Foot care advice

 

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DISCLAIMER: The advice given in the ‘Foot care advice’ pages and in the answers within the Yourfootcare forum is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the advice of your own Podiatrist, GP or any other health care professional. Yourfootcare is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the web site. Always consult your own Podiatrist /GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.


ARTHRITIS

There are several different types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis and Gout. All of those listed can affect the feet. The three that most commonly affect the feet are detailed below.

Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately osteoarthritis at the base of the big toe is particularly  common. This is a degenerative disease that can cause the joint to become stiff and difficult to move, sometimes this results in the joint becoming totally immovable making walking painful. A bunion can also develop (see ‘Bunions’ in Catalogue).  The small toes can also be affected causing them to be clawed (see “toe problems” in catalogue). The fatty tissue that protects the sole of the feet under the toes becomes altered and gives the feeling of “walking on pebbles” (see “insoles” in catalogue to provide relief). The very structure of the feet are altered and this makes it sometimes difficult to find shoes that fit, this causes the inevitable formation of those painful corns that occur on the top of toes or on the sole of the foot. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This condition causes inflammation in many joints of the body, the feet and hands being particularly affected.  The joints of the toes are again very painful and the foot can sometimes lose the arch. The same loss of fatty tissue is again experienced on the sole of the foot.  Unfortunately all joints can be altered and the heel can sometimes give trouble changing its relationship to the rest of the foot (see “insoles” in catalogue).  

Gout

Gout is usually an acute condition making the big toe joint painful, red and swollen in appearance.  Your doctor will arrange for a blood test to confirm the condition. Today, treatment is very effective in counteracting this particular problem.

BALL of FOOT PAIN, Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is very much a general term applied to what everyone tends to call ‘ball of foot’ pain. It can be put down to many varied reasons such as arthritis to narrow footwear compressing the metatarsals. Whatever the reason it makes everyday walking uncomfortable and like toothache gnaws away until you do something to help! Each metatarsal should take the load equally, except the first one beneath the big toe which takes double the load through two little extra bones called Sessamoids.  Perhaps due to some change to the structure of the foot one or two of the metatarsals take an extra load causing pain and a tell tale callous formation on the sole of the foot corresponding to the increased load.  Sometimes the fatty pad that protects the metatarsal heads is thinner than normal—people describe this pain like walking on marbles or pebbles.

What can be done to help?

There are several options that can be considered.  In all cases compression of the bones of the foot should be ruled out by making sure appropriate width fittings are chosen in shoes. Just think what it would be like if someone held your hand in a strong handshake all day, then remember what can happen with narrow shoes to the metatarsal bones !

(See ‘Ball of Foot pain’ in the Catalogue) to purchase comfortable metatarsal bands with silicone gel incorporated to prevent that walking on marbles feeling. Alternatively one our most popular items is the silicone three-quarter insole which also supports the arch helping to offload the ball of the foot as well as cushion it. (Do make sure you have a little extra room in your shoes to accommodate this insole)  If  room in the shoe is a real problem, 3mm shock absorbing insoles can help too.

BUNIONS

An enlargement of the Metatarso-phalangeal joint, the joint at the base of your big toe is often called a Bunion or technically speaking Hallux Valgus.  This joint deformity often runs in families as do other foot deformities that can lead to the formation of a Bunion. The  increase in pressures on the big toe joint cause it to become unstable causing the deformity that shows as the  first toe deviating away towards the second. Individuals with a low or flat arch can also become more susceptible to the condition as do certain occupations such as ballet dancers. Tight footwear over a period of years can also cause its formation and those with arthritic conditions are prone to this uncomfortable problem.

What can be done to help?

There is no doubt that a Bunion can cause problems with footwear purchase, so it is important to choose shoes with a wide and deep toe-box.

