Your Feet

Athlete's Foot
Blisters
Bunions

Corns
Hammertoes
Stinky Feet
Thick yellow toenails (Onychomycosis)

Those with diabetes or other circulatory problems should take especially good care of their feet and see a physician before starting any treatment.

Athlete's Foot

A fungal infection in the outer layers of skin on the toes or soles of the feet, causing a scaly dry rash, cracks or fissure in the skin and intense itching. To relieve athlete's foot, wear sandals on pool decks and in public showers, or avoid showering in public showers altogether. Use a cream or powder meant to treat athlete's foot such as Lamisil AT cream, Tanactin antifungal sports wipes, Micatin athlete's foot powder, or Desenex antifungal liquid spray or powder. Most over the counter remedies will keep your problem under control, but won't cure it. If you experience any of the following or can't get the problem under control, consult a physician:

  • Open sores, blisters, or ulcers on your feet
  • Black, brown or discolored toenails or moles
  • Freckles or growths on your feet or nails
  • Oozing or weeping of your toe webs, feet or legs
  • Pain in your feet or nails

Blisters

Puss-filled pockets of skin caused by rubbing or friction. To avoid blisters, wear shoes that fit comfortably with toe wiggling room. Tie your shoes securely to your feet to avoid sliding within the shoe. Wear socks with shoes. Apply Vaseline or a sports lotion on the areas likely to blister. When you buy a new pair of shoes, especially sandals or leather dress shoes, take time to break them in. Don't spend an entire day in a brand new pair of shoes. Wear them around the house a little each day until your feet have grown accustom to them. Before a big hike, you might want to try putting "tough skin" on the areas that usually develop blisters for a couple weeks before your trip. Then just before the hike apply Vaseline or sports lotion to these problem areas.

Bunions

Abnormal growth of the toe bones due to pressure, resulting in a bony bump usually occurring on the tops of the toes. To avoid bunions, only wear shoes that are well-fitted and comfortable, allowing room to wiggle your toes. Narrow tapered stylish shoes are evil. Have orthotic inserts made to correct pronation (available at sports clinics). To reduce swelling from bunions, use ice and elevate your feet whenever possible. If severe enough they could be surgically removed.

Corns

Horny thickening of the skin on the toes caused by friction and pressure from poorly-fitted shoes or hose. This thickening forms a conical mass pointing down into the skin, causing pain and redness. A hard corn is usually located on the outer surface of the little toe or on the upper surface of the other toes, although hard corns can occur between the toes as well. A soft corn usually occurs between the toes, most commonly between the 4th and 5th toe. Soft corns are kept soft by the moisture in this area. To avoid corns, only wear well-fitted comfortable shoes with toe-wiggling room. To treat corns, soak and moisturize your feet daily. Use a pad with a hole cut out to take pressure off your corn.

Hammertoes

A bending of the last digit of your toe, most commonly occurring on the 2nd and 3rd toes, since they are the longest toes with 3 digits. It is caused by heredity or pressure from poorly-fitted shoes or high-heels. It also can occur from running or ballet. If you run or ballet dance, it is difficult to avoid. Otherwise, only wear shoes that fit comfortably and give your toes some wiggling room. High heals might make you look taller, but in time, they will give you hammertoes.

Stinky Feet

An obnoxious aroma caused by wearing shoes without socks, or wearing nylon stockings or sweaty socks for long hours. To stop it, wear synthetic socks. Wash and dry your feet at least once a day, and always immediately after working out. After washing and drying your feet, put on a nice dry clean pair of socks. Use a deodorant spray or powder on your feet. Soak your feet in warm tea. (Just make sure you poor it down the drain so nobody accidentally re-heats it for tea-time.) Rotate your shoes. Don't wear the same shoes every day. Odor eater insoles or new shoes couldn't hurt either, but it's best to attack the problem at the source, which is your own feet.

Thick yellow toenails (Onychomycosis)

A fungal infection of the toe nail, producing a white or yellow thickening under the nail. In some cases it simply makes the nail a little harder to trim. In other cases, it can make the toe more prone to ingrown nails, cracking of the skin and thus infection. This problem is common among those with athlete's foot. To avoid onychomycosis, wear sandals on pool decks and in public showers or avoid public showers altogether. To stop this problem once it occurs, see a foot doctor.

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