Registered chiropodists/podiatrists are trained in all aspects of care for the feet and lower limbs, including the most common foot problems.
Some problems are inherited, and some develop from illnesses in middle age, or from the pressure of ill-fitting shoes.
Take care of your feet with rest and exercise
Sitting with your feet up for 10 minutes after a long day helps circulation.
To refresh feet, massage gently with a foot roller, or better still, ask you partner to massage your feet.
Calf stretches help to keep feet supple and keep a good range of movement. To stretch your calf and heel, stand facing a wall with feet hip width apart and slightly bent at the knee. Take one step forwards, and using your arms to lean against the wall, keep your leg in front bent and the leg behind straight. Both feet should be flat on the ground.
Lean in towards the wall, as you do, you should feel your muscles stretching in your calf and heel. Hold and slowly return to a standing position. Do this with each leg about five times. Seek further help if you experience problems doing this exercise.
Circle your feet ten times in each direction, keeping your leg as still as possible.
Consciously straighten your toes and wriggle them around.
Raise, point, then curl your toes for five seconds each, repeated ten times – this is particularly good for toe cramps or hammer toes.
Circle the alphabet with your feet. (A good exercise you can do while sitting at your desk in the office.)
Following a daily routine to keep your feet clean and free from infection will help prevent potential foot problems.
Wash your feet every day in warm soapy water (don't soak them, as this might destroy the natural oils) and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
If you can see and reach your feet cut them after a bath when the toe nails are softer. Trim your toe nails regularly, using proper nail clippers. Cut straight across, not too short, and not down at the corners as this can lead to in-growing nails. File them, if that is easier.
Any minor cuts or abrasions should be covered with a clean dry dressing, and blisters should be left to dry out on their own. If they burst, apply a clean dry dressing, but do not burst them yourself.
Seek professional treatment if they do not heal quickly. Wounds (sometimes called ulcers) should be assessed and treated as a matter of urgency within 24hours, especially if there is redness or swelling around the area, or were you have previously been warned to seek immediate attention.
Corns and hard skin
To keep corns and hard skin under control use a foot file, emery board or pumice stone.
Don't cut corns for yourself, or apply "over the counter" lotions or acids unless prescribed by your Podiatrist or Health care Practitioner.
If you have previously been advised that you can use ‘over the counter’ lotions check each year that this is still okay.
If your skin is dry, apply moisturising cream all over the foot, except for between the toes.
Keep feet warm, and exercise to improve circulation.
Seek prompt treatment for burns, cuts and breaks in the skin, and for any usual changes in colour or temperature.
This is particularly important if you have diabetes.