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Dealing with unsightly foot problems

During the summer months, your feet are often on display, and that can be a source of discomfort and stress if you’re dealing with unsightly foot problems. We take a look at the three most common foot ailments and some possible remedies for each.

Foot pain from bunions



According to Dr. William C. Shiel Jr., a board-certified rheumatologist, bunions occur when joints at the base of the toe become enlarged and reposition themselves. The most common form of bunion is seen on the big toe, and it causes the toe to move outward and point toward the smaller toes. This is often accompanied by the joint becoming red, swollen and sometimes tender and painful. Bunions also occur occasionally on the smallest toe of the foot. Though there is no proven cause of bunions, there has been some suggestion that both genetic factors and the wearing of tight, ill-fitting shoes may be to blame.


Preliminary treatment of bunions involves resting the affected foot and wearing wider, more comfortable shoes. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Regular stretching of the foot and occasionally a bunion splint can be recommended as well. If bunions become serious enough, more invasive methods — such as a shot of cortisone to the area, for example — are an option, and if nothing else proves effective, surgery may be necessary.



The A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia defines warts as small growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus. They are most commonly rough, raised, oval-shaped growths on the skin, but they can also have smoother, flatter surfaces, and their colouring can vary.


Warts on the feet can be treated with over-the-counter medications. When skin is damp, file down the affected area to remove dead tissue. Be careful to use this particular file for only this purpose so as not to spread the virus. Apply the medicine as directed on a daily basis until the wart disappears completely. It may take weeks or months for the wart to go away, so it is crucial that you apply the medication regularly. If warts are painful, a foot cushion can help, or your doctor may choose to cut away some of the excess skin that has built up around it. If these methods are not effective, your doctor may elect to remove the wart through freezing, burning or laser treatment.

Ingrown toenails


According to e-medicinehealth, ingrown toenails occur when the sharp edge of the toenail digs into the skin on the side or front of the toe. This causes pain and inflammation at the contact point and can lead to excess skin building up or the draining of a yellow fluid. If left untreated, an ingrown toenail can become infected or lead to an abscess that requires surgical treatment.


To treat the condition at home, wash your feet with soap and water twice daily, keep them clean and dry throughout the day and avoid wearing high heels or tight-fitting shoes. To cope with the pain, roll a small piece of cotton between your fingers, lift up the corner of the affected nail and place the cotton between the skin and the nail. This process may be painful to accomplish, but it should help in the long run. Change the cotton daily. The process of growing out the toenail could take up to two weeks. If you do not notice any change after a few days, however, contact your doctor. He or she may choose to either use a splint, cut the nail to alter its growth shape or remove extra tissue that has built up.

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