Healthy Feet, Happy Feet

An expert's fixes for four common foot problems.

By Michael F. Roizen | MD from Reader's Digest | June 2007

     

  • 1.

    Plantar Warts

    These painful warts, caused by strains of the same virus that’s behind any wart, occur on the bottom of the foot (the plantar surface). A cut or scrape on your foot is a point of entry for the virus; prevent warts by keeping the area clean and dressed. Over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments, like Compound W, break down the tissue and help the body fight the virus. If that doesn’t work after a few weeks, see a doctor.

  • 2.

    Bunions

    A bunion is a bony enlargement of the big toe joint and is often caused by an abnormal rolling of the foot. (Smaller bunions can also occur on the outside of the little toe.) If you think you might have a bunion, see a podiatrist right away so it can be treated before you need surgery. Changing your shoes or wearing orthotics can help.

  • 3.

    Sweaty Feet

    Help your feet breathe with cotton socks or with moisture-wicking ones when you’re working out (they absorb perspiration, so your feet cool off). To prevent or treat odors, wash your feet twice a day (make sure to dry, especially between toes) and use a foot powder or an antiperspirant spray. If they begin to smell or itch, you may have athlete’s foot. If an antifungal cream doesn’t help, see a doctor.

  • 4.

    Plantar Fasciitis

    It’s inflammation of the tissue that runs from the bottom of the heel to the ball of the foot. The condition is often caused by long periods of standing in one position, injury, wearing bad shoes, having an abnormal foot structure or being obese. It’s most painful when you get out of bed in the morning. Common fixes include getting the right shoes, doing stretching exercises and wearing orthotics.

Bottom Line
Your feet have a density of nerve receptors as high as any other body part’s, and accordingly, they deserve to be pampered. Whether you opt for an old-fashioned soak (with tea bags if you have foot odor) or a massage, relax your feet and your body will follow.