As you can probably imagine, your feet are exposed to a considerable amount of aggravation and abuse just from activities such as walking and running. Add to that uncomfortable or wrong-size footwear, and your feet can suffer from various types of damage that can lead to different foot issues and deformities. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of common foot problems so that you can do your best to prevent them or at least treat them properly.
1. Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is a condition caused by a fungus that can lead to itching, cracked skin on heels and toes, blistering and sometimes even pain. All in all, this problem can be very uncomfortable. In general, this particular fungus likes warm and damp environments which is why the most common sources of the problem come from unbreathable footwear, gym and pool.
In order to deal with this problem effectively before it starts spreading to other areas of the body, you can get antifungal sprays and lotions in a drugstore. To prevent it, look for breathable socks and footwear, and dry your feet with a separate towel. But in case the condition only worsens and you can’t manage it on your own, seek medical help.
2. Bunions aka hallux valgus
Essentially, bunions are large bumps that can form on the large toe joint. Most commonly, these are caused by uncomfortable and narrow footwear, but the cause could also be rheumatoid arthritis. Bunion leads to the big toe curving inwards a bit. The condition also involves various types of discomfort such as pain when walking, difficulty moving the big toe as well as frequent formation of corns and calluses.
If you want to avoid bunions, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes and avoid really high heels. Women used to get these more often than men but narrow footwear is now all too common for everyone. Therefore, men can also find footwear to help prevent this problem, such as comfy men’s Birkenstocks. In case you already have this issue, you can get shoe bunion pads for pressure relief, apply ice-packs to reduce inflammation or opt for custom-made shoe inserts. Ultimately, if nothing seems to help, surgery might be a plausible solution.
3. Diabetic neuropathy
Due to blood sugar fluctuations, people with diabetes are more prone to various health conditions all sorted under the name of diabetic neuropathy, which can cause feet damage. Basically, high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage in feet. Common symptoms include tingling, numbness and pain, but even wound formation is possible. Obviously, the best way to fight this is to control one’s blood sugar and otherwise maintain good health. Even though nerve damage cannot be reversed, the condition doesn’t have to worsen either. In case you have diabetes, go to regular foot checkups as a prevention.
4. Ingrown toenails
This is a very painful condition that occurs when the nail starts to grow into the nail groove. Cutting the toenails too short, foot trauma as well as wearing ill-fitted shoes can all be causes for ingrown toenails. As mentioned, the condition is painful and often accompanied by redness and swelling, and sometimes even infection with drainage. A podiatrist can effectively deal with this unpleasant issue but if you want to prevent it from occurring, you should wear shoes that fit properly, wash your feet with antibacterial soap and cut your toenails straight (not rounded!) after a shower/bath.
Corns are basically concentrated areas of thickened skin, usually occurring on the toes or soles of the feet. When they first appear, they’re usually painless, but if left untreated for a while they can start causing significant discomfort and pain. Essentially, these occur in the areas where your skin could suffer from blisters as a way of protecting it. This is why the best way to prevent corns (and blisters) is not to wear ill-fitted and narrow footwear. In case you already have a corn on your feet, you can get a corn plaster to protect it until it heals, or get it professionally removed by a doctor.
Your feet are bound to suffer damage from all the walking, which is precisely why you should treat them with care. The best thing you can do for yourself is wear comfortable shoes that fit properly, so start with that first.