Common Foot Problems continued...
Warts are skin growths caused by viruses.
They are sometimes painful and if untreated, may spread. Since over-the-counter
preparations rarely cure warts, get professional care. A doctor can apply
medicines, burn or freeze the wart off, or remove the wart
Bunions develop when big toe joints are out
of line and become swollen and tender. Bunions may be caused by poor-fitting
shoes that press on a deformity or an inherited weakness in the foot. If a
bunion is not severe, wearing shoes cut wide at the instep and toes may provide
relief. Protective pads can also cushion the painful area. Bunions can be
treated by applying or injecting certain drugs, using whirlpool baths, or
sometimes having surgery.
Ingrown toenails occur when a piece of the
nail breaks the skin. This is usually caused by improperly trimmed nails.
Ingrown toenails are especially common in the large toes. A podiatrist or
doctor can remove the part of the nail that is cutting into the skin. This will
allow the area to heal. Ingrown toenails can usually be avoided by cutting the
toenail straight across and level with the top of the toe.
Hammertoe is caused by shortening the tendons
that control toe movements. The toe knuckle is usually enlarged, drawing the
toe back. Over time, the joint enlarges and stiffens as it rubs against shoes.
Your balance may be affected. Hammertoe is treated by wearing shoes and
stockings with plenty of toe room. In advanced cases, surgery may be
Spurs are calcium growths that develop on
bones of the feet. They are caused by muscle strain in the feet and are
irritated by standing for long periods of time, wearing badly fitting shoes, or
being overweight. Sometimes they are completely painless, but at other times
the pain can be severe. Treatments for spurs include using proper foot support,
heel pads, heel cups, or other recommendations by a podiatrist or
For More Information on Foot Care, Write to Either of the
American Podiatric Medical Association
9312 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society
222 South Prospect
Park Ridge, IL 60068
The National Institute on Aging Offers a Variety of Information about
Health and Aging, for a List of Publications, Contact
NIA Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057