Foot Problems and Remedies
CALLUSES or HARD FLESH
These can occur from rubbing, pressure or friction from badly fitting shoes or hosiery. This thick skin can become dry, scaly and crack. Some callus can be useful and need not necessarily be removed but if it is uncomfortable or cracked then it should be removed. It can be removed using a chiropody file, pumice stone or battery operated pedicare remover but always leave a little in the area otherwise the area under pressure can become sore, break down and turn into a wound. Remember it develops for a reason in the first place - protection. Keep CALLUS flesh moisturised using a urea-containing, water-based cream. Massage it deeply into the area. Urea-containing creams are available over the counter from 5% upwards
CORNS are the point of greatest pressure within the callus. They are not infectious but simply a focused collection of skin. They can be hard or soft in nature. They can be singular or multiple in presentation. Hard corns can occur anywhere but soft corns are usually to be found between the toes. Corns are surgically removed and advice on shoes and gait can help to prevent their reoccurrence. Regular use of a urea-containing cream, as above, avoidance of pressure on the area and advice on stance and gait can eliminate chronic corns but patience and perseverance with treatment - which can be self-administered - are essential to prevent recurrence. Corn removal plasters can be used but as they contain salicylic acid caution has to be employed in their use in order to prevent tissue breakdown and possible serious complications especially when the sufferer has diabetes
BUNIONS are usually inherited but can be caused by inappropriate footwear. The big toe joint swells and the toe deviates towards the others. The swollen joint can become red and sore and a hole or sinus can develop into the joint which can have serious consequences. Protection of the joint, regular foot care and advice on gait and surgery, if necessary, are all appropriate remedies. Various joint protection devices are available but advice on the purchase and fitting of these should be sought by a professional prior to purchasing. No device will alter the joint deformity permanently which can only be achieved with the use of surgery.
VERRUCAE are warts caused by a virus. They can be painful if located on a pressure point but if not they should be left alone as the immune system will usually reject them especially in children. Treatment can be undertaken at home without involving great expense but it is advisable that this is commenced by a registered foot care practitioner or chiropodist. Verrucae often have a protective skin covering and if this is removed then the virus can be spread and cause cross infection. In these circumstances or in circumstances where this is likely to occur then covering is essential at any age. Covering need only be the use of a plaster or substantial tape especially with children where it is important not to have them stand out from the crowd as infectious.
ATHLETE'S FOOT is a contagious, fungal infection of the foot. The first signs are flaky, white skin between the toes and on the feet generally. Feet can become intensely itchy, mottled in appearance and softened. Commonly there are cracks between the 3/4th and 4/5th toes. To properly treat athlete's foot, make sure you dry your feet thoroughly. Give particular attention to the toes especially if you go swimming or attend a gym or other communal activity where the feet are undressed. If you acquire the infection treat your feet with an anti-fungal spray twice daily for one week and once a week thereafter if you are prone to suffering from the fungus. Remember to spray your shoes, slippers, garden shoes, wellingtons, trainers etc.....otherwise the fungus will lie in wait until you put your beautifully treated feet back into an infected environment. Make sure all socks, tights, towels are in a hot wash. Also, get rid of bath mats or change them daily. Adherence to this programme of treatment will break the infectious cycle, ensure comfort and keep you infection free.
INGROWN NAIL is a nail which grows into the flesh to the side of your toe. It can be inherited but can also be caused by wearing tight shoes or hosiery pushing down on the nail, day in and day out and so forcing it down into the toe flesh. A chiropodist is your first port of call in sorting our the problem and instructing you on future care which need not involve surgery. Future care can be well managed by the individual under the initial training by the chiropodist so that the individual can both avoid surgery and also remain independent with self-care. Local infection can occur and can be treated by your chiropodist without referral to a doctor.
Surgery is, of course, an acceptable option but often not necessary
CHILBLAINS are caused by exposure to cold. Keep warm when going out - wear 2 pairs of socks if you feel cold. Wear gloves. Do not warm your hands when you come in from the cold but let them warm up naturally. Calamine or Witch Hazel can be used to relieve the symptoms.
DIABETES is a disorder affecting carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetes sufferers are under the care of their GP, specialist nurse and endocrinologist. Your doctor will advise on your detailed care depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. ENSURE YOU HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE CONDITION. Chiropodists assist in the complete care of the sufferer. The blood supply in diabetes sufferers is often slower and more languid. The walls of the blood vessels of sufferers may undergo changes over time. The feet are the furthest from the heart (the blood pump) and depend on good quality blood vessels in order to maintain an efficient and thorough supply of oxygen and nutrients to your feet. The chiropodist will check for colour, trauma, absence of infection, nerve sensitivity and the general healthiness of the feet. Speak with the chiropodist or Foot Health Practitioner about the detail.
FINALLY, IF IN DOUBT ABOUT ANY FOOT CARE ISSUE THEN PHONE ME OR ANY HPC REGISTERED CHIROPODIST AND DISCUSS THE PROBLEM. WE ARE HERE TO ENSURE YOUR FOOT COMFORT AND HEALTH. BECOMING A CUSTOMER COMES LATER!
HAPPY FOOT CARING!