It is also possible to find footwear with soft expandable uppers that accommodate the problem. The Catalogue offers several helpful products to protect the joint from excessive pressure from shoes and hence improve your comfort.  Silicone discs can be used to protect any vulnerable joint as can pre moulded silicone protective pads, see ‘Bunions’ in the Catalogue for further product information 

CORNS & CALLOUSES

Lets face it– corns are painful! Lots of people have them, but not everyone knows the best way to help treat them. Corns & callous are the body's way of telling you that you are overloading the skin with pressure,  so it protects the area by thickening up the skin. A central  section forms to become the area of greatest pain in the corn. Callouses can form for the same reason but can also be due to shearing stress,  that’s the stress that cause blisters too.  Shearing stress is caused when two surfaces move against  each other, result, an increase in callous.

How can they be treated?  

Good well fitted shoes will help! Reduce pressure immediately by using 5mm Chiropody felt with a small hole cut in it to relieve the corn after application use Tubular bandage and tape to keep it on. After this,  for your ongoing care, gel toe pads can be used to soften the skin (they contain mineral oil) and reduce pressure from footwear.

Callouses — reduce shearing stress by using stretched Fleeced Web Chiropody felt can also be cut to relieve a corn on the sole of the foot.  Diabetics in particular can help reduce shearing stress by using   The socks contain twin layers to cushion and cut the stress of movement against the skin.

The hard skin around your heels is best dealt with by using a quality cream such as Callusan Forte This has been stocked particularly because it contains Urea (>15%) which is very efficient at rehydrating the skin.  Skin fissures or cracks on the heel are particularly uncomfortable and often form when loose fitting backless sandals are worn or shoes that slip up and down at the heel area.  Simple callous file or ‘Foot Dresser’ can also be used to sand down difficult callouses.

FOOTCARE & DIABETES

Wash your feet daily in cool water, paying careful attention to cleaning between your toes. Use a basin to do this, performing this enables you to thoroughly check your feet for cuts or abrasions which in some people with diabetes can go unnoticed due to sensory loss. Change to clean socks/stockings daily (see ‘2 layer diabetic socks’and seamless socks in the catalogue as excellent products to help prevent blistering or potential friction ulcers)

If your skin is dry ‘Callusan Extra’ is a superb and effective light mousse that can be used to soften dry areas, it’s a very useful product to treat cracking and fissuring in the skin. (cracked skin has the potential to allow bacteria to enter the breaks). (see ‘Skin Care’ in the Catalogue)

Talcum powder can be used sparingly. Fungal infections should be dealt with speedily using ‘Lamisil’  cream(see ‘athletes foot’ in the Catalogue)  Please remember that good foot hygiene accompanied by examination is important and should always be completed daily.

Leather lace–up shoes/training shoes are recommended, they hold the feet firmly in place and prevent the foot from sliding forward. When purchasing new shoes ask for your feet to be measured each time, there may be some changes from the last time. Remember to check length, width and see that there is enough depth in the toe area. Protect the sole of your feet with a long lasting shock absorbing insole (see diabetic specification insoles and ‘fine 3mm shock absorbing insoles’ in the catalogue)

Awareness of heat and cold can also sometimes be diminished and circulation less efficient than a non-diabetic, so attention should be paid to avoiding overheated baths, sitting too close to a fire and keeping a hot water bottle in bed.

Cutting instruments should never be used on corns or callouses by individuals with diabetes, also never use corn paints/plasters, they contain strong acids which are very dangerous.  Always seek the attention of the Chiropodist/Podiatrist.

Cut your toe nails straight across using quality nail clippers (see ‘Nail Care’ in the Catalogue) paying careful attention to filing any sharp edges to prevent damage to the neighbouring toes.

Any minor injuries that do not appear to respond to your own treatment, should be shown immediately to your Chiropodist/Podiatrist as even a mild infection can upset your diabetes.  If you notice a change of colour, pain, throbbing, swelling or itching, in the foot, or a discharge coming from a break in the skin, from a corn or under a toe-nail consult your Podiatry Clinic or doctor immediately.

                       

 

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