“Oh, my aching feet!”
Sound familiar? So often we abuse and ignore our feet until they cause pain or problems. Feet are amazingly complex: Each contains 26 bones, 56 ligaments, 38 muscles and a huge number of nerves and blood vessels. Some foot problems are hereditary, but usually they are caused by something you have done such as wearing new or ill-fitting shoes, overdoing an activity, or exposing your feet to infection. Most healthy people can self-treat common foot problems. But, if you have diabetes or other circulation issues, you are at special risk for foot problems and should not treat them yourself. Always carefully check your feet and see your Doctor at the first sign of any problems.
Sore, tired feet
If you do a lot of walking or have to be on your feet because of work, it might help to up the comfort level by adding insoles to your shoes. Life Brand has Cushion Comfort Insoles and Massaging Gel Insoles that can help. And once in a while give them a treat with a Life Brand Peppermint Epsom Salts Foot Soak which is designed to rejuvenate tired, achy feet and soften skin. You can even use the salts as a scrub to exfoliate rough skin patches.
Blisters are red, sore sacs of skin, filled with fluid. They usually happen when shoes rub against sensitive skin. To prevent them, choose shoes that fit properly and wear cushioning socks. If you have shoes that you suspect will rub, consider using Life Brand Moleskin Padding to protect the skin or try Life Brand Anti-Blister Stick. If you already have a blister, keep it clean and protect it with a bandage until it heals. Keep your feet dry and wear different shoes.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are hardened, thick areas of skin – sometimes dry, sometimes flaky and sometimes painful. They can be caused by anything that puts long term pressure on the foot so try to avoid shoes that apply pressure or push your toes together. You can use Life Brand Corn Cushions and Callus Cushions to pad the affected areas to protect them from getting worse. If they are causing pain or problems, you can treat them with Life Brand Medicated Corn Removers or Callus Removers but check with your Doctor or Pharmacist first to make sure they are safe for you to use.
Excess moisture from sweating plus the heat inside your shoes provides the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to grow. This can cause foot odour but you could even end up with toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, skin infections or warts! Always keep your feet as dry as possible and wear shower sandals in public showers. Life Brand Odour Absorbing Insoles can help with the odour and Life Brand Medicated Foot Powder can help soothe and keep your feet dry. Wearing socks that wick moisture away and choosing porous, breathable shoes will also help.
Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is the most well-known fungal foot problem and it can affect anyone - not just athletes. It is an itchy or burning rash that may also include redness, odour, peeling skin, or small pimple-like blisters. Between the toes, it often looks like very pale, water-soaked skin. It can be treated with topical antifungal medication, such as Life Brand Clotrimazole Topical Cream or Life Brand Tolnaftate Cream 1%. To prevent fungal infections, wash your feet daily and keep them dry.
Caused by a viral infection, common warts are bumps with tiny blood vessels that grow into the core of the wart to supply it with blood. These blood vessels look like dark dots in the wart's centre. Plantar warts develop when pressure from walking or standing pushes the wart beneath the skin’s surface and a layer of thick skin develops over it. As it gets larger, it can feel as if you are walking with a pebble in your shoe. Not all warts need to be treated and will go away on their own, but if it is painful or growing, you may wish to get rid of it. Ask your Pharmacist about Life Brand Medicated Plantar Wart Remover, Life Brand Extra Strength Liquid Wart Remover or Life Brand Freeze Away Wart Remover.
Other problems – bunions, hammertoes
Bunions and hammertoes often run in your family. A bunion, caused by arthritis or bone degeneration, usually forms as a bony bump on the outside of your big toe. Hammertoes are twisted toes which can be a complication of injury or caused by years of wearing tight-fitting shoes. Bunions and hammertoes cannot be healed so speak to your Doctor or Podiatrist as soon as you suspect they are forming.
The average pair of feet takes an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 steps each day and may travel up to 80,000 miles in a lifetime. So take good care of your feet – they have a long way to go!