Foot Problems

Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenail is a condition that most commonly affects the big toe. It can cause discomfort, tenderness, and redness. If there is an infection present there may be drainage of pus from the area.

Causes

This condition usually results when pressure from improper shoe wear and improper cut of the toenails leads to pain of the tissue at the side of the nail. The chronic pressure of the nail edge rubbing against the nail groove causes irritation and swelling of the surrounding skin.

Prevention

  1. Cut nails straight across. Do not cut the nails shorter at the sides than in the middle.
  2. File the corners of the nail after clipping them if they are sharp.
  3. Wear shoes and socks that fit well.

Self-Care Steps

  1. Soak your foot in warm, soapy water for five to ten minutes, one to three times a day.
  2. Gently lift the nail away from the reddened skin at the outer corners with the tip of a file. Firm pressure with clean fingers to move the soft tissue away from the nails is also helpful especially if repeated frequently.
  3. Place a small piece of cotton soaked in an antiseptic of topical antibiotic, such as Neosporin, just under the outer corners.
  4. Repeat the previous three steps daily until the nail begins to grow correctly. Wear roomy shoes during this time.

Treatment

If caught early, non-surgical treatment works. Pressure on the toe should be reduced at minimum by wearing sandals or no shoes. In more severe cases, surgery may be right to treat the condition.

PLANTAR FASCITIS

Causes

This condition causes pain on the bottom of the heel when putting weight on the foot. A heel spur can develop from chronic plantar fascitis. This is scarring and calcification under the heel bone. It can be a discrete, tender lump.

Self-Care Steps and Treatment

  1. Treatment usually begins with adjustments to the shoe wear to try to reduce symptoms.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes used to decrease the inflammation in the fascia and reduce pain. Surgery is the last resort.
  3. Rest the foot and avoid high-impact activities.
  4. Apply ice to the heel two to three times daily.
  5. Support the arches of your feet to protect them from further stretching and tearing.

Athlete's Foot (Tinea pedis)

Athlete's foot is a form of fungus infection of the feet. It is caused by the same infection that causes ringworm and jock itch. Athlete's foot usually shows up between the toes. Symptoms include redness, scaling, and peeling. The affected area may also itch. Athlete's foot does occur among people who traditionally go barefoot.

Causes

Moisture, sweating, and lack of proper ventilation of the feet present the perfect setting for the fungus of athlete's foot to grow. It occurs mostly among teenage and adult males.

Self-Care Steps and Treatment

  1. Practice good personal hygiene to prevent all forms of fungal infections.
  2. Wash your feet daily.
  3. Dry your feet thoroughly, especially in between your toes.
  4. After drying, apply an antifungal product such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin) or tolnaftaton (Tinactin).
  5. Wear cotton socks and change them daily or more frequently if they become damp. Do not wear socks made of synthetic materials.
  6. Avoid tight footwear, especially in the summer. Sandals are the best warm weather footwear.
  7. Dust an anti-fungal powder into your shoes in the summertime.
  8. Athlete's foot can be resistant to treatment, therefore it should not be ignored. It can be treated easily if the proper action is taken.

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