We rely on our feet to carry us around and bear our body weight. We walk more than 70,000 miles on our feet before we are 50. So why do we neglect them so much?
If you're like the majority of people, you don't pay much attention to your feet until there's a problem. Your feet are under a lot of pressure, so it's not surprising that issues can develop. Causes of these issues can range from wear and tear to injury and even infection. No one is safe from common foot problems, and as you get older, your chances of encountering them may increase.
In this article, we'll look at five of the most common foot issues and different ways to prevent and treat them so you can get back to enjoying your daily walks and everyday life.
The name of this foot ailment can be misleading, but don't let it fool you. This condition is not exclusive to just athletes. It's a contagious fungus infection that can develop in athletes and non-athletes alike, especially those who live in hot and humid weather. Athlete's foot often presents as redness and white scaling between the toes or the bottom of the feet and can happen when feet are damp or sweaty for long periods of time. Athlete's foot can cause pain, itching, and odor, and can spread to other parts of the body if it's left untreated. Luckily, over-the-counter antifungal ointments and sprays can treat mild cases. Soaking the feet in salt water can sometimes help, too. However, if your condition of athlete's foot is too severe, we recommend visiting a podiatrist and getting prescribed medication. You can prevent athlete's foot by keeping your feet dry and clean, and if they do get sweaty, by changing your socks regularly.
A bunion appears as protruding bone or bump on the base of the big toe and happens when the joint moves out of place, resulting in the big toe pointing in toward the other toes. It can result from too much pressure, inflammatory joint diseases, trauma, congenital deformities, hereditary reasons, and tight shoes. Its symptoms include redness and swelling, and it causes immense pain when you wear shoes.
To treat a bunion, you should switch to more comfortable shoes and avoid high heels. Putting an ice pack on the affected toe can help with the swelling, and over-the-counter pain medication can provide some relief. If the pain is persistent, you should visit a podiatrist who might recommend anti-inflammatory medications and special orthopedic shoes designed for different foot conditions. If these options fail, the doctor might suggest surgery. To avoid bunion in the first place, avoid wearing ill-fitted shoes and try to protect your toes from injuries.
Plantar fasciitis (also known as heel spur syndrome) is a foot issue that runs along the heel. It occurs due to inflammation or straining of the fibrous connective tissue, also known as fascia. This tissue connects the heel bone to the toes, and when injured, it can make walking very difficult. Since walking is one of the five ways that improve circulation, you must be cautious and avoid this condition. Improper shoes, walking barefoot on hard surfaces, and even factors like obesity can lead to plantar fasciitis and cause discomfort at the bottom of the feet.
You can relieve the pain by doing some stretches, applying ice packs to the area, and getting much-needed rest. If these things fail to work, you can resort to your podiatrist. They may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or shoes or shoe inserts made specifically for the condition.
To avoid plantar fasciitis from happening, try to maintain a healthy weight and look for sustainable foot care products that will protect your feet efficiently.
Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin on the feet. Both of these foot issues occur from excess friction and constant pressure. While corns appear on top of the foot and on bony areas like toe joints, calluses appear near the bottom of the foot.
In mild cases, you can leave corns and calluses to heal on their own by changing your shoes and applying moisturizer. In more severe cases, you can minimize discomfort by visiting a podiatrist who can help with softening and shrinking the corn or callus. To avoid corns and calluses altogether, you should wear the correct type of shoes.
Ingrown toenails are the last type of foot issue on our list and one condition that many people have experienced. Ingrown toenails appear when the corners of your toenails dig deep into your skin. They typically result from ill-fitting shoes, bad nail trimming, or daily activities like running. They can be very uncomfortable and can lead to swelling, pain, and even infection. If an infection does occur, you should keep the area clean with antibacterial soap and make an appointment with a podiatrist, who can remove the ingrown nail and prescribe any necessary medication. To keep ingrown toenails from developing, switch to shoes with a better fit and trim your nails in a straight line.
Caring for your feet can sometimes become more difficult as you age, and when these conditions occur, they can often be treated at home or by seeing a podiatrist. But if you've noticed, proper footwear is the most common treatment for many foot issues! A good pair of shoes can even help your stance and fix bad posture. It's much easier to avoid these conditions in the first place by wearing proper shoes, preventing injuries, and protecting your feet—they're the pillars of your body, so take extra care of them and give them the respect they deserve!