April is Foot Health Awareness Month and no better time to visit your podiatrist for a check-up.
Did you know that most Americans log roughly 75,000 miles on their feet by the age of 50, according to American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), a source for foot and ankle health information. Coupled with this, the National Center for Health Statics, notes the average life expectancy for Americans is estimated at 78.6 years. So, keeping your feet healthy is critical when it comes to securing mobility as we age.
Here, the APMA highlights five foot conditions affecting Americans today, and some easy-to-do home remedies from the Mayoclinic.org that can help alleviate everyday pain and discomfort.
What: Skin disease caused by a fungus and most commonly attacks the feet since shoes create a warm, dark environment that can encourage fungus growth.
Treatment: Over-the-counter anti-fungal ointment (such as this one from Lotrimin), lotion, powder or spray. If the condition does not improve, it may require prescription medication applied topically or taken orally.
Corns and Calluses
What: These are areas of affected skin that develop to protect an area from irritation. They’re typically caused by rubbing or excess pressure against part of the foot.
Treatment: Over-the-counter pads (like this top-rated option from Dr. Scholl’s) can be applied to the area, or simply soak your feet in warm water to soften them and make them easier to remove with a pumice stone or emery board to help remove a layer of thickened skin. Be careful, however, when using nonprescription corn removers or medicated corn pads since they contain salicylic acid, which can irritate healthy skin and lead to infection, especially in people with diabetes.
What: Among the most common nail problem, they are nails whose corners or sides dig into the soft tissue of nail grooves and can lead to irritation, redness and swelling.
Treatment: Soak feet in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day to reduce swelling and relieve tenderness. Apply antibiotic ointment on the tender area and bandage the toe.
What: An infection underneath the surface of the nail caused by fungi and characterized by a change in the nail’s quality and color.
Treatment: Over-the-counter remedies include anti-fungal nail creams and ointments. Or, trim and thin the nail to help reduce pain. This will also allow any topical drugs to reach deeper layers of the nail.
What: An enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe that forms when the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moves out of place.
Treatments: Over-the-counter non-medicated bunion pads (we recommend this option from Dr. Scholl’s) can alleviate discomfort, while padded shoe inserts like these from Fab Feet can help distribute pressure evenly when in motion. Try icing bunions after you’ve been on your feet too long, or if it becomes inflamed this can help relieve soreness and inflammation.
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