Having healthy-looking feet means more than just painting your nail

Having healthy-looking feet means more than just painting
some pretty nail varnish on your toes.

SWEATY FEET

It is important to keep your feet clean and as dry as you can. However, the sole of the foot contains thousands of sweat glands so feet which have been kept hidden away in winter shoes and boots during cold and rainy days are prone to problems because warm, dark moist places encourage  such as athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections and verrucas. On top of this, bacteria that cause smelly feet flourish on warm, moist skin.

Make sure your shoes and socks are made from natural fibres and try and let your feet ‘breathe’ as much as possible.

The simplest way to deal with sweaty feet is to use a foot powder or antiperspirant. However, this may be insufficient in some people who have truly sweaty feet and have a condition called hyperhidrosis.

PAINFUL CONDITIONS

The most important thing is to vary the type of shoe and heel that you wear in order to reduce the repetitive strain on any one particular area of the foot. A low-heeled shoe will help with Achilles tendon problems and also plantar fasciitis.

Heel pain (called plantar fasciitis) can be caused by summery shoes such as flip-flops or ballet pumps. If you suffer from any of these see your Podiatrist.

If you have bunions (an enlargement of tissue around the big toe) or hammer toes (when your second, third or fourth toes are permanently bent) winter shoes can be very unforgiving. If you are having regular problems seek advice from a Podiatrist who will be able to give you different treatment options, and recommend a surgeon if needed.

 

CRACKED HEELS

Thick cracked skin on the heels is very common and the best way to deal with this is to start off with a visit to your Podiatrist who will remove the hard skin, and then advise on a home maintenance regime, which will involve the use of a foot cream (Gehwol foot care products).

Home maintenance will also include regular use of pumice to keep the skin smooth. Make sure the foot is nice and dry and gradually file the skin. If you are diabetic the skin loses its ability to sweat which is very important in naturally moisturising your feet and preventing cracking. If you have also lost skin sensation, these cracks may not be noticed or healed and this can lead on to significant problems. In this situation it is essential that you see a Podiatrist (chiropodist) regularly for your foot care rather than taking it on yourself. This is also true if you have circulatory problems in your feet.

TOENAILS

Make sure you cut your toenails properly as painful conditions can occur without care.

Keep your nails trimmed. Undercutting the end of the nail in this way increases the risk of the nail edge growing forward into the nail – a so-called ‘in-growing toe nail’. Cutting them too short also encourages this to occur.

Thickened, yellow, brittle nails are a sign of a fungal nail infection. Treating this infection can be very difficult and it is best to make sure that you get nail clippings sent off to the lab before starting any anti-fungals.

Identification of the exact cause and targeted anti-fungal treatment increases the chance of success but beware as this can take several months. Sweaty feet make this more difficult.

GENERAL CARE

It’s a good idea to have a regular foot care routine to keep you feet healthy.

If you are diabetic, make sure you inspect them regularly, especially if you have lost the feeling in them.

Firstly wash your feet in warm water, preferably with an anti-bacterial soap. Make sure you dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes as the skin here is prone to a fungal infection called athlete’s foot. When dried, moisturise your feet.

Hard skin can be rubbed with a pumice stone when you are washing your feet. Severe hard skin on the sole is usually down to excessive pressure and you really ought to see a Podiatrist (chiropodist) to have this removed or protected with insoles.”

A verruca on the other hand has a dark centre and is more discrete. It is caused by the human papilloma virus.

ATHLETE’S FOOT

Scaly, itchy feet can be due to athlete’s foot and it is actually quite common for this to be resistant to treatment with the standard over-the-counter preparations.

If this is the case you should see you GP as oral medications may be required.

Make sure that you treat your socks and shoes with powder as well as these can harbour the fungus and cause re-infection.

Please seek professional advice if you are diabetic, have circulatory problems, or want more information.

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About Your feet and podiatry with Caron Orelowitz | Registered Podiatrist - Auckland

Caron Orelowitz was born in Johannesburg and emigrated to New Zealand in 1997. She studied Podiatry at The Witwatersrand Technikon and was in private practice in South Africa for a few years, before setting off to ‘the other side of the world’. Auckland Podiatry. Since 1998 she has been helping people of all ages who have problems with their feet, from the elderly, to sports people, and those who just want some TLC for the feet. At present she has 5 practices (with a satellite Diabetes Practice out West Auckland), owns a children’s shoe shop (Scooters in Remuera), and tries to fit in some exercise when time permits. Caron is an active member of Podiatry New Zealand (NZ), and holds the position of Treasurer for the Auckland Branch, as well as representing the Northern Region on the Executive Council. She is registered under HPCAA (Health Practitioner Competency Assurance Act), and is often seen attending (and organizing) Seminars and workshops. Caron has a special interest in Paediatrics and can often be seen on the floor showing children some exercises. ACC registered Discounts for Super Gold Card Holders, members of Grey Power and Green Prescription participants. www.thepodiatrist.co.nz www.yourfeet.co.nz

Posted on June 11, 2011, in Contact a Podiatrist, What is a Podiatrist, Your feet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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