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Feet, Pathologies And Health

Let’s take a closer look at how feet are made, what the most common disorders that affect them are, the therapies to treat them, and the disciplines that improve their functionality and general state.

Anatomical Description Of The Feet

Full of nerve trunks and intrinsic and extrinsic muscles, the foot is a miracle of nature’s engineering, a gift that man can use to move in space. It is thanks to our feet that we have assumed the upright structure and vertical posture that characterize us as a species. 26 bones support all loads and are divided into the three parts of the foot:

  • The forefoot houses the bones of the phalanges and metatarsals;
  • The midfoot, the cuboid bone, the three cuneiforms and the tarsal scaphoid;
  • The hindfoot, the talus bone (80% covered with cartilage) and the calcaneus.

Function And Well-Being Of The Feet

Beyond the actual pathologies, which we will delve into later, various problems can affect the well-being of the feet.

  • Bad smell. If the problem is terrible foot odor, you can take action on the nutritional level by eliminating white flours and yeasts (the cause of foot reflexology is associated with dysbiosis). Pathologies such as hypothyroidism and diabetes also affect general foot odor and the well-being of all lower limbs.
  • When there is no diagnosis of a pathology behind the bad smell, you can act with home remedies such as foot baths based on sodium bicarbonate, vinegar, and black tea. A sage-
  • Based decoction is also helpful for foul odors; the same goes for parsley. Salt can also be added to the foot bath. Another beneficial decoction is the one to be made with a piece of ginger.
  • Swelling. When the problem is swelling of the feet, it is better to eliminate dry and salt-rich foods and resort to smoothies with foods rich in potassium (without milk and at most with the addition of ginger). Yes, to oil seeds, which contain excellent vegetable oils (almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds).
  • Calluses and calluses. If the problem is corns and calluses, lavender or geranium essential oils can be used. You can apply them after the foot bath. The chamomile-based foot bath is also a classic grandmother’s remedy, infallible. Salt is also highly healing. Put two tablespoons of coarse salt in the hot water for the foot bath and leave them immersed for about twenty minutes. You can also use whole-grain sea salt or Epsom salts. To keep your feet soft, you can make a homemade scrub by crushing brown sugar and brown sea salt and then mixing them with a few drops of almond oil.
  • Partridge’s eye. Very similar to calluses, cornseye is a thickening of the skin that can be hard (usually on the fifth toe) or soft (between the toes, where a moist environment is created). To cure them, apply the appropriate plasters. Those who prefer natural remedies can instead use tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, calendula tincture or aloe vera gel.
  • Blisters. When you wear shoes that are too tight, uncomfortable or rigid, the repeated rubbing damages the dermis and epidermis and causes the serum to collect, forming a bubble of liquid. Blisters can be very annoying or even painful. They can be punctured, but only after thorough disinfection.
  • Foot wart. They are small, rounded growths of hardened tissue being caused by the Papilloma virus; warts on the feet (as well as those on the hands) can be subjected to various treatments but are really difficult to eradicate permanently. Among the most effective natural remedies is the latex of plants such as fig, celandine and euphorbia.
  • Athlete’s foot. It is a fungal infection that affects the soles of the feet: it takes this name because it is pretty standard to be infected by fungi if you walk barefoot in mixed environments such as gyms, swimming pools, and changing rooms. Athlete’s foot can be treated with specific antifungal medications.

Also Read: The Rules For Eating Well And Staying Healthy

Foot Pain, The Most Frequent Causes

There are many possible problems, and they are very different from each other. But how do you distinguish the cause of foot pain? We can make an initial classification based on the location of the pain itself. Pain in the sole, for example, can be caused by:

  • Metatarsalgia: affects the front part of the foot and is due to micro-traumas repeated over time. It can happen, for example, when you wear heels for a long time.
  • Plantar fasciitis: prevalent in athletes; it is an inflammation of the arcuate ligament and causes pain that affects the area towards the heel and is more intense when you get back on your feet after sitting or lying down for a long time.
  • Morton’s neuroma: It is a condition of the nerve between the third and fourth toes, caused by a series of microtraumas, often due to the shape of the foot. The pain is similar to an electric shock and occurs especially on support; at rest, it fades but can be replaced by tingling.

