Podiatry:
Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any general guidelines regarding shoes?
Shoes should be properly fitted and feet measured for accurate fit. It is best to shop afternoons or evening as feet tend to swell and are larger or shoes become tight late in the day. A shoe with a firm sole and soft upper with a low heel is best for daily activity. Higher heels and constrictive shoes lead to many foot problems that would be avoided by good shoe fit. Ideally shoes that tie stay on better, minimize slippage, and help avoid problems with feet. Wear shoes that are appropriate for the activity. For example, walking any distance in a dress high heel is going to cause discomfort and problems.

What are bunions?
Bunions are misaligned big toe joints that become swollen and tender. They are aggravated by tight shoes and on occasion are an arthritic deformity where the prominence is on top of the joint rather than on the side that hits the shoe. The great toe starts to angulate toward the other toes and can underlap, overlap or rub on the second toe. They tend to have a strong hereditary component, can run in families and can be aggravated by ill fitting shoes injuries or heavy activity. Conservative and surgical options can be considered.

What are hammertoes?
Hammertoes are the development of a claw like or bent appearance in the toes that causes the knuckle to stick up and rub against the shoe or the adjacent toes. Poor shoe fit can aggravate it but tendon imbalances from a variety of causes such as heredity or adaptive change can cause them. Injuries also can bring them on. Shoe, sock and hosiery pressure can all aggravate these. Simply adjusting the shoe, stocking fit or shoe padding or supports can sometimes alleviate the problem.

What are orthotic devices or orthosis?
Orthotic devices are items that are used to enhance function and comfort of parts of the body that are causing problems due to misalignment. In the case of in shoe orthosis, orthotic devices are used to create balance in out of line structures to enhance performance and relieve stress or pain. As a conservative option, orthotics can be used for a variety of ailments often times avoiding surgical intervention.

Are there any ideas for sweaty smelly feet?
Daily hygiene is the key. Feet must be bathed and washed -not just letting the shower water run over them. There are an estimated 250,000 sweat glands in the foot. Socks should be changed daily and in excessive cases more than once daily. Alternating shoes so they get a chance to air out is helpful and any shoes that get damp from the sweat or external sources need to be thoroughly dried. Foot powders and antiperspirants can be used on feet as well. If the nails have a lot of deposition or fungal build up they harbor odor and need to be kept filed down and clean.

How should I cut my nails?
Cut nails straight across and lightly file the ends if needed for roughness or to avoid sock or stocking catches. Avoid cutting them too short as this often leads to ingrown nails and avoid digging at the corners. There should be a short free edge of the nail on the end.

What if I have an ingrown nail?
Mild ingrown nails can be treated with mild soaks or cotton along the edge, but if they are red and painful will need professional attention. In many cases these need a local anesthetic to treat and can be as simple as removing the edge or can also require permanent removal of the edge border of sometimes the entire nail if it has severe chronic deformity.

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