Are sore feet taking the spring out of your exercise routine? Corns, calluses and ingrown toenails putting a damper on those dogs? Chronic foot problems are not normal. They can hamper your springtime activities and, if left untreated, cause more severe joint and back problems.
Here are some common foot problems and remedies from the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society to keep your feet happy this spring.
- Athlete’s Foot: If you notice peeling, cracking and scaly skin between your toes, chances are you have athlete’s foot. Caused by fungi that thrive in heat and moisture, athlete’s foot is best treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal powders or creams, good hygiene and keeping your feet dry.
- Ingrown Toenails: This painful condition happens when the corners of your toenails literally grow into the skin of your toes, usually your big toes. To prevent ingrown toenails, be sure to cut your toenails straight across (no rounded corners). If you develop an infection from an ingrown toenail, soak the affected foot in warm, sudsy water several times a day and gently nudge the toenail out of the bed. If this doesn’t help, contact your physician.
More than one-third of American women develop bunions from wearing high heels that are too tight.
- Corns and Calluses: These hard, rough patches of skin form on toes or the soles of your feet when you wear shoes that are too tight or too loose. Corns and calluses can be a nuisance and, if left untreated, can hurt and become infected. Soak your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath and use a pumice stone to gently rub the area. Never pull or cut a corn or callus, and avoid using harsh chemicals, since that may cause a serious infection. If home remedies don’t help, contact your physician.
- Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain): If you run on hard surfaces, you can irritate the tissue connecting the heel of your foot with the base of your toes. You feel the pain of plantar fasciitis in your heel. If left untreated, the initial mild pain can become acute, especially if you develop a heel spur. The best treatment is rest, medication to reduce swelling, and putting a heel pad in your shoe. Contact your physician, who can also recommend exercises to reduce your symptoms.
- Bunions: More than one-third of American women develop bunions from wearing high heels that are too tight. Large, swollen and often sore, these bumps form at the base and side of your big toe. Most bunions can be treated without surgery by switching to shoes that fit well with heels that are no higher than 2 ¼ inches. If you have a painful bunion that is making it difficult for you to walk, contact your physician, who may prescribe surgery.