For the part of the body that bears the burden of our weight the whole day, the feet are the most neglected. Here are a few useful points of basic foot care.
While the feet have large active sweat glands, they have relatively few oil glands. The soles of our feet do not have any oil glands. That is why our feet tend to be so dry.
What are the common foot problems?
The common foot problems are:
Fungal infection or athletes foot.
Corns or calluses.
Sweaty, smelly feet.
This is a common problem during the monsoon season in people who need to wear shoes and socks all day. This is due to heat and humidity and commonly occurs between the toes.
May appear as a whitish boggy area in the webs between the toes with or without itching.
At times there is flaking and scaling of soles.
There may be thickening and heaping of crumbly material under the toenails.
The feet must be kept dry and good foot hygiene must be maintained.
Socks must preferably be made of cotton and be changed daily.
Shoes should be alternated.
Using an anti-fungal powder every morning and an anti-fungal cream at night is helpful.
A dermatologist (skin specialist) must be consulted if the problems persist.
Corns and calluses
These occur due to persistent friction, rubbing and or pressure. People with arthritis, with improperly positioned toes or bony spurs are more prone as there are abnormal pressure points that act on the foot causing corns.
Symptoms: Corn is a cone shaped thickening of the outer horny layer of the skin that becomes very hard and painful. Calluses are similar to corns but do not have the regular round shape and are generally not painful.
Treatment: It is important to eliminate the cause of increased friction or pressure. The shoes must be well fitting. Use of insoles and lubrication of the skin helps. Soaking the feet in warm water and then rubbing them gently with pumice stone helps minimizing the discomfort. If the problem persists, consult the dermatologist.
This is due to excessive sweating and wearing shoes for prolonged periods. This can be prevented by washing the feet well and drying them before wearing shoes. The socks must be washed and changed daily. The same pair of shoes must not be worn daily. Using anti-fungal powders helps.
Sometimes the nails become brittle and start to clip. This can be prevented by massaging the fingers and feet with warm olive oil every week. Each night the nails may be rubbed with moisturizing creams to prevent them from becoming brittle.
These can be prevented by wearing comfortable footwear and avoiding standing for prolonged periods. The feet must be soaked in warm water and gently scrubbed at least once a week. It helps to apply a moisturizing cream to the soles every night.
How should footwear be selected?
Before buying any footwear walk around with the footwear to detect any point of unusual pressure or tightness. The sides of the feet must not rub against the shoe wall. There should be enough space within so as not to cramp the toes.