I see a lot of patients with varying foot ailments in my Houston podiatry office, but some problems keep popping up over and over again! Here are some of the top 4 painful foot conditions I see again and again, along with some great tips for stopping the hurt!
1. Athlete’s Foot
According to research from the British National Institute of Health, 25% of people experience foot fungal infections at any given time. Foot fungus can cause intense itching, white, soggy skin and/or dry, cracked skin between the toes, not to mention redness and blisters on the rest of the foot. Fungal infections can also spread to the toenails, causing them to become thick and yellow.
Repairs: Wash feet daily with warm-to-hot water and dry thoroughly with a specially designated towel. Warm, dark, sweaty environments breed the fungus, so always wear socks with shoes, preferably those that combine cotton or wool with sweat-wicking fibers.
2. Corns and calluses
Corns are areas of hard, dead skin that form as the result of pressure, usually over a toe joint. Calluses are areas of dead skin on the sole of the foot.
Repairs: Keep them at bay by wearing properly fitted footwear with extra room in the toe area. Steer clear of home remedies, especially those that involve cutting away the hard skin, as these types of treatments can lead to infection.
3. Heel pain
There are many causes of heel pain, but one of the most persistent and painful causes is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the bands of connective tissue that run from your heel to your foot.
Repairs: Seek early treatment at your podiatrist’s office, as outcomes are better when the condition has not progressed too far. Avoid flip-flops, sandals, Crocs and other non-supportive shoes that offer little or no arch support. Certain stretches may help fight the discomfort; try sitting with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of your foot. Pull back gently until you feel a stretch in your arch and calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.
4. Ingrown toenails
This condition occurs when a toenail cuts into the flesh of the toe, causing the skin to become swollen, and tender to the touch. Left untreated, the toe can become infected.
Repairs: Cut nails straight across and never cut too low at the edge or down the side of the nail to prevent the problem. Seek treatment with your podiatrist to avoid serious complications if the issue arises or the toe becomes infected/inflamed.