Let’s Talk About Feet

As the weather gets colder we tend to hide our feet and pay them little attention. In fact, ignoring foot problems can cause discomfort and even extreme pain and can prevent us from being able to carry out our day to day activities.

Here are the 10 most common foot complaints that we treat:

Smelly, sweaty Feet
Smelly feet, also known as bromodosis, is a very common problem caused by a build-up of sweat. It can usually be improved with good hygiene and simple foot treatments which can be bought over the counter. In extreme cases see your podiatrist or GP. We sell a selection of Gehwol products which can help to combat smelly feet.

Ingrown toenails
Very common, painful and unsightly, ingrown toenails develop when the sides of the toenail grow into the surrounding skin. The nail curls and pierces the skin, which becomes red, swollen and tender. The solution is to remove the cause of irritation ie to trim the nail where it cuts into the skin. If your ingrown toenail is badly inflamed, bleeding or has pus coming from it, go to the GP or see your podiatrist.

Corns and calluses
We all get calluses. There are plenty of home fixes, but start by identifying the thing causing pressure such as an ill-fitting shoe. You can file away hard skin and use a good moisturising lotion, so long as it is urea-based (to break down hard skin). If the calluses keep returning or you have a corn, see a podiatrist.

Verrucae are caused by a virus. The body’s own immune system will normally heal them and small verrucae can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter preparations. Patients who visit a podiatrist can be offered a range of treatments to treat stubborn, painful cases.

Fungal nail infections
Fungal nail infections can be difficult to treat. These infections can be painless unless the nail thickens and lifts which can look very unpleasant. Common treatments are topical antifungal medication, prescription medication, paring down the nail or, in extreme cases, removal of the nail. You can also opt for nail reconstruction once the infection has cleared.

Plantar Heel Pain
Heel pain which is caused when the plantar fascia becomes damaged and thickens. The best advice is to see your podiatrist or GP. Note that osteopathy can also be used to treat this condition. Recovery can take 18 months, but surgery is rarely needed. Shock absorbing heel cups or orthotics can be worn to ease the pain.

There is no single cause of bunions but there seems to be an inherited component, and they are more common in women. Non-surgical treatments will not cure the problem, but can ease the symptoms. Options include good shoe choices, protective pads and gels and special splints or orthotics.

These small, itchy swellings on the skin occur as a reaction to cold temperatures, and can be painful, but should heal naturally within a few weeks. To avoid them, wear appropriate socks and shoes, and if feet get really cold, don’t warm them up too quickly as rapid temperature change damages cells. Ask your podiatrist about thermal insoles or creams to improve the circulation.

Gout occurs when levels of uric acid become too high, causing crystals to form in the joints, leading to excruciatingly painful attacks of joint pain and inflammation, most commonly affecting the big toe. Treatment aims to lower uric acid levels. The most used drug, allopurinol, is very effective with few side effects.

This common problem generally causes foot pain in older people. Treatments include painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections and changes to footwear or inserts in shoes. For people not helped by these, there are effective surgical options. The first port of call should be the GP.

Our podiatry and foot care team are on hand to advise, offer treatment and help to relieve your foot pain. Please call us on Tel: 020 8977 3295.


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