What To Do About Serious Aches And Pains In Your Feet

You ask a lot of your hands and feet. You cram your feet into shoes and walk around all day. And you may apply great force to your hands as you work with tools in your job or at home. These actions subject your skin to friction and pressure. Your skin often protects itself by building up corns and calluses — thick, hardened layers of skin. Treatment for corns and calluses usually involves avoiding the repetitive actions that causes them to develop. Wearing properly fitting shoes, using protective pads and other self-care measures can help resolve them. A study reported in Health News(June 1998, page 5) established that regular walking in high heels may also cause arthritic knees and hips, conditions that affect twice as many women as men. High heels prevent the ankles from functioning as they should, causing added strain to the hips and knees. For those of you who are saying “I don’t have severe discomfort wearing heels; heels are just part of my life and I’m used to them,” you are only fooling yourselves. Consider Chinese women at the turn of the century who had their feet bound. For some of them, the inevitable, daily pain was just part of their life, too.bunion callus Cut odor. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes (or boots) two days in a row; this gives each pair a chance to air out. Powders like Dr. Scholl's Original Foot Powder ($5; drugstore.com) can help lessen odor too. While ingrown toenails may be linked to a hereditary circumstance of poor nail shape, in many cases, pressure from tight shoes can cause trauma to the toenails. The APMA recommends trimming nails straight across and keeping them clean and dry. (Those with diabetes and circulatory problems should visit a podiatrist for nail maintenance.) The big toe is the other common site for a corn, also called a callus. Hard corns can appear under the ends of foot bones, on the top of the toe, or on the side of the small toe. Soft corns can develop between the toes. Corns are caused by pressure and friction on the skin of your foot from ill-fitting shoes (too loose is as bad as too tight), ill-fitting socks, high-heeled shoes, or toe deformities such as a hammertoe, the AAOS says. Treatment for a corn involves changing the shoe to relieve the pressure. Corns are calluses that form on the top or sides of toes as a result of the bone pushing against the shoe. The skin thickens and builds up, irritating the tissues underneath. Ill-fitting shoes are the leading cause of corns, but can also be caused by hammertoes. At-home treatments include soaking feet regularly and using a pumice stone or callus file to soften and reduce the size of the corn. Over-the-counter foam pads can also help relieve the pressure. A doctor can usually diagnose a bunion by looking at it. A foot x-ray can show an abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot and, in some cases, arthritis.