When you have an ailment affecting your feet, however minor, it is advisable to ensure the problem is diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
A chiropodist or podiatrist is a qualified medical professional who can treat a whole host of ailments relating to your feet. There are over 12,000 podiatrists/chiropodists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) so wherever you live in the UK, you should be able to locate a chiropodist close to your home.
Common Ailments that can affect your feet:
Corns and Calluses
Corns and callouses are areas of thickened skin that can be painful. They are caused by continued and excessive friction (rubbing) and pressure. These are a symptom, not a disease, they do not have roots. The cause must be corrected before the corns and callouses can be cured. Chronic corns and callouses require periodic professional care. However, in some instances, surgical or orthopaedic measures may be required.
Under no circumstances should home treatment be attempted. This may lead to foot infections which can be very serious.
Verrucae are plantar warts. They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and are often wrongly mistaken for corns or callouses. A Verruca has a blood and nerve supply of its own and is identifiable through its white appearance with distinguishing black dots. Verracue are contagious and are usually painful particularly when present on a weight bearing part of the foot. Verrucae can spread if left untreated.
Bunions are caused by a weakness of the ligamentous and muscular structures of the foot and leg. The tendency for them to form may be hereditary, but factors such as stress and strain and interference from shoes can also bring about this deformity. When these joints are red, swollen or tender, see a Chiropodist, as these signs may indicate the formation of a bunion, arthritis, gout or infection. A bunion on the joint of the little toe is known as a tailor’s bunion.
This is a skin disease caused by a fungus known as tinea fungus. The main cause of athlete’s foot is the lowering of the skin’s resistance. This fungus thrives in warm, dark and sometimes moist environments such as inside the shoe, swimming pool edges, showers etc. It is possible to catch the fungus through direct contact with another infected person or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus.
Practice good foot hygiene! The skin must be bathed daily; be kept dry by changing socks or tights frequently; and a mild fungicidal drying powder used on the feet and in the shoes.
The above conditions are just a minor example of the type of conditions that a chiropodist/podiatrist can treat and their expertise can be called upon for all manner of problems that are foot related.
Information sourced from http://iocp.org.uk/