Oh, My Aching Feet! | by Jennifer L.W. Fink

Healthy Feet

Posted on Tue, Dec 18, 2012

Relief for some of the most common foot-related complaints


Bunions are an abnormal enlargement of the joint at the bottom of the toe. Taking care of your bunion when it’s small can prevent it from getting worse.

Home Care: “The first thing to do is to adjust your shoes so they’re a bit wider,” says Frances Faro, MD, a foot and ankle surgeon at Swedish Medical Center. If your shoe is leather, you can take it to a cobbler, who can stretch the shoe for you. Or you can switch to wider, more comfortable shoes.

See a Doctor If… You’ve tried changing your foot wear and still have pain.

Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails are the most common nail ailment. If the skin around your toenail is red, raised and painful, you may have an ingrown nail.

Home Care: Proper foot care is your first line of defense against ingrown toenails. “You want to make sure that you’re not cutting your toenails too short,” Dr. Faro says. “You should trim them straight across, right at the head or maybe a millimeter short of the top of the toe.” If you develop an ingrown toenail anyway, soak the affected foot in warm water for about 10 minutes three times a day.

See a Doctor If…The swelling and discomfort doesn’t go away in about three days, or the redness seems to be spreading.

Heel Pain

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of a band of tissue that runs under the foot. Nerve pain, Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures can also cause heel pain.

Home Care: Stretching the calf muscle on a daily basis – which you can do by standing with your feet two to three feet apart, one in front of the other, with the front knee bent and the back knee straight – can prevent heel pain. Gel cups and night splints, available over-the-counter, can help alleviate heel pain. “Another thing you can do is freeze a water bottle, and then roll it along the floor with your foot,” Dr. Faro says.

See a Doctor If…The pain isn’t better after a month of home treatment.


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