Common Foot Problems
Hard skin is produced to protect areas subject to friction. In the feet, this friction is caused by heightened activity, poor fitting footwear or a malfunctioning foot. A certain amount of hard skin is natural. Excessive amounts of hard skin may cause discomfort ranging from aching to a burning sensation. This excess hard skin can be reduced to normal levels to alleviate the symptoms.
Corns are areas of hard skin produced by a constant localised pressure and friction. The localised pressure causes the hard skin to form into a conical shape that will give acute pain similar to the sensation of having a sharp piece of gravel in the shoe. Corns are removed and the causing factor identified in order to prevent its return.
Nails become thickened for different reasons. It can be the result of physical damage or a fungal infection. Thickened nails can be reduced to relieve the pressure exerted by footwear and to make them easier to maintain. For fungal infections, referral to a GP for prescription medicines may be required.
A virus causes verrucae and warts. A verruca can show itself in different ways. The most common appearance is as a small raised area of hard skin with little red or black dots. They are often painful.
Athletes foot is a fungal infection that gains access through broken skin. Feet in damp conditions such as swimming baths and Gyms are prone to this. If not treated, the fungal infection can spread to the nails.
An ingrown toenail is a very painful condition. The nail pierces the skin as a result of physical damage or maybe a sharp edge has been left after cutting the nails. The break in the skin can then let infection in. Depending on the nature of the condition, infection can be cleared up, sharp edges removed and if necessary, a small section of nail can be removed to allow the break in skin to heal before the nail grows back normally.
Bunions cause problems for lots of people. The toe joint becomes enlarged and then the big toe deflects towards the other toes. This may lead to the formation of corns and other symptoms, which can be treated as normal.
Chilblains are quite rare in this modern age where the majority of houses have central heating. Advice on the general care of feet should reduce the incidences of chilblains.
Anybody with Diabetes will have been told that they need to take special care of their feet. Simple problems with feet can turn into something more severe if not attended to promptly. The main difficulty is that a diabetic will not always be aware there is a potential problem. Therefore, regular checks of the feet must be made by a qualified Podiatrist.