Most of us take our feet for granted, and it’s not until we have a problem that we realise just how much time we spend each day standing or walking. Some foot problems are unavoidable; we can’t guarantee that we’ll never drop a heavy can of soup on our toe or that we won’t break a bone falling over. There are however some more common types of foot complaint which we cause through wearing incorrectly fitted shoes or just not looking after our feet properly, and the warning signs are easy to look out for.
Corns and Hard Skin
A corn is the name given to any sort of hard piece of skin on the foot. Corns form where there is most pressure, so on the heel, sides of the toes or ball of the foot. If you leave the hard skin alone you run the risk of it cracking or splitting, which can be extremely painful.
Corns can be made worse by wearing tightly-fitted shoes which rub. Hard skin can be dealt with by using a pumice stone or special foot file, and then using plenty of moisturizer. If you are prone to hard skin forming, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of spending a few minutes each week filing and moisturizing your feet. Corns can be softened with special plasters and keeping skin supple will help prevent them from returning too.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection which can affect anyone of any age. It is very easy to get rid of using special cream, but it can be hard to stop it coming back if you are prone to it. The key to preventing athlete’s foot is keeping the skin as dry as possible, so avoid wearing shoes and socks in the house, and made sure you dry your feet properly every time you have a bath or shower, paying particular attention to the skin between your toes. It is also important to wash your socks and trainers properly to get rid of any fungus spores.
One of the major problems caused by wearing shoes which are too tight is bunions. There is thought to be a genetic link to developing bunion, but shoes which are too tight can cause a bunion too, which is swelling around the joint of the big toe. There is no need to swap your Jimmy Choos for Levis boots on a permanent basis, but if you often wear tightly fitting shoes and find your toes are painful or joints are starting to swell, it’s a good idea to go barefoot around the house or swap to those Levis boots in the evening or weekends.
Veruccas are just warts which grow on your feet and they can be transferred from person to person. Veruccas can be treated easily with ointment or cream, and following good hygiene will ensure you don’t pass them on to anyone else. If you have lots of veruccas, see your doctor as surgical removal may be the best option.