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According to podiatrists, the foot is the most commonly neglected area of the human body. Despite the fact that it receives a workout daily, carrying you from place to place, seldom do we ever think of protecting or treating our feet with care until a problem arises.

BUNIONS
Bunions are abnormal "bumps of bone" that form alongside the big toe joint or on top of the big toe joint. Left untreated, bunions can lead to serious arthritic conditions or dislocation of the toe. Even a small bunion can cause you to walk improperly, doing damage to your arch, leg or back.

SYMPTOMS
A painful protruding bump near or on the big toe.
Red or "hot" areas around the big toe area.
Uncomfortableness while wearing shoes or walking.

CAUSES
The most common cause of bunions is heredity. If one of your parents suffered from bunions, there's a good chance that you will, too. Bunions can also form on their own for no particular reason.

TREATMENT
The early stages of a bunion, pain can be treated at home by soaking feet in warm water. If water fails to treat bunions successfully, a visit to the doctor is probably in order. Today, surgery for bunion removal is almost unheard of. Doctors most often treat painful bunions with physical therapy, orthotics, padding and medication.


CORNS
Corns occur on the feet when areas of skin are exposed to excess friction and pressure. When the foot continuously rubs on the inside of your shoe, the affected area thickens and forms what is known as a "corn."

SYMPTOMS
A thickening of skin on outside of small toe.
A painful area of skin on top of the foot or at toe joint.
A painful lump on top of toe.

TREATMENT
Wearing shoes that provide extra room for your toes is one of the simplest ways to treat corns and prevent their recurrence. Soft pads or patches can be worn to protect the toes from excess friction, also.

Corn removal can be done at home with over-the-counter patches that are pre-treated with medication. If this treatment fails to work in 7-10 days, see your doctor for corn removal.


CALLUSES
A callus is also a thickened area of skin caused by unnecessary friction. It most often occurs across the ball of the foot, but can also be found on the outer edge of the heel or on the big toe.

SYMPTOMS
Thickened areas of the skin on sole of foot.
Tender patches of skin on outer foot.
Pain when walking.

TREATMENT
Soaking the foot will often help to soothe the pain of a callus.

Wearing properly fitting shoes is the only way to prevent calluses. An extra thick cotton sock often sore, irritated feet absorb pressure.

Foot creams and lotions can be used following a soak to help sluff off dead skin.


ATHLETE'S FOOT
A chronic infection caused by fungus is known as Athlete's Foot. It is often spread in areas where large amounts of people go barefoot, such as public showering facilities and swimming pools.

SYMPTOMS
Mild scaling in between toes or on foot.
Painful blisters on sole of foot.
Red, irritated patches between toes and on top of foot.
Irritation at the arch of the foot.

TREATMENT
Athlete's Foot is best treated with anti-fungal medications. Most conditions can be successfully cured with over-the-counter remedies available in spray, cream and lotion form. More serious cases, may require a doctor's attention.

Foot soaks may help to relieve itching and minor pain.

BLISTERS
Foot blisters often form as a result of too much exercise, ill fitting shoes or lack of protection.

SYMPTOMS
A painful red area anywhere on the foot.
A sac filled irritated spot on the foot.

TREATMENT
Keeping a blister clean will help prevent infection. Before and after the blister has drained, wash foot thoroughly and keep them dry and comfortable by wearing thick, cotton socks and comfortable shoes.

Wearing a "donut" or "patch" will help to comfort the area of the blister and prevent it from bursting.

Some people slice or prick their blister open, allowing it to drain. If you choose to do this, be certain to keep your foot clean during the entire procedure, and follow this treatment with an extended soak.

Soaking the foot in hot water often helps a blister to soften and drain naturally.

It is definitely not advisable to do that without a medical superviser.