6 Common Foot Problems and How to Manage Them
by Renz Paulo Rodriguez | 6 min read
Feet are arguably one of the most important parts of your body, and if you want to take care of them, there are a lot of things you can do. While it might not seem like there's much you can do for your feet, there are actually many different types of foot problems and ways to treat them. In this article, we'll go over some common foot problems according to experts and how they're treated so that you can get started on making sure your feet stay healthy!
1. Athlete's Foot
According to Mayo Clinic, Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal skin infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes. Signs and symptoms of athlete's foot include an itchy, scaly rash. The condition is contagious and can be spread via contaminated floors, towels, or clothing. Athlete's foot is closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch. It can be treated with antifungal medications, but the infection often comes back.
2. Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are patches of hard, thickened skin, according to Healthline. They can develop anywhere on your body, but they typically appear on your feet. Corns are small, round circles of thick skin. You’re most likely to develop corns on the tops or sides of your toes or the soles of your feet. They occur more frequently on bony feet that lack cushioning. Calluses are hard, rough patches of skin. They’re most likely to appear on the heel or the ball of your foot. They can also develop on your hands, knuckles, and other areas. Calluses are usually bigger than corns and yellowish in color. They lack well-defined edges. They may be less sensitive to touch than the rest of your foot. Corns and calluses are usually painless, but they sometimes become painful after an extended period of time. They can also cause pain if they become infected.
3. Dry, Cracked Heels
Dry skin, according to Medical News Today, often appears on the heels and sides of the feet and between the toes. It may make the affected area feel itchy, tight, and even painful. Although this may be irritating, it is rarely harmful. Simple foot soaks, moisturizers, and regular exfoliation can reduce dry skin on the feet, remove areas of dead skin and calluses, and prevent them from returning. A lack of moisture is one of the factors that cause dry skin.
Medical News Today states that dry, cracked, and flaking skin is especially common on the heel and sole because these areas have fewer oil glands than skin elsewhere on the body. Moreover, standing for too long or wearing poorly fitting shoes can put constant pressure on specific areas of the feet or cause friction on the skin. As a result, these areas of the feet may become dry, calloused, or cracked. Also, closed shoes, such as sneakers and boots, create an extremely hot and humid environment for the feet. Heat and humidity draw moisture from the skin, which can lead to dry, thick, or cracked areas on the feet. Regularly applying moisturizer to the feet can help prevent dry skin and wearing shoes that fit properly can support healthy feet.
4. Plantar Warts
According to Web MD, plantar warts and palmar warts are common, especially in children. These warts are named for where they appear on the body. Palmar warts occur on the hands and plantar warts on the bottom of the foot. Plantar warts are noncancerous skin growths, caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. The culprit is a strain of virus called human papillomavirus or HPV. Many strains of the virus exist, and those that cause common warts on the hands and feet are not the same strains of HPV that cause genital warts.
Web MD added that warts are spread from person to person. The transmission can be indirect. For instance, a child with a wart on their hand may touch a playground surface that is then touched by another child, and the wart spreads. Or a person with a plantar wart uses a shower without wearing shower shoes and another person then uses it and develops a wart. The risk of getting a hand or foot wart from another person is small.
5. Heel Spur
A heel spur is a foot condition that’s created by a bony-like growth, called a calcium deposit, that extends between your heel bone and arch, according to Healthline. Heel spurs often start in the front of and underneath your heel. They eventually affect other parts of your foot. They can get up to half an inch in length. They may not necessarily be visible to the naked eye. Detecting heel spurs can be challenging. Heel spurs don’t always cause pain, and not all heel pain is related to spurs. Symptoms of heel spurs may include pain, inflammation, and swelling at the front of your heel. The affected area may also feel warm to the touch. These symptoms may spread to the arch of your foot. Eventually, a small bony protrusion may be visible. As a rule of thumb, according to Healthline, you should never push through any heel pain that develops. Continuing to walk, exercise, or wear shoes that cause heel pain can lead to long-term issues such as heel spurs. If you experience heel pain after any activity, ice the area and give your footrest until it gets better.
6. Dyshidrotic Eczema
According to National Eczema Association, dyshidrotic eczema causes small, intensely itchy blisters on the palms of hands, soles of feet, and edges of the fingers and toes. While the actual cause of dyshidrotic eczema isn’t known, it is more common in people who have another form of eczema and tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Flares happen only on the hands and feet and usually begin with a rash of painful, deep-seated blisters called vesicles, although sometimes itching and burning sensations begin first. As blisters heal, the skin dries and often reddens and peels. This leaves it tender and dry and sometimes creates painful fissures or cracks. Skin can also become infected.
Helpful steps, according to National Eczema Association can include:
- Wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser and gently pat dry.
- Apply a heavy cream with ingredients like ceramides to help repair the skin barrier.
- Remove rings and other jewelry when you wash your hands so water doesn’t linger on your skin.
- Wash then moisturize hands or feet immediately after coming into contact with a potential trigger.
- Use stress management techniques.
- Keep fingernails short to help prevent scratching from breaking the skin.
Dermatologists can usually diagnose dyshidrotic eczema with a skin exam and medical history. Many cases improve quickly with a short course of topical corticosteroids combined with soaking or applying cool compresses to affected areas a few times a day to help dry out blisters. Because this form of eczema is sometimes linked to a fungal infection on the hands or feet, your dermatologist may prescribe an anti-fungal medication if needed.
There are many ways to care for your feet.
There are many ways to care for your feet. A healthy diet and regular exercise will help keep your feet strong, while footwear and foot care products can also help you stay comfortable, no matter what the weather is like outside. Healthy feet don't just happen overnight; it takes time to build up a strong foundation of good habits that will last a lifetime. Foot problems are common, especially in people who spend a lot of time on their feet. If you have foot pain or other issues with your feet, take care of them properly to prevent these problems from getting worse. You may want to visit an expert for advice if you have any of the above conditions and symptoms.
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You may also like to read:
- Athlete's Foot: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Prevention
- 4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Treating Baby Eczema
- How To Reduce The Appearance Of Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
- Common Skin Problems You Should Know About During & After Pregnancy
- 5 Benefits of Organic Calendula Baby Balm
- Important Things You Need To Know About Bathing Your Baby
- Athlete’s Foot - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/athletes-foot/symptoms-causes/syc-20353841
- Blake K. Corns and Calluses. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/corns-and-calluses
- Eske J. Best Remedies for Dry Skin on the Feet. Medicalnewstoday.com https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324909
- Doheny K. Plantar Warts and Palmar Warts. WebMD. https://www.w;ebmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/plantar-warts-palmar-warts
- Cherney K. Everything You Need to Know About Heel Spurs. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/heel-spurs#prevention
- What is dyshidrotic eczema and how do you know if you have it? National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/dyshidrotic-eczema/
- Athlete's Foot: Masterton Foot Clinic
- Corns and Callouses: Seattle Foot and Ankle Center
- Dry, Cracked Heels: Natural Remedies
- Plantar Warts: Healthlline
- Heel Spurs: MedicineNet
- Dyshidrotic Eczema: National Eczema Association