3 foot problems to boot out

We don’t all have people to break in our shoes like the Queen of England does, so we must take care of our feet ourselves

Published - July 18, 2017 04:54 pm IST

Our feet bear the brunt of our weight, bad weather (all that sweating in summer and rain water in wet weather) and all our HIIT exercises. Plus, they may get infected when there’s a problem with the body. Here are the most common foot troubles and how to tackle them.

1. Heel pain

“Heel pain could also be due to an inflammation in the plantar fascia (the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes) and the retrocalcaneal bursa (the back of the ankle near the heel),” says Dr V Ramnarayan, consultant orthopaedic and podiatric surgeon, Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre.

For the former, a podiatrist may recommend medical-arch-supported footwear; for the latter, he might advise you to use a heel raise of 1 cm. Who’s most susceptible? “Those who have flat feet tend to face biomechanical problems (issues with foot mechanics). This can be sorted out by recreating the arch in footwear,” he says.

Depending on how severe the problem is, your doctor may ask you to buy what exists in the market, or may put you in touch with experts who customise it. It’s not just about the arch—the way your foot falls, body weight and several other factors are taken into account. In the case of swelling of the bursa, you just may be overdoing physical activity. Your doctor will likely advise cold therapy and even physiotherapy to help you avoid further damage.

2. Corns, calluses and dark nails

“I see a lot of what I call ‘The Holiday Syndrome’,” says Gurgaon-based podiatrist Dr Govind Singh Bisht. What he is referring to is a collective effect of nail haematoma (nail bed injuries), blood clot, corns and calluses that might arise when you wear new footwear for a long stretch in a day.

“A number of people buy a new pair of footwear specifically for a holiday and wear it for almost eight to 10 hours a day,” he says. Ideally, when you buy a new pair, you must wear it two to three hours a day initially. Also, you don’t want to crush your nails towards the front of the shoes.

When shopping, ask yourself: ‘Are they wide enough? Well-padded with a firm heel counter? Do they have enough depth and stability? Do they absorb shock?’ “Shoes that you use regularly, need to be changed once in 10 months as they lose shock-absorbing capabilities,” he says.

And a good time to buy your footwear is in the latter half of the day because, for most, feet tend to swell as the day proceeds.

3. Cuts, blisters and swelling

Now, for people living with diabetes, the set of rules is a notch stricter. “Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters and swelling. And whenever you are heading out, use soft cotton socks, washing them after each use,” says Dr Ramnarayan.

Ideally, wear footwear both indoors and outdoors and cut nails straight, in a curved manner.

Also, your footwear should preferably not have metal or threads on the inside,” says Dr Ramnarayan. “I tell my patients: ‘You look at your face in the mirror every day, right? Check your feet too’.”

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