How to Care for Your Feet
Do you live with foot pain? House Call Doctor discusses 3 common foot problems and has 5 easy tips on the best way to care for your feet.
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Those of us who have two feet to walk on must realize how lucky we are. There are people who aren’t as fortunate – those with amputations from diabetes or accidents, those suffering from cerebral palsy, strokes, or congenital anomalies.
And sometimes (Ok, often) we take our feet for granted. For instance, I always wonder why some people literally fight for parking spaces right next to entrances? Park a little further away and walk it – that’s why we’ve been blessed with two feet! As Get-Fit Guy can tell you, our society in general needs to walk more, not less. These boots are made for walkin’.
So today, before I put my foot in my mouth, I’d like to dedicate this episode to our feet – if you are fortunate enough to have them, learn how to keep them healthy.
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Common Feet Problems
Due to a variety of factors inherent in modern life (such as obesity, high heels, and others), feet health problems are not uncommon. Here are the top 3:
1. Plantar Fasciitis: There’s a tight band running through the bottom of your feet, and some patients may experience tightening of this band that causes great heel pain. I have discussed this at length in a previous podcast episode, so make sure to listen to that one if you’ve suffered from heel pain.
2. Plantar Warts: Just like on other areas of your body, you can also get warts on the bottom of your feet. And ask anyone with a plantar wart – they are not pleasant! They're painful and can grow and deepen with time. Like other warts, they are caused by a virus. In a little bit, I'm going to give you some tips on how to prevent plantar warts from forming in the first place, but if you already have one, you will need to have it frozen off by your doctor. But that process is also not pleasant and may take several applications.
3. Foot and Nail Fungus: This is by far the most common foot problem. Fungus on the bottom, top, or in between the toes causes scaling and itching. This is commonly referred to as athlete’s foot, because athletes tend to sweat and experience this condition, but it can happen to anyone. Toenail fungus, on the other hand, is usually only cosmetic – it deforms the toenail (by causing yellowing and thickening) but is not typically painful. It’s not pretty, but it won’t harm you.
Over-the-counter antifungal creams used twice day for at least one month can help with athlete’s foot, but it is not the most effective solution for toenail fungus. There are oral medications that work better, but they're not risk-free. You can discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor at your next visit. Soaking your feet in some bleach water (using no more than 1 tablespoon of bleach with half a gallon of water) every night for 10 minutes can also help fight fungus.
Let's say you're lucky and have completely healthy feet. Well, in that case, here are 5 quick and dirty tips you should follow to keep them that way: