Monday June 9 2014

Common foot problems and how to prevent them

If you develop corns, it is advisable to seek medical attention because it could be a symptom of an underlying condition.

If you develop corns, it is advisable to seek medical attention because it could be a symptom of an underlying condition. 

By Emmy Omongin

There are close to 26 bones in a single foot, and any of them can be broken at any one time. One of the common foot problems we experience are fractures. Today we look at other foot diseases and infections we are most likely to contract and how to prevent them;

Fungal and bacterial conditions
Anthony Omoding, a doctor at Gaba Medical Centre, says such infections are got mainly because our feet spend a lot of time in shoes. “This is a warm, dark, humid place that is perfect for fungus to grow. Fungal and bacterial conditions can cause dry skin, redness, blisters, and the infections may reoccur,” he says.

To prevent infections, one should keep their feet, especially the area between the toes, clean and dry. “Change your shoes and socks or stockings often in order to keep your feet dry,” says the doctor.

Try dusting your feet daily with foot powder if you get an infection. “If your foot condition does not get better within two weeks, consult your doctor,” Dr Omoding advises.

He adds that warts (skin growths caused by viruses) are one of the many foot problems. They are sometimes painful and, if untreated, may spread to other body parts. “Since personal treatments seldom cure warts, seek medical attention,” he advises.

According to Dr Fredrick Kizito, a general practitioner at Nsambya hospital, spurs are calcium growths that develop on bones of your feet. They are caused by muscle strain in the feet.

Standing for long periods of time, wearing tight fitting shoes, or being overweight can make spurs worse. “Sometimes spurs are completely painless at other times they can be very painful. Treatment includes using foot supports, heel pads, and heel cups. Sometimes surgery is needed when they are worse,” he warns.

Foot pain
Ideally, Dr Kizito says foot pain can be debilitating to an active lifestyle. It can have many sources, from fractures and sprains to nerve damage. He outlines;

Plantar fasciitis. This is characterised by severe pain in the heel of the foot, especially when standing up after resting.
The condition is an outcome of injury on the surface of the foot and results in swelling of the front.

Plantar fasciitis is more common in women, people who are overweight, people with occupations that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces and people with flat feet. Walking or running, especially with tight calf muscles, may also cause the condition.

Treatment: Resting, ice pack applications on the aching area or stretching exercises of the Achilles tendons and plantar fascia.

Corns and calluses: These are caused by bombardment and pressure when the bony parts of your feet rub against your shoes. If you have corns or calluses, see a doctor.

Sometimes, wearing shoes that fit better or using special pads in your shoes solves the problem. Treating corns and calluses yourself may be harmful, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation. Your feet take the whole weight of your body, so it is important to take good care of them.