus growth. The
signs of athlete's foot are dry scaly skin, itching, inflammation,
and blisters. You can help prevent infection by washing your
feet daily with soap and warm water; drying carefully, especially
between the toes; and changing shoes and socks regularly to
Blisters are caused by skin
friction and wearing bad fitting shoes. Don't pop them. Apply
a Band-Aid over a blister, and leave it on until it falls
off naturally in the bath or shower. Keep your feet dry and
always wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes.
If a blister breaks on its own, wash the area, apply an antiseptic,
and cover with a sterile bandage.
Corns and calluses are protective
layers of compacted, dead skin cells. A corn is simply made
up of hard skin that occurs over a bony prominence such as
a joint. They are caused by repeated friction and pressure
from skin rubbing against bony areas or against an irregularity
in a shoe. Corns ordinarily form on the toes and calluses
on the soles of the feet. The friction and pressure can burn
or otherwise be painful and may be relieved by moleskin on
the affected areas. Never cut corns or calluses with any instrument,
and never apply home remedies, except under a podiatrist's
Foot odor results from excessive
perspiration from the more than 250,000 sweat glands in the
foot. Daily hygiene is essential. Change your shoes daily
to let each pair air out, and change your socks, perhaps even
more frequently than daily. Foot powders and antiperspirants,
and soaking in vinegar and water, can help lessen odor. For
minor problems wash feet morning and evening in warm, soapy
water, and then dry thoroughly. You can also use an antibacterial
wash, which helps deal with foot odour, too. Then apply surgical
spirit and dust the feet with talc. Going barefoot whenever
you can will help, as will wearing open-toed sandals.
Heel pain can generally be traced
to faulty biomechanics, which place too much stress on the
heel bone or nerves in the area. Stress could result while
walking or jumping on hard surfaces, or from poorly made footwear.
Some general health conditions like arthritis, gout, and circulatory
problems, also cause heel pain.
Ingrown nails are nails whose
corners or sides dig painfully into the skin. They are frequently
caused by improper nail trimming, but also by shoe pressure,
injury, fungus infection, heredity, and poor foot structure.
Toenails should be trimmed straight across, slightly longer
than the end of the toe, with toenail clippers.
Neuromas are enlarged, benign
growths of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth
toes. They are caused by bones and other tissue rubbing against
and irritating the nerves, whose anatomy at that location
is unusual. Abnormal bone structure or pressure from ill-fitting
shoes also can create the condition, which can result in pain,
burning, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the
ball of the foot. Surgical removal of the growth is sometimes
Warts are caused by a virus,
which enters the skin through small cuts and infects the skin.
Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible
to warts than adults. Most warts are harmless and benign,
even though painful and unsightly. Warts often come from walking
barefooted on dirty surfaces or littered ground. There are
several simple surgical procedures, which your podiatric physician
might use to remove warts.