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Understanding and avoiding ingrown toenails

avoiding ingrown toenailsThat painful ache you’re feeling in your big toe around the nail is just getting worse. It started out as just slightly annoying, but now it hurts to wear your shoes and walk. You may have realized that the pain is coming from one of your toes, more specifically the toenail. Perhaps you’ve noticed some redness or swelling around the toe, and maybe you even have some drainage from around your nail. These signs indicate that you might have an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails can range from a simple irritation to a serious issue that poses additional health risks.

What is an ingrown toenail?

Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of the nail begins to grow into the soft skin of the toe. Initially, it may simply be painful and irritating, but when left untreated, ingrown toenails can become infected. Once a bacterial infection sets in, the area around the nail may swell, redden, and become filled with pus, which may or may not drain on its own. Because bacterial infections set in so easily around an ingrown toenail, it is important to have them examined and treated by a podiatrist as soon as possible. Without proper treatment, the bacteria can move beyond the toe and the area around the nail and enter the bloodstream.

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Foot and ankle arthritis

foot-and-ankle-arthritisYou wake up in the morning with stiff joints, aches, and pains in your feet. With 33 joints in each foot, plus the ankle, the feet and ankles are far more susceptible to the effects of arthritis than just about any other part of the body. Foot and ankle arthritis affects more than 40 million Americans, and without early intervention, may become incapacitating. Although there are numerous types and causes of arthritis, the most commonly affected areas of the body include the ankles, the big toes, and the joints in the midfoot.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints. There are a number of potential causes from heredity to injury to the simple process of aging. The feet are particularly at risk for arthritis due to the fact that they bear more weight and pressure than any other part of the body. Although arthritis may affect anyone of any age, those over the age of 50 are significantly more likely to develop it.

There are several types of arthritis, some more common than others, and each may affect the joints of the feet and ankles.

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The pros and cons of barefoot running

running-barefootAs a child, you probably spent a fair amount of time running barefoot through the grass or down the sidewalk. You ran barefoot on the playground, the beach, and in the street. Gradually though, whether due to simply growing up or concerns for the health and safety of your feet, you began to spend less and less time barefoot, and more and more time wearing shoes.

Let’s face it, shoes are required at work, at school, and pretty much everywhere you shop. However, barefoot running and running in minimalist shoes has become a popular trend over the last several years. If you are a runner, or considering taking up the sport, how do you know if barefoot or minimalist running is for you?

A very brief history of barefoot and minimalist running

Modern barefoot and minimalist running aren’t new concepts. In fact, in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, several runners won many races after training barefoot. Many of these runners were from Africa and rose to prominence in the running word seemingly with ease. Eventually other elite athletes began to notice, and in an effort to gain an edge and improve their performance, several elite runners began to add barefoot running and training in minimalist shoes to their routines. In the last few years these practices have exploded in popularity with athletic companies and shoe manufacturers creating shoes and other training aids specifically with this type of training in mind.

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Relieving bunion pain

relieving-bunion-painThat painful bump at the base of your large toe just seems to keep getting larger and more painful. Left untreated, it will continue to do so, and the big toe may eventually begin to point toward the other toes rather than straight ahead. Without treatment, bunions can become so painful that they become debilitating, impairing the ability to walk or wear shoes comfortably. However, with early intervention and the help of a podiatrist, you may be able to find relief from your bunion with easy, at home-home remedies.

What is a bunion and why do they occur?

A bunion, that painful bump on the side of the forefoot at the base of the big toe, forms when the joint at the base of the large toe moves out of its normal alignment. Left untreated, the joint becomes stiff and painful, and the bump grows larger and larger. Eventually, without early intervention, the bunion may require surgical intervention.

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Foot pain: When surgery is the answer

undergoing-foot-surgeryFor many Americans, particularly as they get older, foot pain becomes a common concern. Some patients suffer from foot pain for years before seeking help, and many experience such severe foot pain that it impacts their ability to live a fulfilling life. However, for many of these patients, suffering is unnecessary. In most cases, foot pain can be easily treated with surgery, sometimes with minor procedures, resulting in a significant improvement in the pain level and ability to return to normal activities.

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