Corns and calluses are thick layers of dead skin cells caused by repeated friction and pressure from shoes. If the first signs of soreness are ignored, corns and calluses rise up as nature’s way of protecting sensitive areas. However, the pressure of this hard mass on sensitive nerves in the skin can be painful. At the first sign of tenderness, pads placed on the skin around the calluses will help protect the area. (Pads over the callus will increase the pressure.)
A bunion is a deformity at the big toe joint. It occurs when the big toe slants outward at an angle and becomes swollen or tender. Bunions can be inherited, or caused by wearing shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot. Sometimes bunions are a sign of developing arthritis in older people. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus. Painful itching between toes, cracked or scaly skin, small blisters and red, irritated skin patches are usually signs of athlete’s foot or other fungal or bacterial conditions. The best way to help prevent athlete’s foot infection is to keep feet clean and dry with a daily washing. Be especially careful to dry between toes. Use a foot powder to help feet stay drier through the day.
Ingrown toenails have corners which have been crowded by the skin. To prevent ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across with toenail clippers. Do not round off corners. The nail should be kept trimmed to protect it from pressure and irritation. After clipping, smooth nails with a file. To ease the pain, wear open-toed sandals and soak feet in warm water once or twice a day.
Blisters are caused by poor-fitting shoes and socks. If blisters occur, don’t pop them-you may cause infection. If a blister breaks on its own, carefully wash the area, apply antiseptic, cover with a sterile bandage during the day, and uncover at night to let the skin “breathe.”
Special Care for Diabetics
Diabetes can affect blood circulation. It can also lessen feeling in the feet. So diabetics are especially vulnerable to foot problems. People with diabetes should be sure to keep the feet warm, to wear non-restrictive shoes, and to check daily for redness, cuts and cracks to prevent them from developing into more a more serious problem.
If you have diabetes, see your physician about even the most simple foot problems. Avoid cutting corns or calluses and using any remedy containing salicylic acid (an ingredient listed on labels of certain corn remedies, with a warning against its use by diabetics). Trim toenails carefully to avoid breaking the skin or producing an ingrown toenail.
Even a small problem with the feet can make walking difficult and painful, so taking care of your feet pays off in a big way!
(c)2008 IlluminAge Communication Partners
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