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Foot Concerns

Foot ConcersThe human foot is unique in structure compared to other mammals. This is because humans are biped and the human foot undergoes lot of stress. On an average a human walks more than 10,000 steps in a day, hence we can imagine the kind of stress the tissues, muscles and bones of the foot undergo everyday. It is important to take good care of your feet and visit a podiatrist periodically to prevent any problem from blowing up.

Some of the common problems in foot are described in the subsequent paragraphs:

Calluses & Corns

Another common problem faced my most people is corns & calluses. Both are thickening of the outer layer of the skin. Corns are located on top of the foot or between the toe-joint. Calluses are located on the bottom of the foot or on the rim of the toe or heel.
The easiest way available to reduce them is to reduce the friction. Moleskin patches, soft pads, softer shoes are also recommended. In extreme cases the tissue buildup requires a doctor's intervention. Custom made shoe inserts known as orthoses are also prescribed to reduce friction and pressure. 

Heel pain

Also known as plantarfasciitis, it is a common problem and most individuals face this problem at least once in their life time. The main cause of heel pain is flat foot. While walking if the foot flattens too much, the ligament fascia overstretches causing pain and swelling. Fascia is the ligament joining the heel to the ball of the foot.

On the other hand if the foot flattens too less the fascia may be pulled too tight causing pain. Pain is felt in the interiors of the foot where the heel and the arch meet. Usually painkillers are sufficient. However, in extreme cases surgically releasing the fascia may be needed to reduce the stress. Obesity and overuse of the foot may cause the tissue to tear or pull away from the bone. This is very painful and causes inflammation. The treatment usually involves cortisone, anti-inflammatory and archtaping. Physical therapy, night splints and specially designed orthoses may also be used. Exercises are recommended to stretch the tissue. Usually 6 or more months are needed to heal the tissue.

Problems of the Nails

Problems in the nails are another common problems and proper foot hygiene can help in preventing these problems. Nails sometimes become curved, infected, grooved, discolored, pitted etc. Sometimes nails fall off and a new one may grow in its place. They are generally caused due to injury, tumors under the nail, infection, congenital problems, poor foot hygiene etc. The first line of treatment is to identify the cause and treat it first before trying to tackle the nail problem.

Ageing is a major cause for many problems. The nails become brittle with age and many times narrow ridges or grooves are formed on the nails. The nails also become brittle and thick with age.

Ingrown Toe-nails

Almost everybody suffers from ingrown toe-nails during some or the other time in their life. The nail corners dig into the tissue of the toes leading to infection, pus formation and sometimes inflammation also. This can be treated by antibiotics and by removing the wedged toe nail by minor surgery. The surgery is done by giving local anesthesia. The main causes for ingrown toe nails are activities like sports, aerobics, work etc. 

Ingrown toe nails can be prevented by trimming the toe nails straight across and longer than the end of the toes. Rounding off of the corners should be avoided. Nails should be cut using toenail clippers. Smoothing the nails using files or emery boards is beneficial. The most important thing to do is to wear properly fitting shoes and not short or narrow shoes. Regularly washing feet especially between the toes is recommended.

Problems in Children's Feet

The problems in children's feet are very different compared to that of an adult because the bones of children's are very flexible and soft. This makes them very prone to twisting and distortion. The problems are further compounded as children are not aware of the problem most of the times. It is always advisable to take your children for check ups on regular basis and get confirmed that he is fit and healthy in every respect.

If you notice problems like knock knees or abnormal gait etc podiatrists must be consulted early on as the problems can be treated easily in childhood. The best exercise recommended by doctors is walking for children. Walking bare feet in grass is also advisable as it helps in proper alignment of the bones in the feet.Self medication should be avoided for problems and a doctor's advice should be sought. The medicine course should be completed as a general practice, always remember that if a course is not completed the medicine can have adverse effect on your child's health.
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