Did you know your feet grow and change throughout your life? Weight gain,
weight loss, and normal aging can change the shape of your feet. Healthy
feet are important to overall health. Take steps toward healthy feet by
giving them daily care and wearing shoes that fit comfortably.
If you are diabetic, follow your doctor's advice about foot care. People
with diabetes and poor circulation are at greater risk of foot problems.
Corns, calluses, and blisters, can quickly become serious medical problems.
Daily Foot Care
Take a close look at your feet. Examine each toe, your heels, the top
and bottom of your feet. If you cannot see the bottom of your foot, use
a mirror. What do you see? Are there any calluses, coms, bunions or sore
spots? Most foot problems are the result of shoes that do not fit properly.
Feet are often forgotten in the shower. Scrub you feet each time you
bath or shower. Keep your toenails clipped in a square shape. Be careful
not to cut nails too short, or they may become "ingrown toenails". Gently
massage feet with a mild lotion. Wear shoes that fit and pay attention
to special problems.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are usually minor problems. They are thick layers
of dry hard skin. Friction and pressure on your feet cause them. Most
disappear with care and shoes that fit properly. Wear soft leather or
cloth shoes with plenty of toe space.
Treatment - To soften skin, soak feet for 15 minutes in warm soapy
water. Using a pumice stone or wet wash cloth, gently rub the area. Regular
treatment will reduce the thickness of callused skin. Repeat often until
the skin feels normal. Scrub feet with a soapy wash cloth each time you
shower or bath.
An ingrown toenail is when the sharp end of the nail grows down into
the toe. This happens often with the big toe. It can be the result of
curved toenails cut too short and/or tight shoes.
Treatment - If the area is infected, see a doctor. If not, let
the nail grow out, then cut it straight across. Your toenails should be
cut square, not round. Avoid pressure on the toe by wearing shoes with
a wide toe box. You should be able to wiggle your toes inside the shoe.
A bunion happens when the big toe overlaps the second toe. The place
where the bone sticks out is the bunion. Bunions can be inherited. Women
have bunions more often than men do. Forcing toes into tight high-heeled
pointed shoes can cause them.
Your feet should not hurt when you walk. Constant pain can be a sign
of more serious problems. If this happens, you may need to see a doctor
or podiatrist. Podiatrists are not medical doctors. They are professionals
licensed and trained to treat foot problems.
Proper Shoe Fit
- Have your feet measured when you buy new shoes. Put both shoes on
an dwalk around.
- Buy Shoes toward the endo of the day when feet are larger from walking.
Prepared by Drusilla Banks, Nutrition
and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension.
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