My patients often ask me, "why do I have this condition?” and “how can I avoid getting it again?" Actually, there are many foot problems which can be prevented by patients themselves.
Here are some tips for you...
For ingrown toenails:
- Try to cut your nails straight across (don’t take too much off the corners).
- Don’t cut your nails too short - they should be even with the tips of your toes.
- Wear proper-fitting shoes and avoid pointy, narrow, toe box shoes.
- When the toes are inflamed, bathe your foot in a bowl of warm salty water for 3 minutes daily. This should calm the inflammation and any pain down.
- If you have corns on the tips of your toes, try using a toe prop to lift up your toes. You can buy them in chemists or online.
- If you have a corn on the top of your toe joints, try using corn rings to redistribute pressure away from the corns.
- If you have corns between your toes, try wearing a toe separator so that the toes don't rub each other.
- If you have corns on the sole of your foot, try wearing an insole that with a cut out at the location of the corn to help redistribute the pressure.
For Callus / hard skin:
- Cream your foot daily! Cream which contains urea is the best. If your callus is very thick and has lots of cracks, use 25% urea based cream (e.g. flexitol, CCS, etc.) to start with. When it is under control, you can change to 5% or 10% urea based cream for ongoing maintenance.
- Wear cushioning insoles, e.g. gel, poron or memory foam based insoles.
For athlete’s foot: keep the foot dry and clean!
- Always dry between your toes after bathing or swimming.
- Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe.
- Wear cotton socks that allow moisture (i.e. sweat) to be absorbed.
- Change socks daily.
- Use surgical spirit to clean between the toes if the web spaces between the toes become very damp and wet.
- If antifungal cream is used, a strict regime should be followed: use it twice daily and continue for at least 1 month. Fungal spores live under the skin much longer. You might find that the feet look much better after a week of treatment but it does not mean the fungal spores have been eliminated. If you stop too early or forget to apply the cream, the fungus will develop resistance to the treatment!
For blister prevention and blister self-care:
- Choose well-fitting shoes.
- Wear two pairs of socks.
- Use blister patches or plasters
- Although it is not recommended that you burst blisters by yourself, if you do decide to do this anyway, make sure that whatever you use to do so is sterile by using the following procedure:
- Clean your hands and blisters thoroughly.
- Sterilise a needle with boiling water or an alcohol swab.
- Swab the blister with iodine or an alcohol swab.
- Puncture the blister to allow it to drain.
- Then, use sterile cotton swab to absorb the fluid. Leave the overlying skin in place and then cover it with a sterile non-adherent dressing (e.g. melolin).
- Keep the wound dry and clean and change the dressing every other day until it is better.
Well, those are the tips – I hope you find them useful. If you have any foot complaints and would like further advice please get in touch with us today.
For more information on Katy Noble, our podiatrist, please click here.