Nagging Foot Problem Can Last a Lifetime

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At Risk Populations for Foot Problems

Foot problems are widespread with approximately 19% of the US population average 1.4 foot problems each year.  5% of the US population have foot infections including athlete’s foot, other fungal infections, and 5% get plantar warts each year.  Unfortunately, many feet problems go unreported due to the simple notion that people who “work hard” believe their feet should hurt.  

Regardless, there are certain populations that are predisposed to feet problems.  Because of the obvious wear and tear on our feet, these problems can become chronic and impact the mobility of a person for a lifetime. In some circumstances, infections can result and damage the foot to the degree where amputation becomes a possibility.

There are certain populations where feet problems can become greater risks for chronic foot problems or other systemic problems involving joints, hips, and backs.  

Women

Women are more vulnerable to certain foot problems than men, mainly from years of walking in narrow-fitting shoes that squeeze the toes and from high-heels that cramp the forefoot and pose risks for arch and ankle problems.  In addition, women’s fashion expose women’s feet and toes (especially during warm months).  Nicely pedicured feet are a signature presence in fashion. 

Athletes, Exercise Enthusiasts, and Other Obvious Populations

Aside from professions where feet health is mandatory for performance, there are many people that put extra impact on their feet.  Many professions require manual labor or extended time on their feet. Feet problems increase with the increase in wear and tear.  It is estimated that running can put 3-4 times pressure on your feet than their body weight.  Proper fitness and flexibility mitigate these problems by strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the feet.  Proper nutrition helps control inflammation and nutrients required for bone strength. Sports medicine provides support to ensure proper shoe wear, trainers, and protective bandaging help protects their feet from unnecessary injuries. This population is motivated to practice proper foot hygiene and seek medical assistance when needed.

Overweight/Obesity

It is estimated that 65.7% of American adults are overweight according to the CDC.  The rate of Obesity in the US is approaching 40% in the US. Extra weight creates extra pressure and strain on the feet.  For many adults, standing and walking can become painful.  

Common obesity related symptoms of the feet:

  • Foot pain

  • Swelling (edema)

  • Stress fractures

  • Bunions

  • Pressure Ulcers

 In addition, obesity is often a precursor for diabetes. 

Diabetes

Approximately 9.4 percent of the US population have diabetes and more than 100 million people have diabetes or prediabetes.  Diabetics should pay extra care of their feet health.  

Diabetic neuropathy: Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your nerves. If you have damaged nerves in your legs and feet, you might not feel heat, cold, or pain there. This lack of feeling is called "sensory diabetic neuropathy." If you do not feel a cut or sore on your foot because of neuropathy, the cut could get worse and become infected. The muscles of your foot may not work properly because nerves to the muscles are damaged. This could cause your foot to not align properly and create too much pressure on one part of your foot.

Peripheral vascular disease: Diabetes also affects the flow of blood. Without good blood flow, it takes longer for a sore or cut to heal. Poor blood flow in the arms and legs is called "peripheral vascular disease." If you have an infection that will not heal because of poor blood flow, you are at risk for developing ulcers or gangrene (the death of tissue due to a lack of blood).

Diabetic Foot Ulcers:  The lifetime risk for development of foot ulcers in diabetics is estimated to be in the range of 15-25%.

Pedicures provide regular feet hygiene to provide advanced warnings of diabetic complications.  Pedicures can provide early warning to address with you physician.  Because these issues can cause complications leading to infections.  Diabetics must pay extra attention to prevent infection during pedicures.

HPV Virus (Warts)

HPV virus on the skin is extremely contagious by direct and indirect contact and can lead to plantars warts.  Spreading can be facilitated by exposure to intimate objects (towels, tools) or any “locker room” presence.  HPV 1, 2, and 4 are responsible for plantar warts. Approximately 7-12% of the population are affected by plantar warts. 

Candida Overgrowth (Toenail and Foot Fungus)

Approximately 70% of the US population have candida albicans (yeast) as part of their normal gut microbiome. Candida is commonly found in colonies in intestines, mouths, and on skin. An unfortunate problem associated with today’s modern diet is Candida Overgrowth. The most common candida issues include thrush (mouth), vaginal yeast infections, and toenail fungus. Toenail fungus can be seeded by internal candida when moist, warm conditions exist with feet. Toenail fungus is contagious and can be caused by exposure to fungus on intimate objects from others (towels, pedicure tools, files) or in foot bath waters. When toenail fungus or other fungal infections are found, proper care, an anti fungal diet, and anti fungal medicines are used to control the fungus. Unfortunately, toenail fungus is extremely difficult to eliminate and can last a lifetime.

Pedicures can be an important part of maintaining proper foot hygiene and to identify warning signs of these common predispositions.  People with these predispositions should exercise caution when receiving a pedicure to avoid contagious infections. Take precautions when getting pedicures with Worry Free Pedi. 

 

1.     Hayley.  “10 Common Foot Problems.”. Facty Health.  Nov 29, 2018

2.    “Foot Health Facts”, American college of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

3.    Valenti Lauren. Why You Should Be Getting a Medical Pedicure This Summer.” Marie Claire. May 18, 2017