Foot problems can be a major disturbance in trying to go about our daily lives, as essentially everything we do requires us to move around. Similarly, because we use our feet so often, it makes them one of the more likely places on our bodies where issues will arise. As with many areas of physical wellbeing, these issues can vary to a certain degree between men and women, so in this article, we will examine some the foot problems that most commonly affect women.
The shape of your foot says a lot about you, and can have a major impact not only on the health of your feet themselves, but in other areas such as posture as well. Ideally you want some arching between the ball and heel of your foot, but as you get older, the likelihood of your arches falling increases. This is something that you may not notice or even think about until it has already been happening for some time, but buying shoes with proper support or using orthotics can help prevent or support fallen arches.
A bunion is a painful lump that appears by the first “knuckle” of your big toe. They occur when the big toe is forced diagonally into the other toes. This causes the lower bones in the toe to jut out, resulting in bunions. This is often a result of wearing shoes, such as high heels that force the feet into unnatural shapes, which is why this problem is more prominent in women than in men. It is also an issue that develops over a long period of time, usually years, which means that you are more likely to be affected as time goes on. Once again, being aware of this problem and preventing it is the best approach, but custom insoles and shoes that conform well to the shape of your feet can help reduce the pain of bunions. But the only way to be completely rid of them is surgery, during which the lump will be filed down, and the toe will be realigned, possibly with metal pins being inserted to hold it in place.
Hammertoe is the name given to a toe that, in its default position, remains curved and scrunched up, rather than lying flat as you would expect. This is usually a result of wearing shoes that are too small. This forces the toe or toes to curl up in order to fit into the shoe, and the more time it is left in that position, the harder it is to switch back. However, it is also possible for hammertoes to form as a result of a muscular problem.
Hammertoes can be treated in a number of different ways. A Budin splint is an easy, non-invasive way to retrain your toe into returning to its normal position. Essentially, a pad is placed beneath the toes and ball of your foot, and the toes is placed inside a small, elasticated strap that helps flatten it out and keep it in its proper place. Surgery is also an option, and while surgery should normally be saved as a last resort, the surgery for this is fairly straightforward, involving the removal of a small amount of bone and possibly the insertion of a temporary pin.
As we all know, women have an average of about 50 million things to do per day, which can put feet under a lot of pressure. This can lead to a number of uncomfortable things, such as corns, calluses, and blisters. Corns and calluses form when skin thickens as a result of extended pressure or friction, and are essentially the same thing. Calluses often result from lots of walking, occur on the bottom of the feet, and are spread over a wider area. Although they are not immediately problematic, they do make it easier for skin to crack and infection to enter, so they should be dealt with. Corns are more similar to a lump of skin, and usually form on the toes or possibly the top of the foot. As with many of the other issues, finding more comfortable shoes or using orthotics can help reduce both the immediate pain and the likelihood of corns or calluses forming. Foam wedges and creams can also be used, although a Doctor may need to shave the area if the issue is very advanced. Giving yourself a footbath and using a pumice stone or similar is the best way to prevent these issues.
Blisters are a similar issue, but usually one that is far less serious and far easier to take care of. Blisters form as a result of too much friction, so make sure your shoes fit well, and are comfortable. Blisters should not be a common occurrence, so if you suffer from them frequently, you may need to buy some new shoes. Footbaths can help prevent blisters, as well as treat them.