GENERAL FOOT CARE
1. of or relating to the care of one's feet : a footcare specialist
Our feet are responsible for carrying us through a tremendous distance – estimates suggest the average person will walk the equivalent of three times around the Earth in their lifetime. Despite this, we can often neglect our foot care.
Without regular and routine care, our feet can develop some serious complications, ranging from ingrown nails to corns and calluses to infections. Podiatrists are the foot care professionals, and are educated in the correct diagnosis and treatment of all conditions of the foot and ankle.Our bodies are wonderful at adapting to change, whether that be temperature or stress or age, and have particular methods to protect against being damaged during these changes. A good example of this is the development of a callus.
Amongst many other benefits, the skin is designed to protect the body from infection. When an area is placed under friction or pressure for an extended period – say, after wearing shoes that are too small – the skin will start to grow at a faster rate to protect against damage. This is a very effective method of protection, but when it occurs on the bottom of the foot or between the toes, it can become very painful, and even lead to severe wounds. This type of thickening is referred to as a callus. A callus that has developed over a very small, prescise point, is referred to as a corn.
Treating calluses and corns are quite simple for a Podiatrist. The thickened area is shaved back with a scalpel – a completely pain-free process – and in the case of a corn, the central portion is removed. Contrary to popular belief, corns do not have a ‘root’ that must be removed. Successful removal of a corn involves removing the thickened skin significantly enough to reduce pressure on the deeper layers of tissue beneath, pressure which is the cause of the pain. In some circumstances, particularly where a corn has been present for an extended period without treatment, these lower tissue layers can bleed, causing a bruising effect beneath the skin and sometimes infection. Because of this, Podiatrists generally do not recommend the use of pharmacy-purchased ‘corn pads’. These pads to not distinguish between thickened skin and normal skin, and can therefore cause wounds much larger and more severe than the corn itself.