Updated 22 February 2013

Putting your best foot forward

Your feet are the foundations for the rest of your body. Neglect them and you could be neglecting your general health.

Your feet are the foundations for the rest of your body. Neglect them and you could be neglecting your general health, as lower-backache, headaches, indigestion and a misaligned spine can often be traced back to your feet.

If you stand in front of a mirror as you normally would, if your feet are properly aligned, the centre of your kneecap will be on the same line as the centre of your foot.

In most cases foot alignment can be improved or corrected by exercise or the use of arch supports.

When you walk, your toes should point straight ahead. The first point of contact with the ground should be your heel. The weight is then carried along the outside border to the ball of your foot, then across the ball to your big toe.

Standing in one spot is far more demanding than walking, as the former places continuous strain on the same muscles. When having to stand for a long time, try moving your weight and standing on the outer side of your feet, as this will bring more muscles into play.

Most common foot problems

Foot perspiration.
It is not uncommon for foot perspiration and foot odor to be traced to allergies. Quite a few people’s feet are sensitive to chemicals used in the manufacturing of shoes. There are companies which produce hypo-allergenic shoes. Any chiropodist will be able to give you the details for local manufacturers. These shoes are often quite expensive, but weighed up against smelly feet, the price is probably not too high to pay.

Corns and callouses.
These are never normal and always indicate that your feet are either misaligned, or that your shoes don’t fit properly. They are caused by pressure being placed on the skin of your foot. High heeled shoes can also cause calluses as they increase the pressure on the forefoot. Sometimes a bony protuberance causes calluses. This might have to be removed surgically. A visit to a chiropodist could sort out this problem forever.

Corns usually have a tender spot in the middle and are surrounded by yellowish dead skin. A doctor can cut away this dead skin or you can soak your feet and use a pumice stone to reduce the size of the callus.

Ingrown toenails.
These usually indicate misaligned feet or toenails that have been trimmed too short, especially on the sides. When you wear shoes that are too small, pressure is being exerted on your toe in a way that causes the flesh to grow abnormally around the toenail. These can be corrected with surgery, or in its early stages by the timely intervention of a chiropodist.

Plantar’s warts.
These are caused by a virus, to which you become more susceptible if you are under stress.

These warts can become very painful and large, which is why most people have them seen to rather than simply waiting for them to disappear by themselves. Some surgeons cut these out and others treat them with wart removing remedies.

Using a public shower or walking around barefoot increases your chances of developing plantar warts. Standing and walking push the warts flat and can cause quite a bit of pain.

Read more:
What are plantar warts?
Prevent ingrown toenails
What is athlete’s foot?

(Susan Erasmus, Health24)


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