Routine Foot Care
Routine foot care is especially important for patients, such as the elderly and diabetics, who have difficulty taking care of their feet or who need to pay very close attention to them for medical reasons. Foot problems can affect nearby bones, joints, muscles and skin, all of which are highly susceptible to damage. In some cases, foot problems can even affect other parts of the body.
Podiatrist-performed routine foot care includes a thorough foot inspection, during which differences in the temperature or color of the feet, which may indicate the progression of a circulatory or diabetic foot problem, are looked for. So that fungal growth can be treated in its early stages, nails are examined for thickening or discoloration. The skin of the feet is checked for abrasions or fine cracks that may lead to infection.
Podiatrist-performed routine foot care includes:
- Inspecting the feet
- Cleansing the feet
- Trimming cuticles and ingrown or fungal nails
- Treating corns, calluses or other lesions
- Performing massage to enhance circulation
- Applying topical medication/ointments and dressing
Certain common foot problems such as corns and calluses tend to recur. After treatment and removal, they often reappear if their causes have not been addressed. As a result, they may require repeated routine foot-care treatments to help keep them under control, and to make the patient more comfortable. Other foot problems, including bunions and hammertoes, often require surgery to eliminate them, but in many cases can be managed with routine foot care. All of these types of treatments can be provided during routine foot-care appointments with a podiatrist.
Reducing the risk of foot disorders is often achieved by following basic foot care, including keeping feet clean and dry and toenails trimmed, and by wearing shoes that fit properly. Walking barefoot should be avoided because doing so makes feet more prone to injury and infection. Eating a balanced diet with adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D helps keep the bones in the feet healthy.