Just because your feet are usually hidden from view, that's no excuse for not taking good care
of them. Especially as you grow older, your feet become vulnerable to a variety of problems that
are easily treated if caught early, but become troublesome - even dangerous - if neglected. And if
you are diabetic, your feet need extra special attention.
If you have trouble with your feet, the chances are the problems are caused by one or more of the following:
|Thickened skin in spots
- After bathing, rub away calluses with a pumice stone, emery board, or washcloth. If you remove tough skin regularly, the skin won't get a chance to become callused. Do not practice "bathtub surgery"; cutting or shaving calluses yourself can lead to infection.
- Well-fitting footwear keep calluses from forming, and help keep them from coming back.
|Debris has collected beneath toenails;
nail colour has changed (to yellow or brown);
nail has thickened, turned clawlike (down-curved), or fissured
||Fungal infection (e.g., onychomycosis)
- See your doctor /podiatrist; you will probably need a prescription for medication such as terbinafine (Lamisil®) or itraconazole (Sporonax®).
|Pain between toes
- After bathing, rub away corns with a pumice stone or washcloth. Do not practice "bathtub surgery"; cutting or paring away corns yourself can lead to infection.
- Wear toe sleeves or toe spacers to relieve pain from corns.
- Well-fitting footwear keep corns from forming, and help prevent them from coming back.
|Foot pain, stiffness, swelling, and a grinding sensation, particularly after prolonged activity
- See your doctor; treatment plan may include medication, padding, specially molded inserts, or surgery.
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear, lose weight if necessary, and stay off your feet as much as possible.
|Joint of the big toe is red, swollen, and painful
- See your doctor.
- Ask your pharmacist about an over-the-counter analgesic, such as Motrin® or Advil®, to relieve pain and inflammation.
|Skin on feet, especially between toes, has turned white, is cracked, peeling, itchy
- Ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter antifungal medication (e.g., topical clotrimazole).
- If the condition persists, consult your doctor/podiatrist.
- Keep your feet clean and dry, wear roomy cotton socks, change them daily, and alternate shoes every other day.
||Hormones, fungi, bacteria
- Wash your feet more often.
- Ask your pharmacist about an over-the-counter antifungal foot powder and antiperspirant.
- If odour doesn't clear up, consult a podiatrist.
|Sore feet, especially the soles
- Ask your pharmacist about metatarsal pads to relieve pressure.
||Some people's feet sweat more than others
- Wear shoes that breathe (i.e., are made of leather or canvas - not synthetics). Sandals are good. Switch shoes from day to day to let them dry. Change socks and hosiery daily. Use a foot powder (talcum) or antiperspirant.
- If condition persists see your doctor/podiatrist.
|Warts on the soles of feet
- Ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments such as paint-on wart removers (e.g., Duofilm®, Wart-Off®, Compound W®). No "bathtub surgery".
- If wart resists treatment after 6 or 12 weeks, see your doctor/podiatrist. Treatment plan may include special dressing and medication or surgery (i.e., cryotherapy).
|Flat feet, hammertoes, foot injury, etc.
If you have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes,
your feet are more vulnerable to infections of all kinds: Consult your doctor about a specialized foot care plan.