Foot Problems Care & Treatment
A small bunion may stop bothering you if you wear wide shoes and comfortable socks or stockings that do not rub on the bunion area. Shoe inserts like orthotics (soles specially molded to your foot) may also help.
Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or corticosteroid (cortisone) injections may help to relieve pain.
Surgery: Even if your bunion is severe, outpatient surgery may be all you need. In this type of operation—usually an office procedure—the abnormal growth of the bunion is gently shaved away and tendons are adjusted. In more intensive surgery, other toe bones may have to be repositioned.
Corns and Calluses
Shoes that are properly fitted are the solution for corns and calluses. Open-toed sandals are very helpful if the weather is appropriate. Sometimes, a shoemaker can stretch your shoes to give you more room around your toes. Thick socks also help to absorb pressure.
Simple over-the-counter products available at any drug store can be very useful for softening and resolving corns and calluses. These include:
- Creams or petroleum jelly (Vaseline) – regular use can soften dead skin
- Donut-shaped pads that fit around the corn and reduce pressure and friction. (Avoid medicated pads, especially if you have diabetes or numbness in your feet.)
- Cotton or other soft material placed between your toes to prevent them from rubbing against each other
- Pumice stones – used to gently sand down the corn or callus after soaking in very warm water for at least five minutes. This will take several treatments.
Never trim corns or calluses with a razor blade or knife because the risk of injury and infection is extremely high.
If the condition is mild, you may only need to get roomier shoes. To prevent corns and calluses from rigid hammertoes rubbing against shoes, you should apply soft padding between the affected toes, and wear wide shoes or custom-made orthotic inserts or footwear. Exercises and splints may help. You may need surgery to release the tendon if the deformity is severe.
For ingrown toenails that are not infected, your podiatrist or other trained healthcare professional can simply trim the side of the nail or shave it down to resolve the pain. Wearing open-toed shoes or sandals may prevent painful friction.
If you have diabetes or another condition that raises your risk of infection, always see a professional.
Medications: If the nail is infected, by a bacteria or fungus, you will require antibiotics. You may have to take antibiotics both by mouth and also apply antibiotic cream or antifungal ointments on the toe.
Sometimes, the podiatrist will prefer to use a chemical to remove the skin around an ingrown nail. The skin may also be removed with a laser or by cauterizing (burning it away).
Surgery: If the nail is completely in-grown, or if there is an infection, more of the nail—or all of it—may have to be removed. Your podiatrist will use a local anesthetic for these procedures. If the infection is causing swelling, he or she may drill a hole in the nail to allow drainage, which will relieve the pain. Soaking or icing the area may also be prescribed.