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Feet First

Wearing stilettos may make you look good, but it can wreak havoc on your feet. Check out our guide to common foot problems and solutions.

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Feet

A lot of people have unpleasant issues with their feet. We know some women who’ve even resisted relationships because of their foot shame. In the spirit of celebrating beauty and flip-flops, let’s take a look at what you might be hiding in those socks.

What’s Your Foot Shape?

Foot shapes are as unique as fingerprints. You can check if you have a flat foot or high arch, both of which can be painful and make you prone to stress fractures. Here’s how to check: Walk on sand and see what shape your foot makes. You can also wet your feet and step on a paper bag. If you only see an imprint of the ball of your foot and heel, you’ve got a high arch. If you see the whole length of your foot, you’ve got flat feet.

Corns
When your shoe’s tight, the toe and tendons stretch, causing your toe joint to dig into the top of your shoe. A corn then develops to protect the foot from that rubbing. If you catch it early, the toe can regain its form with a splint. If not, surgery can straighten it out. After a doctor removes a corn, you can use a pad for protection.

Bunions
Frequently wearing pointy-toe heels will push your big toe out of line, causing partial toe dislocation. This bony prominence emerges from the medial aspect of your foot—hence the bunion. If you keep wearing tight, pointy shoes, the big toe keeps being pushed out of its joint.

Bunions tend to get worse with time. There are two options for treatment: You can change the type of shoes you wear, or a surgeon can correct your toe alignment. For shoes, look for a wide and high toe box. This will halt irritation over the bump, and slow the deformity progression. The downside? These shoes aren’t always the prettiest. You should consider surgery when there’s been a significant change in your comfort, and your pain is in the moderate range.

The good news about a bunionectomy: the bunion shouldn’t come back after surgery. The bad news: full recovery can take several months. There are some shady bunion doctors out there, so make sure yours has lots of experience. If a podiatrist is doing it, she should have done a surgical residency. If you’re using an orthopedic surgeon, make sure she did a foot and ankle fellowship.

WATCH VIDEO: Why Bunions Form and How You Can Treat Them

Calluses
If you’ve spent any time walking barefoot, you know that calluses are your body’s way of protecting itself. Calluses are patches of dead, thickened skin that builds from the pressure of weight (often on the ball of the foot, between the big and second toes). Try having a doctor file it down or use a toe pad. Do no try cutting it off yourself or having it shaved down with a razor tool at the nail salon!

Warts
A papillomavirus causes warts, which can be treated with liquid nitrogen, acids and a carbon dioxide laser. You can try suffocating them with adhesive tape for a week. Make sure to keep your feet to yourself, especially in the bedroom.

WATCH VIDEO: Why Warts Form

Athlete’s foot
This name comes from the shared showers where people share fungus. As soon as you know you have this, throw out the shoes you’re wearing. Fungus can be living there, and on your body. This infection is red and smelly. You can use a topical antifungal med like Lamisil to kill the fungus. Most health clubs don’t use enough sodium hydroxide and high enough temperatures to kill the fungi, viruses and bacteria from towels, so you may want to bring your own.

 

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