Paying attention to adequate foot health is vital to maintaining your precious body’s overall wellness. Listen carefully, your feet may be attempting to tell you something. When our feet hurt, or develop problems, it’s their way of sending us a message about our lifestyle choices. It’s important to pay close attention to our feet; they are constantly working to give us clues about our health. Here’s some helpful advice if you are experiencing any of the following foot problems:
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory process of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue on the sole or bottom surface of the foot.
Reason: Causes include excessive weight gain resulting in pain on the bottom of the heel or in the arch. Symptoms may also be caused by bony overgrowth on the heel, muscle imbalance, improper shoe gear, high or low arched feet, excessive activity and/or trauma.
Remedy: Exercise and stretch feet daily and wear strong and supportive shoes that don’t put undue stress on the ball or heel. Visit a podiatrist who can examine and see if medications or orthotics are necessary.
A bunion (hallux valgus) is a common deformity characterized by a lateral deviation of the great toe. It is often erroneously described as an enlargement of tissue or bone around the joint of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). When the great toe (hallux) turns in toward the second toe, the tissues surrounding the joint can become tender and swollen.
Reason: A bump at the base of the big toe that is swollen, tender or painful when in the shoe, often caused by misalignment of the joints. Ill-fitting shoes, trauma, biomedical abnormalities, heredity, inflammatory joint disease, congenital deformities or arthritis can also be the main culprits.
Remedy: Avoid pointy and narrow shoes or shoes with stitching or seams that rub bony areas of the foot. If painful, bunions can be surgically removed by a podiatrist.
Tendonitis may occur in the tendons around the ankle joint causing ankle pain. Tendonitis occurs when the attachments of muscles to the bone, the tendons, become inflamed and irritated.
Reason: Overuse of the feet due to increase in physical activity, such as an increase in walking times or distances. This condition may also be caused by wearing improperly-fitted or worn-out shoes.
Remedy: Rest and ice provide fast relief, however in some cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or supports may need to be prescribed. Bio-Freeze (APMA Approved) is the industry’s most commonly used topical pain relieving gel. Ask a podiatrist if this is treatment is needed.
A fungal nail infection can occur when a fungus attacks the toenail, or the nail bed (the skin under the nail). Fungi can attack your nails via small cuts in the skin around your nail.
Reason: Infection or trauma to the nail that makes it discolored, thickened, loose or deformed. This is often caused by a spread of athlete’s foot, but can also be an indication of conditions such as arthritis or diabetes.
Remedy: Visit a podiatrist to prescribe the medication and treatment that will effectively and safely treat the problem. Lamasil tablets and Keralac Gel have proved effective in combating this problem.
Blisters are most commonly caused by friction from shoes that don’t fit correctly.
Remedy: Keep your feet dry and wear socks and properly-fitted shoes. Don’t ever pop a blister. If it’s painful, gently open a corner of the blister with a sterilized instrument, like a sewing needle, drain and apply antibiotic cream and a bandage.
Bromohidrosis (Foot Odor)
Plantar Bromhidrosis (Excessive Foot Odor) occurring from the combination of bacteria and excessive foot sweating is a common issue for many people.
Reason: Increased perspiration due to increased body temperature. Results in smelly, sweaty feet that do not itch or appear to have a rash.
Remedy: Rub cornstarch or spray antiperspirant directly onto the soles of the feet and spray Lysol into shoes. Keep shoes and socks dry and change shoes regularly. Wear socks that wick away moisture.
Ingrown toenails are a common problem affecting the big toenail. They are caused by a sideways growth of the nail edge into the skin of the toe. This abnormal extension of the toenail pushes into the skin causing continuous discomfort. Normal toenail growth should be outward toward the tip of the toe.
Reason: Too much pressure on feet in tight-fitting shoes or improper trimming resulting in redness, swelling or pain around the nail. This issue can also result from heredity, trauma, poor foot structure or foot deformities.
Remedy: Don’t ever use nail polish to cover over discoloration. Visit a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem to see what treatment may be necessary. Avoid tight-fitting shoes and socks and inspect nails daily. Be sure to trim nails straight across using toenail clipper, making sure not to round edges.