Many common foot problems can cause discomfort and pain. If you are like many people you probably ignore your feet until you have an issue or injury. But your feet are important to overall health and activity. From athlete’s foot to plantar’s warts – there are many issues that can crop up with your feet. I know thinking about foot problems can be a bit gross, but it’s good to know how to treat these issues when they arise. So here are a few common foot problems and some proven treatments you can count on should you come down with any of these.
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5 Common Foot Problems
While there are many issues with feet, here are the 5 most common ones that pop up. These foot problems are experienced by people all across the world, and they’re not often talked about.
Classic Athlete’s Foot
The classic athlete’s foot we all think of is an itchy, often times painful, fungal infection of the skin on the foot. It’s most often contracted in communal areas like pools, showers, and changing rooms, and the warm, moist, dark environment of socks and shoes make for perfect breeding grounds. Like the name implies, athlete’s foot is most commonly contracted by athletes due to their frequenting of communal areas and perpetually sweaty feet.
To treat this form of athlete’s foot, wash the feet in the coldest water you can stand. After that dab dry the area. Don’t rub, as it can further irritate skin and also damage healing skin. Keep the feet as dry as possible. There are many powders on the market that you can use to kill the fungus and dry out the area.
One of the most common foot problems around is blisters. Blisters can be caused by so many things. Causes of blisters include poor-fitting shoes, excessive moisture, stiff shoes, wrinkled socks, or anything the rubs the foot in the same area repeatedly. All these causes boil down to one thing – friction. Blisters are more irritating than concerning – UNLESS you have diabetes. People with diabetes are already prone to extremity issues due to poor circulation, so something like a blister can actually be quite dangerous.
Treating blisters is mainly a matter of preventing them in the first place, and it’s actually very easy to do. Simply ensure your feet stay dry, wear socks and shoes that fit properly, and never ignore a sensation of repetitive rubbing on your feet. There are also a few great bandage type products that you can use to protect any vulnerable areas like ankles. I took some with me on my last trip to be sure I didn’t get blisters from new shoes.
INGROWN Toenails are my least favourite. This is a condition in which the toenail curls inward, piercing the skin and actually growing into the flesh of the toe. It most commonly occurs on the big toe, and can be caused by genetic factors as well as tight-fitting shoes. However, one of the major causes of ingrown toenails is cutting the nails too short, which can lead to the nails growing in an improper manner.
Like blisters, treating ingrown toenails is a matter of prevention. Never cut your nails extremely close to the quick, and cut them straight across, not curved at the edges. This will help prevent the toenail from taking a downward turn as it grows back. In addition, keep your feet dry, and choose socks that are made of natural fibers like cotton so the feet can breathe.
One of the more painful common foot problems, plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the connective tissue between the bottom of the heel and the ball of the foot becomes inflamed. When we walk, the plantar fascia stretches to help the feet do their thing. Plantar fasciitis is most common among people who are overweight or who are on their feet all day.
There are several things you can do to treat plantar fasciitis. All of them should be used in conjunction to help ease the pain as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Buy shoe inserts for extra arch support
- Take ibuprofen to reduce swelling of the plantar fascia
- Do stretching exercises to help increase blood flow to the area and increase flexibility
- Alternate heat and cold to both increase blood flow and reduce inflammation
As the name states, sweaty feet are, well, sweaty. People with this condition suffer from overactive sweat glands in the area, and it can lead to perpetually soggy feet. While sweaty feet on their own are just sort of uncomfortable (and sometimes stinky), they can lead to other serious issues. Feet that are always sweaty are far more likely to develop conditions like athlete’s foot, ingrown toenails, blisters, and other such foot issues.
While extreme cases of sweaty feet can require the help of a podiatrist, moderately sweaty feet can be treated at home. To help reduce as much moisture as possible and to prevent secondary issues, you’ll want to do a few things.
- Wash the feet with antibacterial soap to prevent bacterial problems
- Rotate footwear
- Wear socks that absorb moisture like cotton, wool, or cotton/wool blends
- Sprinkle the feet with medicated powder to both absorb moisture and prevent bacterial problems
- Sprinkle the inside of shoes with powder to absorb moisture
Don’t Be Ashamed of Common Foot Problems – Deal with Them
These common foot problems are far more prevalent than you might imagine. That’s because, not surprisingly, people don’t talk about feet. Most of us regard foot issues as gross, but they can be medical issues – nothing more, nothing less. Although you may not want to discuss your overly sweaty feet with your friends, you should discuss them with your doctor if they are interfering with daily life. Never be ashamed to ask your doctor for help with any health related bodily issue.