Is a bunion,
corn, ingrown toenail or a bad case of athlete's foot causing you foot pain or
embarrassment? Keep your feet healthy by learning to recognize and treat common
A bony bump at
the base of the big toe, a bunion causes that toe to deviate toward the others.
Throwing foot bones out of alignment and producing the characteristic bump at
the joint's base, a bunion can be very painful due to pressure or arthritis,
and may also lead to corns. Pain relievers, pads to cushion the bunion, custom
shoe inserts, or surgery may help, as will wearing roomy shoes and avoiding
the thick, hardened, dead skin of corns and calluses, which form to protect
sensitive skin. Appearing cone–shaped, corns point into the skin, and usually
occur on areas that bear little weight. Calluses may appear anywhere there's
friction, and are more diffuse. Both may be caused by ill–fitting shoes and
will fade when friction stops. Moleskin pads can help relieve a corn; calluses
can be trimmed or surgically corrected.
A form of
arthritis, gout is characterized by sudden pain, redness, swelling, and
stiffness, usually in the large joint of the big toe. Gout can also occur in
the foot, ankle, or knees. and is caused by too much uric acid (UA) in the
body, which can form hard crystals in joints. Attacks can last days or weeks,
and may be treated with anti–inflammatories or UA–lowering medication. Talk to
your doctor about diet changes that help break down UA.
Plantar warts are
tough, horny growths that develop on the soles of the feet. Contagious, they're
caused by a virus entering through broken skin, and often spread via public
pools and showers. Plantar warts are harmless and can be left untreated, but in
many cases they're too painful to ignore. Topical salicylic acid may help,
while burning, freezing, laser therapy, and surgical removal are more
aggressive options for more severe cases.
infection that can cause peeling, redness, itching, burning, and sometimes
blisters and sores, athlete's foot is mildly contagious, passed by direct
contact or by walking barefoot in areas such as locker rooms, or near pools.
The fungi then grow in shoes, especially tight ones without air circulation.
Athlete's foot is usually treated with topical antifungal lotions or oral
medications for more severe cases.
microscopic fungi enter through a break in the nail, a fungal infection can
make your nails thick, discolored and brittle. If left untreated, the nail
infection won't go away — and can be hard to treat. Thriving in warm, wet
places, the fungi can be spread from person to person. Topical creams may help
mild cases but antifungal pills are your best chance of curing a severe
When toe muscles
get out of balance, they can cause painful toe problems. While some people are
prone to hammertoe, other risks include tight footwear. Hammertoe generally
causes the middle joint of the toe to bend downward, with toes appearing raised
near the foot. Well–fitted footwear with the correct amount of space in the toe
box, shoe supports, and surgery may offer relief.
A toenail that
has grown into the skin, an ingrown toenail can result in pain, redness,
swelling, even infection. Cutting nails too short or not straight across,
injury to the toenail, and wearing tight shoes are culprits. For mild cases, soak
the foot in warm water, keep it clean, and wedge a small piece of cotton under
the corner of the ingrown nail to lift it off the skin. Minor surgery can
remove all or part of the nail.
characterized by the sole of the foot coming into complete or near–complete
contact with the ground. It may be inherited, caused by an injury, or by a
condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Flatfoot symptoms are rare, though
weight gain, ill–fitting shoes, or excessive standing may cause pain. Treatment
includes foot–strengthening exercises, and shoes with good arch support or