The Feet We Like to Hate, but Need to Love
If you've got two of these, tread lightly and toe the line — miserable conditions can afflict them if you're not careful
If you’re the owner of a foot or two, you know how important they are in your day-to-day life. They not only bear your body weight on the regular (which is pretty impressive, considering their size relative to the rest of your body), but they also, of course, help you walk, climb, and run.
It’s no surprise that your feet, which are on the ground or encased in footwear, can develop unsightly problems — some of which can be downright gross, embarrassing, or even painful. Here’s some of the unpleasant things that can happen to our feet — and how to take care of them:
Athlete’s foot. So named due to its prominence in athletes, athlete’s foot describes a foot infection, usually of the fungal variety — and even if you’re not a sportsball player, you can get it too. It can be caused by wearing tight-fitting shoes with poor ventilation, and it can also be picked up from others who have left bits of it behind on floors, clothing, or towels. It’s itchy and can be painful and is usually treated with antifungal creams.
Blisters. Ah, blisters. They rise forth from friction and are the unhappy result of wearing ill-fitting shoes … or doing things, like running, that you’re not accustomed to doing. It can be miserable to have a blister anywhere on your foot, so try to prevent them if you can by using friction-reducing socks, giving your feet time to rest in between pounding the pavement and using paper tape in blister-prone areas.
Bunions. Bunions are those big bumps on the inside of the foot at the joint of your big toe, and develop over time, usually due to pressure on the joint (although there may be other causes). Wearing roomy shoes can often help relieve any pain, and surgery is an option, but it’s usually reserved for the most extreme and painful cases.
Corns and calluses. These are fun little guys (not really) that reside on certain parts of your feet. Their trademarks are thick, rough areas of skin, hardened bumps, tenderness or pain or flaky skin (sounds great, right?). Unless painful (or they’re really infringing on your foot game), treatment usually consists of avoiding the repetitive actions that caused them in the first place.
Nail fungus. Yes, more fungus talk — sorry. While athlete’s foot sticks to the fleshy part of your feet, nail fungus targets your toenails. It can wreak havoc on your piggies, turning your healthy nails into thickened, brittle, crumbly nightmares. Treatment can help, and may even involve medicated nail polish (which probably sounds more fun than it actually is).
Ingrown toenails. When your toenail decides to be awful and starts to dig into your flesh (usually on the side of a big toe), then you’ve developed an ingrown toenail — congrats. There are a few treatment options, but toenail and underlying tissue removal doesn’t always have to be part of it.
Cracked heels. Also known as heel fissures, these are cracks in the skin of your heel, which can be compounded by calluses, and if they’re super-deep, they can hurt pretty badly. So, not only are they annoying, they can be painful, too. Opting to buy a foot file yourself can help prevent or heal them (when paired with an awesome lotion), but there is also that weird “baby foot” thing that may help.
Psoriasis. This can occur anywhere on the body, but it can be particularly annoying if it lands on your tootsies. Diagnosis should come from a doc, who can work with you to come up with a treatment plan.
Plantar warts. Warts are aggravating and it can be a challenge to get rid of them, but when the little jerks grow on the bottom of your feet, they can hurt too. Plantar warts, as they are called, usually occur on the bottoms of your feet, which means you’re putting pressure on them — and it’s painful.
If they’re hurting and your at-home wart removal isn’t going as planned, go see a doc, who can treat them.
So, if you have feet, there are a few miserable conditions that can afflict them.
Sometimes we can treat them at home, and other times we’ll need to visit a doc — and in still other cases, we have to learn to live with them.
This article originally appeared in SheKnows and is used by permission.