I like one of my feet; the left one is pretty good, my right foot however without wanting to show favouritism, is horrible! To be fair, it’s not its fault, I have smashed it to bits throughout my life. It has been subjected to countless high impact sessions, ran for hundreds of miles in the street, crammed into high heels and my toes have been squeezed into the most pointiest (not a real word) of shapes, I kicked a wall and didn’t bother getting treatment and now it’s getting its own back. I have a painful build-up of bone at the joint of my big toe and my second toe is permanently stuck in a bent position. I am waiting for surgery to transform is back to its former glory. My left foot is laughing…

Anyway, after giving you a lovely picture of my metatarsal’s everyone needs to look after their feet. (Don’t do as I do!!) Most of us have had foot pain at some point of our lives due to walking long distances, playing sports or tottering about on high heels. Our poor old tootsies carry our entire body weight so; don’t ignore aches, pains and numbness as they could be a sign of abnormities of bone, blood vessels or soft tissue.

Smelly feet!

One problem which is particularly revolting for all concerned is smelly feet. This actually has its own name; Bromodosis. Feet sweat into our shoes every day, they then get damp and bacteria starts to grow. This bacteria is actually the same one found on some cheeses – hence the cheesy whiff. We then take the shoes off and the bacteria continues to grow, particularly if you shove them into a dark cupboard, we then put them on again the next day and add to the pong!

How can you avoid getting cheesy feet?

Good hygiene! Use an anti-bacterial soap and a spray deodorant (an under arm one is Ok) you can buy inner soles which absorb the smell. Nylon socks won’t soak up sweat; they will make it worse, opt for cotton socks and make sure they are washed regularly!

There are many, many things that can go wrong with our feet; I have chosen a few of the most common ones.

Bunions – They have a comical name but there’s nothing funny about a bunion! They are bony swelling at the base of the big toe. If they are bad they can make the big toe point inwards towards the other toes. They are really common and can affect anyone but more common in women, probably due to our stupid foot ware. To avoid getting them we should wear shoes with a wider fitting box to accommodate the toe. Vanity for women will win every time I’m afraid and we’re a nation of bunion owners… If they get too bad the only way to get rid of them is through surgery.

Corns and Calluses- Corns are hard skin caused by pressure or from shoes rubbing on the bumps on our feet. You can get soft corns between the toes where sweat keeps them moist – aren’t I painting a pretty picture here?! Calluses are wider and often develop on the more weight baring parts of our feet such as the ball of the foot. These can be removed by a Podiatrist or there are plenty of medicated products in chemists to help.

Verrucas- These are warts caused by a virus. Most of us will have had one of these when we were kids. You may have had a couple or a whole crop of them and they are contagious. They love swimming pools and damp areas which is where you probably got yours from. They usually disappear after a while on their own but you may need over the counter medications or to see a Podiatrist.

Ingrown toenail- These, I’m told are really painful, the nail grows into the skin at the sides of the toe, usually the big toe. Common causes are cutting toenails at an angle- cut them straight across, or by wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes. The toe might get infected and the only cure will be surgery

Athletes foot – This is not restricted as its name may suggest to super feet people! It’s actually caused by a fungus between the toes which spreads if left untreated. It can lead to blisters, swelling, stinging and a lot of discomfort. It can be cured by using anti-fungal cream and by keeping the toes dry and clean

Hammer Toe- This is a deformity of one of the toes so that it is permanently bent, just like mine! It can be caused by ill-fitting shoes, over-use of the foot, rheumatoid arthritis or injury. The toe rubs on shoes and causes corns and calluses, usually results in surgery if the toe is tuck rigid.

Ulcers- Diabetics are susceptible to developing foot ulcers from the smallest of cuts or blisters. This is because the capillaries can be damaged due to diabetes and can lead to a condition called neuropathy which is nerve damage. The patient then loses sensation in the feet and they’re not aware there is a problem as they can’t feel pain. If an ulcer occurs it can have serious implications, even leading to amputation. It’s really important that if you have diabetes you get your feet checked regularly and you wear good fitting foot wear.

Gout- This condition is a build-up of uric acid in the blood stream, we usually wee this out but if there is a build-up it causes crystals to form and collect in the joints, usually at the base of the big toe. It can be extremely painful and the toe can become red and swollen. It’s treated by medication, changes to the diet and a decrease in alcohol consumption.

Plantar Fasciitis- this is a painful condition caused by inflammation to the ligament under the foot which stretches from your heel to the middle foot bones. This ligament supports the arch of the foot and is a shock absorber. It’s caused by being on your feet a lot, walking, running but also being inactive Being overweight can be a factor as can a tight Achilles tendon.. You need to wear shoes which give support to the arch of the foot and get some ice on to it. The best way is to keep a can of drink in the fridge and roll it with our foot along the floor. Try picking up a towel with crunched toes to encourage the arch of your foot to elevate.

Writing this blog has been traumatic for me, I have had to think about feet for much longer than I have ever wanted to- I hope you appreciate what I put myself through in order to look after you all, I put my heart and sole into this blog without putting a foot wrong!! (Sorry!)

To all you feet specialists out there, whether you work in a shoe shop or medically trained, I salute you, you’re very brave and you must have a very bad sense of smell…..

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