Prevention & Recovery

What to do about top 5 foot woes

By: Nancy Ripton

©istockphoto/prizela_ning Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©istockphoto/prizela_ning

Prevention & Recovery

What to do about top 5 foot woes

By: Nancy Ripton
1. Warts
What they are: Bumps caused by a viral infection 
Why you get them: The wart virus enters through small (even invisible) cuts and abrasions, usually when you’re barefoot. 
How to prevent or treat them: If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters. Visit a podiatrist to make sure the bump is a wart and not a corn or callus. Your doctor may use liquid nitrogen, another chemical or a laser to remove the wart. Avoid using over-the-counter wart treatments. They contain acid that can inadvertently destroy the healthy surrounding tissue. In particular, people with diabetes should steer clear of these treatments.
 
2. Athlete's foot
What it is: A skin fungus
Why you get it: It develops when sweaty feet are trapped in shoes.
How to prevent or treat it: Avoid wearing the same shoes every day and put wooden shoe trees in your shoes between use. To treat the fungus, apply a topical antifungal cream once or twice a day. Call a podiatrist if it’s not effective. Don’t just ignore it. “Athlete’s foot can lead to toenail fungus,” says Dr. Sheldon Nadal, a podiatrist in Toronto. Nail fungus is much more serious and requires lasers or pills to treat. 
 
3. Plantar Fasciitis
What it is: Heel pain (that’s especially pronounced when standing) caused by excessive pressure on the main ligament in the sole of the foot 
Why you get it: Plantar fasciitis is highly unpredictable, but it can often 
be found in people with flat feet and tight calves.
How to prevent or treat it: “It’s difficult to predict what will work,” says Dr. Timothy Kalla, a podiatrist in Vancouver. Options include: orthotics, stretching, physical therapy, oral anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections and Botox. There are even special socks, called Strassburg Socks, that can be worn at night to help alleviate pain by stretching your calves while you sleep. “The problem is, you need to sleep on your back with your legs straight for the socks to be effective,” says Kalla.

4. Morton’s Neuroma
What it is: Intermittent pain caused by a pinched nerve between toes 
Why you get it: It’s usually the result of tight, uncomfortable shoes. 
How to prevent or treat it: Wear comfortable open-toed shoes. 
You can also wear metatarsal pads between your toes, get cortisone shots or, in extreme cases, have surgery. 
 
5. Bunions
What they are: The swelling of misaligned big toe joints, causing the first joint of the toe to slant outward and the second joint inward, toward the other toes.
Why you get them: Bunions tend to be hereditary, but they can be aggravated by narrow shoes.
How to prevent or treat them: Wearing wide, comfortable shoes 
will help.


This story was originally titled "What to Do About the Five Biggest Foot Woes" in the August 2013 issue.

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Prevention & Recovery

What to do about top 5 foot woes

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