Foot problems are more common than a lot of people think. Eight out of 10 people will have foot problems in their lives. The most common ailments are bunions, hammer toes, corns, ingrown toenails and pain problems of the forefoot and heel.
Conservative treatment or treatment without the use of surgery, is usually the first step in solving the problem. A number of podiatrists perform surgery on an outpatient basis. Surgery by an orthopedist usually is performed in a hospital. Outpatient surgeries require less time to heal, while it can take up to six months of healing time for hospital surgery.
To stamp out foot problems before they begin, I suggest that you start with your shoes. Shoes are the major cause of foot problems. Shoe manufacturers and designers have recognized the call for comfort and are making shoes that are better for your feet. Society, too, no longer seems to frown on unusual forms of foot fashion, like wearing tennis shoes to work, then changing to business shoes.
As far as shoes, here are some tips:
- Wear shoes that breathe. Patent leather does not. Choose soft leather shoes that conform to your feet. Canvas also breathes.
- Try to wear your shoes no longer than three hours at a time. Kick them off at our desk or slip on a pair of tennis shoes in the car.
- Let shoes air out about three days before wearing them again.
- Women should avoid high-heeled, pointy-toed shoes. Choose rounder toes with about 2-inch heels.
- Both women and men should make sure there is at least a quarter-inch of room from the end of the big toe to the shoe. Also avoid shoes that are too tight.
- For kids, tennis shoes are often the best choice, because they have plenty of cushion and room for a foot to grow – the most important detail of a child’s shoe.
- Finally, check into specialized shoes for sports, such as walking shoes and running shoes that feature cushions of air.
*Carol Frey, M.D is considered one of the top international foot and ankle specialists. She works with Olympic athletes, Division I college players and the most complex and critical cases. She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she was a Division I swimmer. She is also a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. Her training includes a residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In addition, Dr. Frey completed a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at the Hospital for Joint Disease/NYU in New York City.