If you feel pain when you put your foot down, the cause could be:

  • Ankle sprain: it is one of the most common injuries in sports and everyday life. After a fall or sprain, the foot swells is painful and may become bruised. If the pain persists even after a few days of rest, with the application of ice and creams, it is a good idea to carry out an in-depth analysis because there could be a microfracture.
  • Heel spurs: it is inflammation that leads to the formation of painful calcifications, especially in the heel area.

Itchy feet can instead be due to:

  • Allergies;
  • Bacterial infections;
  • Fungal infections (i.e. fungi);
  • Hives, dermatitis or other dermatological problems;
  • Chilblains.

If, however, the pain is accompanied by reduced mobility of the foot, the reason may be:

  • Hallux valgus: this is a widespread deformation in which the base of the big toe faces inwards, and the toe faces outwards. It causes pain and swelling and, over time, limits movement.
  • Osteoarthritis of the foot: it is a chronic disease that leads to a progressive reduction of the cartilage, resulting in very annoying conditions. It causes pain (especially during movements), swelling, redness, crunching, and stiffness.

The Main Pathologies Affecting The Foot

Some statistics from the American Podiatric Medical Association show that approximately 72% of Americans suffer from foot problems in their lifetime (such as plantar fasciitis, misalignment, foot ulcers, flat feet, foot pain and pinched nerves). The main pathologies that can affect the foot are:

  • The hallux valgus ;
  • Hallux rigidus;
  • Various finger deformities;
  • Morton’s neuroma (chronic irritation of the interdigital nerves of the feet);
  • Plantar fasciitis;
  • The heel spur;
  • Flat foot;
  • Hammertoe;
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome;
  • Heels;
  • The diabetic foot;
  • Metatarsalgia;
  • Inflammation of the Achilles tendon;
  • Arthritis;
  • Distortions;
  • Fractures and microfractures.

Exercises And Shoes

How many of us train regularly, alternating cardio and toning, but systematically neglecting our feet? Well, yes, there are ad hoc exercises to keep your feet toned, strong and flexible. Here are some:

  • While sitting, spread your toes as wide as possible, hold the position for ten seconds and then bring them back to the starting point.
  • Still sitting, place your foot on the opposite knee, push your big toe towards your ankle with your hands and maintain the position for ten seconds, massaging the arch of your foot with the other hand.
  • Roll the ball of your foot onto a hard ball.
  • From a standing position, shift your weight to the outside of your foot, take a few steps, then move your weight to the inside of your foot and repeat.
  • Take the big toe between two fingers and make circles.
  • Lie on the floor on your stomach, bend your legs and place your feet on the wall, lifting the various support parts one after the other.

The choice of shoes is also crucial for the well-being of the foot. Here, in short, are some tips:

  • You are welcome to buy a pair of shoes guided by their aesthetic appearance and current trends as long as they are comfortable and suitable for the shape of your foot.
  • If you like to wear heels, make sure they have platforms.
  • Flat shoes (ballerinas and sneakers) can be suitable for occasions where you spend a lot of time sitting; for sports and long walks, they are absolutely to be avoided.
  • Don’t wear shoes that are too tight. If you are undecided between two numbers, it is better to opt for the larger one, making sure there is some space to move your fingers.
  • Periodically check the condition of the soles. If they are worn, it does not mean that the shoe should be thrown in the garbage because a shoemaker can resolve them at a negligible expense (and avoid unnecessary waste).
  • If you practice sports, choose shoes suitable for that specific type of training.
  • Running shoes must be replaced periodically, usually every 650-800 km; otherwise, the covering begins to fail, exposing the foot and joints to micro-traumas.

Foot Reflexology

Foot reflexology is a technique through which the energetic balance of the body is re-established, using a particular type of massage which, through the stimulation and compression of specific reflex points on the feet, energetically related to organs and systems, allows you to exercise preventive and intervention action on any imbalances in the organism.

The debut of foot reflexology dates back to ancient civilizations, especially Eastern ones. However, various documents indicate that this technique was also practiced by pre-Columbian civilizations and by the Red Indians. The representation of a fetus in the foot is present in a 6,000-year-old graffiti discovered in Valcamonica.

Also Read: Walking Barefoot: Why Is It Good For You?

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