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Six Common Foot Problems

Here’s how you can fix six common foot problems

Statistics show that millions of women suffer problems with their feet, while one in five men suffer foot pain most days. Here’s the low-down on the most common foot problems and how to beat them.

Corns and calluses
What are they? Thick, hardened layers of skin that develop on bony areas of the feet caused by ill-fitting shoes that rub and can be painful.
Prevent it: Avoid shoes that are too tight or have very high heels, which compress areas or those that are too loose, as your foot will slide and rub. Remove hardened skin with a pumice stone.
Treat it: If the corn is very painful, see a chiropodist. They can remove the corns or, in more serious cases, may fit you for orthotic insoles that sit in your shoes and will correct any imbalance in the way you walk.

Bunions
What are they? Painful bony swellings at the base of the big toe, which can be a result of shoes that cramp the feet. Bunions can run in families.
Treat it: You can buy pads that ease pressure on the big toe joint, along with orthotic insoles that help the feet work properly. In severe cases, surgery can remove swollen tissue and part of the bone.
Prevent it: Make sure your shoes don’t squash your toes together — there should be space between the tip of your toes and the end of the shoe. Avoid heels higher than two inches for long periods.

Verrucas
What are they? Verrucas are warts caused by a viral infection found on the soles of the feet or between toes. Some can start as a small pink area with a few black dots, which develops into a larger, brown area with hardened skin.
Treat it: If it is large or painful, a chiropodist can freeze the area to kill the virus.
Prevent it: The virus thrives swimming pools and communal showers, so it pays to always wear flip-flops until you’re in the water.

Athlete’s foot
What is it? A fungal infection that causes sore, itchy patches of skin between the toes, which then crack and flake. It may have an unpleasant smell and toenails can become infected, thick and brown.
Treat it: If the toenail is infected, see a chiropodist so they can file down the nail and prescribe a topical solution to fight the infection.
Prevent it: Change your socks or tights daily, and don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row. Sandals also help as they allow air to circulate between the toes.

Fallen arches
What are they? This common complaint happens as the arch of the foot collapses and becomes flat. It can cause painful, achy feet and calves.
Treat it: Pain relief and special insoles. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Prevent it: Avoid high heels for long periods. Because heels cause your tendons to tighten, your ankle can’t bend properly, and so the tendons in your foot arch to try to compensate and can break or collapse.

Ingrown toenails
What are they? When growing nails become painfully imbedded in the skin at the sides.
Treat it: Soaking feet in saltwater can prevent infection and reduce swelling.
Prevent it: Don’t cut your toenails too short and follow the outline of your toe and file away any sharp edges.

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