Taking care of your feet today can help prevent foot and ankle problems in the future. Read on for common foot issues and tips from foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to keep your feet healthy and pain free.


Skin Problems

Sweaty feet can cause rashes and eczema. Wearing nylon socks in plastic shoes or tightly fitting shoes may not allow the feet to dry properly and can aggravate the problem. Changing socks every day and letting shoes dry out between wearings can help eliminate smelly feet. Wearing thick, soft cotton socks helps draw moisture away from the feet.

True athlete's foot is a rash, often between the toes, caused by a fungus infection. Athlete's foot will usually respond to treatment with anti-fungal powders and lotions along with good foot hygiene. 

Toenail Problems

Trimming your toenails too short, particularly at the sides, can lead to ingrown toenails. Trim your toenails straight across, ​ ​ allowing adequate length to project beyond the skin at the toenail margins. Cuticles should be pushed back with an orange stick or hindu stone and rarely cut.

Toenail fungus is more common among older adults. Factors that can increase the risk of developing nail fungus include walking barefoot in a damp environment (such as around a swimming pool), circulation problems, diabetes, and a weakened immunity system. Nail fungus is difficult to treat and it may take up to three months or longer to eliminate an infection. Your foot and ankle orthopaedic specialist may prescribe oral antifungal medications..

Shoes

Your shoes should be comfortable, practical, and fit well. It is very important that the shoe fits the shape of your foot. Narrow and tight shoes result in foot problems. Poorly fitting shoes cause most calluses, corns, and blisters, and can aggravate other foot problems.

Make sure your shoes fit comfortably at the time you buy them. If new shoes need to be "broken in," it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted to your feet.

First Aid

Pay attention to cuts and bruises of the foot. Like any other injury, they should be cleansed and dressed. If a wound starts to spread, particularly on the sole of the foot, you should consider an emergency visit for stitches.

Puncture wounds are a serious matter and can be dangerous. Nails and the like do not have to be rusty to cause lockjaw (tetanus) or to cause an infection in the foot. You should wear foot protection when walking outdoors. A tetanus booster shot is recommended every 3-7 years to keep yourself immunized against lockjaw.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) offers information on this site as an educational service. The content of FootCareMD, including text, images, and graphics, is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses or treatments. If you need medical advice, use the "Find a Surgeon" search to locate a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon in your area.