One of the most common foot problems we see is bunions, which also referred to as Hallux Valgus. The bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of the foot around the big toe joint. The bone, which protrudes towards the inside of the foot, can sometimes push the big toe under or over the second toe.
Although bunions are a common foot deformity, there are many misconceptions about them. People may even go about their lives not realizing they have a bunion, because it does not initially cause pain. Bunions are a progressive disorder in which the bump becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, but some people may not exhibit any.
Treating Your Bunion: Tips from Your Podiatrist
Since bunions are bone deformities, they do not resolve by themselves. The first goal of bunion treatment is to relieve the pressure and pain that is caused by irritations, while the second is to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement. Some common methods used for treating your bunion and reducing pressure include:
- Protective padding to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
- Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
- Carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
- Orthotic devices to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
- Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
- Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly.
When early treatments fail, or your bunion begins to worsen over time, a consultation with your podiatrist will be needed. Depending on the size of the enlargement and pain, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. It is important to not ignore foot pain, as it can worsen over time. Protect your feet and seek treatment immediately.
Understanding Heel Pain with Help from Your Podiatrist
- Wear shoes that fit well
- Wear proper shoes for each activity
- Do not wear shoes with excessive wear on heels or soles
- Prepare properly before exercising by stretching and warming up
- Pace yourself when you participate in athletic activities
- Don’t underestimate your body’s need for rest and good nutrition
- Lose excess weight
Practice Routine Foot Care
- Wash your feet daily with warm water. Whenever you get your feet wet, make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Keep skin soft and smooth with foot cream (ask your podiatrist for suggestions). Apply it to the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not put lotion between the toes to avoid causing an infection.
- Scrub your feet, especially the heels, with a foot scrubber or pumice stone on a regular basis to remove calluses and dead skin.
- Trim toenails once a week, cutting the nails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.
- In the sun, apply sunscreen to protect your exposed feet.
- To keep you feet dry and odor free, make use of products like foot powders and sprays.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Inspect Your Feet Regularly
Small Foot Problems Can Lead to Bigger Problems
- Ulcers that don’t heal
- Cracked heels
- Ingrown toenails
Keep Your Feet Healthy with Proper Foot Hygiene
- Wash your feet daily with lukewarm water and mild soap, making sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Keep the skin on your feet smooth and soft by applying a non-irritating moisturizer, avoiding the areas between the toes. Doing so can help prevent cracks and sores that lead to infection.
- Avoid ingrown toenails than can get infected by keeping them neatly trimmed straight across.
- Wear clean, dry socks and change them every day.
- Avoid walking barefoot to protect feet from harmful foreign particles.
- Never attempt to remove corns, calluses or other sores from your feet on your own. See your podiatrist for safe and pain-free removal.
You often worry about your children’s teeth, eyes, and other parts of their body. You teach them how to wash, brush and groom, but what do you do about your child’s feet as they are still developing? Many adult foot ailments, as with other health issues, have their origins in childhood, and can be present at birth. Periodic professional attention from your podiatrist and regular foot care can minimize these problems.
Neglecting your child’s foot health creates negative effects on other parts of the body, such as the legs and back. Foot health begins in childhood because your child’s feet must carry him or her for a lifetime. Your child’s life is certain to be happier and more enjoyable if you have your child develop strong, healthy feet as he or she grows into adulthood.
Your Podiatrist Explains: The Early Years
The human foot is one of the most complicated parts of the body, with 26 bones as well as ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. The feet of an infant are soft and pliable, and abnormal pressure can cause deformities. In the first year, a child’s foot grows rapidly, reaching almost half their adult foot size. Podiatrists consider the first year to be the most important in regards to development. To help ensure normal growth, allow your baby to kick and stretch his or her feet, and make sure shoes and socks do not squeeze their toes.
Your toddler will walk when he or she is ready, and you should try not to force this act. Watch your child’s gait once he or she begins to walk. Pay close attention to see if their toe touches first in their step instead of the heel, or if your child always sits while others actively play. Many toddlers have a pigeon-toed gait, which is normal, and some initially learn to walk landing on their toes instead of their heels. Most children outgrow these problems, but they could be a sign of a problem that will continue into adulthood without treatment.
Footwear for your Child
Children should not wear shoes until they can walk, so avoid pram shoes, which are normally soft, and usually made to match outfits. For babies, avoid tightly wrapped blankets that prevent kicking and leg movement. Walking barefoot in the home, where it's safe, is good for children. Your child’s feet are vulnerable to deformity from any ill-fitting footwear until the bones are completely formed at about 18 years of age. In addition, socks made from natural materials are better for your child’s feet than stretch-fit socks.
When buying shoes for your child, the shape of the shoe and the toe area should be wide and round, allowing for toes to move and spread. It is also important for the shoe to have a lace or a buckle. Without this, your child’s toes will claw to hold the shoe on, much the same way you may find yourself doing when you wear flip flops. The heel of the shoe should not be too high, as high heels can also result in foot deformity.
Start early in taking care of your children’s feet, because neglecting foot health is an invitation for severe problems. Contact your podiatrist for further consultation on your child’s growing, active feet. Having strong, healthy feet allows your child to walk, run and play. Take extra precautions to protect their feet, so they may experience a lifetime of healthy activity.
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