How We Treat Feet

How our feet should be treated?

Our feet are our main mode of transport, carrying us more than 85,000 miles in a lifetime - that's like walking around the world three times.

So it's no wonder our feet can start to ache and show signs of stress. To put your prettiest foot forward in your sexiest slingbacks and sandals, try these quick steps to healthy feet that'll last the distance.

Ingrown toenails:

This is when the toenail curves downward and grows into the skin of the toe. An unsightly, painful and swollen infection is too often the result.

Cutting the nail too short, filing the corners instead of leaving them straight and wearing damp, cramped shoes for too long are the most common causes.

To avoid ingrown toenails trim your nails no shorter than the edge of the toe; they should also be cut straight across with a clean, sharp nail trimmer. Try cutting nails while they're still wet as they're softer and it's easier to get a clean edge. If infection occurs, antiseptic dressings and soaking feet in warm, salty water can help soothe pain and reduce infection. For recurrent problems you may need to see a podiatrist.

Smelly feet:

Feet have more sweat glands per square inch than almost any other part of our body. In hot summer weather sweat can easily build up in closed-in shoes, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. No wonder our feet smell at the end of the day!

Wash your feet regularly and wear talcum powder to absorb the moisture inside your shoes.

Go for cotton socks over nylon for better moisture absorption, or try an antiperspirant foot spray.

Fungal infections:

Tinea, or athlete's foot, is an easily spread fungal infection, which causes a flaky, red and itchy rash on the soles of the feet or between the toes. Avoid sweaty, closed-in shoes, such as runners and work boots, and always wear thongs in communal showers.

Regularly scrub your feet, and change socks or stockings daily or even twice daily. The use of an anti-fungal foot powder or spray can also help. Treat infections immediately by seeing a podiatrist or with a fungal treatment from the pharmacy. Oral medication rather than topical treatments often work better on toenail infections.

Bruised bunions:
Bunions can be very painful. Often beginning as a tender bulge beside the big or little toe, over time they gradually distort so the bone protrudes. They're often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure but wearing bad shoes, walking incorrectly and being overweight can worsen the problem. The only way to banish bunions is by surgery but for comfort try wider shoes with low heels or gel pads.

Tortured Feet:

One in 14 people suffer from plantar fasciitis - tears along the fibrous ligaments on the sole of the foot. This can result in inflammation and a burning, stabbing or aching pain.

Your medical history and an examination are essential to help make the diagnosis. And it may be necessary to do an X-ray or a magnetic resonance image (MRI) to assess your foot.

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can help in the reduction of foot pain and inflammation. Resting the foot, applying ice or using orthotics may also help with healing and pain reduction.