The foot is the part of the body furthest from the heart; thus, the feet are often the first to suffer from inadequate blood supply due to circulatory problems. Keep your feet wrapped up (try microwavable slippers) and have an occasional foot massage to keep the blood flowing.
Chilblains are an extreme reaction to cold, in which superficial blood vessels contract excessively causing skin to go pale and numb, then red, swollen, and itchy. To help prevent chilblains, keep feet and legs warm. Take a vitamin E supplement to help.
An ingrown toenail occurs most frequently in the big toe. As the nail grows deeper into the flesh the toe becomes infected, then red, shiny and swollen with a throbbing pain. Don’t clip your nails down too far and cut them evenly across.
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is usually picked up from walking barefoot across communal changing rooms. The infection starts between the little toe and the one next to it. At first the skin is itchy and sore. Then it starts to crack and peel and can spread to toe nails and soles of the foot. Don’t wear shoes without socks or tights and wear footwear which allows your feet to breath.
Fungal nail infections occurs when a fungi infects the nails. Symptoms of a fungal infection may include brittleness, discoloration, thickening and crumbling of the nail. Treatment of this condition is either Lamisil tablets (prescription only) or fungal solution/cream preparations. Apply Vapor Rub to infected toenails morning and night.
Corns and callouses
Corns occurring on top and sides of toes are usually due to pressure from shoes. Callouses usually form on the soles of the feet, especially around the heels. Useful treatments for corns and callous are reusable gel pads and adhesive paddings. Use a pumice stone and then apply papaya juice on the affected area.
A bunion is usually characterized by a lump or bump that is red, swollen and/or painful on the inside of the foot in and around the big toe joint. The primary cause is ill-fitting shoes. Useful treatments for bunions are anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and Ibuprofen. Cold ice-pack compresses to reduce swelling. Use gel pads and adhesive paddings to reduce pressure over joint.
Dry, cracked skin and heel fissures
Dry skin can lead to the painful problem of cracking and fissuring of the skin especially round the edge of the heels. This condition is sometimes associated with wearing open backed shoes with the rim of the sole causing the irritation. A soft density gel heel protector pad will help to reduce stress on the heels. Take three spoons of honey and mix in one teaspoonful sesame oil. Warm and apply on the affected areas.
Verrucae are caused by a virus and are contagious. Characteristically the verruca appears like a cauliflower pattern with black spots or streaks through it. Conservative treatments include topical medicines or your chiropodist/podiatrist may use a series of freezing methods (liquid nitrogen) or electrosurgery to eradicate the problem.
Thick toenails and ridged nails
Thickening of the nail may be caused by a fungal infection, injury trauma or the gradual irritation of a tight shoe. The nail bed and root can become irreversibly damaged, causing the nail to grow thick and discoloured. Irrespective of the cause, the nail should be cut with nail clippers and filed down to as normal a thickness as possible so that the pressure on the toe is relieved.