Foot Health Month 2018
5 COMMON FOOT PROBLEMS
June 2018 is Foot Health Month, so what better time than now to really look after your feet. At StEPS Podiatry, we believe that looking after your feet should be part of everyone’s health regime and just like going to the dentist for regular check-ups, we should all do the same for our feet…it’s true…prevention is better than cure!
So here’s a little bit about the 5 most common foot problems that we see in our clinics and what you can do about them!
1. Ageing feet
As we age, we develop more problems with the feet – it’s natural! It’s important to understand that the feet are weight bearing structures - they are carrying the weight of the body around every day. Compare the size of the joints in your feet to those of the knee and hip... they are much smaller! So, it is only natural that over time, with age, your feet will become sore, and you may start to get problems. This is the same with toenail problems.... our nails typically start to thicken and become harder with age - this is no different from starting to get a grey hair!
Signs of ageing feet are more common in those over 50 years of age. You may experience aches and pains that you didn’t have before or develop bunions. It’s a good idea to visit a podiatrist when you begin to experience any problems as there are lots of treatments and advice that can help these conditions and improve your level of comfort.
2. Ingrowing Toenails
An ingrowing toenail develops when the side of a toenail cuts through the flesh of your toe. This causes the skin to become red, inflamed and sore. Anyone can get an ingrown toenail but those most at risk are people who play sports – due to moist, sweaty feet, and also those who cut their toenails too short or leave small spikes of toenail at the side of the nails.
The best ways to avoid an ingrowing toenail is to cut the nails straight across instead of on a curve. Cutting the nails after a bath or shower, when the nails are softer is best. Also, varying your footwear can help, ensuring that the shoes and socks fit well.
3. Heel Pain
When pain develops in the heel area of the foot, it can be extremely debilitating and uncomfortable. It can affect the way you walk and stand. The most common cause of heel pain is a condition called plantar fasciitis (aka Heel Spur Syndrome). Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the broad band of fibrous tissue that runs along the sole of the foot. When the plantar is stretched, it causes that tissue to tear away from the heel bone and become inflamed and swollen.
Plantar Fasciitis can affect anyone at any age, but it’s most common in those in their 40’s or in athletes. Visiting a podiatrist is recommended to have an assessment of the biomechanical structure of the lower body. A prescription foot orthoses (special insole) may be advised. At home, we advise that you try to avoid walking or exercising on hard ground; wear good fitting shoes and do regular calf stretches to loosen the Achilles tendon.
Corns are hard, thick areas of skin, caused by rubbing or pressure on the skin. Anyone can be affected by corns, however the main cause is badly fitting footwear or a biomechanical abnormality.
Corns can easily be removed by a podiatrist or our recommended home care advice is to gently rub the area with a foot file whilst the feet are wet. A good emollient or moisturiser can also help to keep the skin supple and soft. People with diabetes shouldn’t use corn plasters and should speak to their podiatrist for professional advice.
Bunions are a bony lump on the side of the foot at the bottom joint of the big toe. The big toe tends to push towards the second toe and the skin over the bump can often become red and inflamed. Anyone can get a bunion, however, women tend to more prone to them than men.
Bunions can often be very painful, so here are some tips to help relieve the pain:
- Wear wide fitting shoes to reduce any pressure on the sides of the feet
- Reduce how regular you wear high heeled shoes or avoid if possible
- If you can’t avoid high heeled shoes, reduce the height of the heel to 4cm or less
- Wear a shoe with laces or a strap to help support the foot
- If the skin over the bunion becomes very red or inflamed, see your podiatrist
If you are experiencing any of the above foot problems, we’re here to help. Speak to one of our expert team for individual advice. We promise you’ll be walking on air in no time! Call 01292 737350.