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Quiz: What's causing your aching feet?

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For high heels, how high is too high?

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For high heels, how high is too high?

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Though many stilettos may hover up to 20cm (8 inches) off the ground, a mere 5cm (2 inches) is a 'high heel' for most podiatrists. Heels that tall or higher have been linked to knee, heel and ankle problems.

In one study, women who wore 5cm heels, 40 hours a week, for two years had shorter calf muscles, shorter strides and other permanent changes that put them at risk of injury.

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Running barefoot is better for your feet than running in shoes.

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Running barefoot is better for your feet than running in shoes.

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Doctors don't agree that 'natural' running is safer. Barefoot running seems to improve strength and balance, but the lack of protection can cause more puncture wounds and increased foot stress. So, the jury is still out.

Who gets bunions?

Who gets bunions?

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Nine out of 10 cases of this common foot deformity happen to women.

The main trigger for bunions developing is too-tight, narrow shoes, which many women wear, according to leading podiatrists. Other causes include inherited genetic predisposition, arthritis and flat feet.

If your heel hurts, it's most often because of:

If your heel hurts, it's most often because of:

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Heel pain - probably the most common reason people see a podiatrist - is usually caused by plantar fasciitis, or inflamed tissue on the bottom of the foot.

About 90% of cases get better in two months through home care like ice, rest ,stretching and medication - especially if you don't ignore the pain and treat early. Injections of corticosteroids are reserved for severe cases and those that don’t respond to home care, as overuse of corticosteroid injections can lead to tearing and long-term (chronic) pain.

What causes runners' toenails to blacken?

What causes runners' toenails to blacken?

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Toes that strike the shoe’s toe box repeatedly cause trauma and bleeding under the nail. This can happen on hard pavement, or in shoes that are too short or too tight.

Some runners have been known to have all their toenails removed to avoid them banging against shoes. Opt for softer surfaces, make sure running shoes fit correctly, and buy new ones after nine to 12 months if you run 10 miles a week.

Wearing tight shoes or high heels can increase your risk of getting a type of tumour in your foot.

Wearing tight shoes or high heels can increase your risk of getting a type of tumour in your foot.

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Morton's neuroma, a benign nerve tumour, is linked to wearing high heels and shoes with tight toe boxes - so women get it much more often than men.

It's a thickening of the tissue around a nerve heading between the third and fourth toes. The shooting pain feels like stepping on a hard pebble.

Another surprising cause is positioning your toes abnormally. Golfers, who twist the foot when swinging, are prone to this condition.

What causes a woman's feet to get bigger when she's pregnant?

What causes a woman's feet to get bigger when she's pregnant?

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New mums aren't imagining that their old shoes fit no better than their pre-baby jeans. German researchers took measurements - and sure enough, found increases in foot length and width after childbirth.

Water retention and post-baby pounds ramp up size, and a hormone called relaxin literally spreads the feet out. Alas, they don't always shrink back even if you lose the baby weight. Podiatrists urge women to wear supportive, wide fitting shoes during pregnancy to decrease risks and increase comfort.

Why are your feet mostly likely to hurt after standing for short periods?

Why are your feet mostly likely to hurt after standing for short periods?

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Some people are born with flat feet, the absence of a space or "arch" between the ground and the sole, but others develop it over time.

Although often painless, a tell-tale sign is feet that feel achy or tired after standing still for even short periods or after playing sports.

People with flat feet, or their opposite, high arches, tend to need shoes with extra support.

What's a pinky toe tuck?

What's a pinky toe tuck?

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The demand for 'foot facelifts' has risen in the UK for those who want strappy-sandal-ready feet. Surgery includes toe shortening (to make the second toe smaller than the big toe) and toe straightening (to remove some bone to correct curled or angled toes). On rare occasions, cosmetic surgery is available on the NHS.

Given that feet have 26 bones and 30 joints, podiatrists warn against surgery on pain-free feet that are working just fine.

Can you ever safely wear flip-flops?

Can you ever safely wear flip-flops?

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Most versions of the summer fashion staple offer no arch support or shock absorption and lack stability, setting you up for damage.

That's why podiatrists recommend against wearing flip-flops for long periods or during sport. At the swimming pool, though, they can save your feet from fungal infections and verrucas.

Where can you catch athlete's foot?

Where can you catch athlete's foot?

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Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, dark, humid environments like athlete’s changing rooms - hence its name. Highly contagious, it can even be spread by sharing contaminated sheets. So wear clean socks in bed if your partner has infected feet. 

A good way to prevent heel blisters is to:

A good way to prevent heel blisters is to:

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Military cadets in the US who used a prescription antiperspirant for at least three nights before a long hike had blisters half as often as a control group studied. Drying foot powders, dry soap flakes and over-the-counter antiperspirant sprays that contain aluminum chloride work too.

Other studies show synthetic socks soak up moisture better than cotton, which promotes irritation when wet. That's also why dancers tuck lamb’s wool between toes.

What's the difference between a corn and a callus?

What's the difference between a corn and a callus?

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Corns and calluses are both patches of thickened skin caused by pressure and rubbing. When the patch appears on the side or top of a toe, it's called a corn. When it's on the bottom of the foot, it's a callus.

Verrucas are speckled, tough growths caused by a virus that are often mistaken for corns and calluses.

You wake up with a swollen, shiny, red, painful big toe. You may have:

You wake up with a swollen, shiny, red, painful big toe. You may have:

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Typically the very first sign of gout - a form of arthritis sometimes called arthritic gout - is a suddenly swollen, hot, painful and ugly-looking big toe.

Gout is caused by too much uric acid, a natural substance. When it builds up, it forms needle-like crystals, especially at low body temperatures. And what's the coolest part of the body, furthest from the heart? The big toe.

What causes most ingrown toenails?

What causes most ingrown toenails?

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Nails that are too short invite the surrounding skin to grow up and over the nail. The pressure can really hurt.

Cutting nails in a curved shape is little better - straight across is best.

Don't try to re-trim an ingrown nail or work cotton or dental floss under the nail, as this may set you up for an infection

When does the breaking in period start for new shoes?

When does the breaking in period start for new shoes?

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If shoes aren't comfortable in the shop, don’t buy them. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists says that between 75% and 80% of adults have foot problems - and many are caused by poorly fitting shoes. Some people, who are used to tight shoes, find that 'good fits' feel too loose!

To find a perfect fit, have the length and width of your feet measured at the end of the day, to account for normal swelling. Don't buy based on size alone.

For a safe, natural cure for athlete's foot or nail fungus, just pee on your feet in the shower.

For a safe, natural cure for athlete's foot or nail fungus, just pee on your feet in the shower.

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Alas, no clinical evidence or studies seem to support this home remedy. Topical or oral medication is the usual treatment.

 

Annoying, itchy fungal infections are one of the few foot conditions that affect men more than women -- so maybe that's why the idea of peeing away at the misery has been suggested.

Why do people with diabetes need more foot care?

Why do people with diabetes need more foot care?

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People with diabetes need regular foot care because the disease causes nerve damage. Nerves to the feet are the longest in the body and are most often damaged, making feet numb.

Hence, people with diabetes might not feel cuts, sores and blisters, which can get infected. Correct foot care reduces amputation rates by half or more.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Congrats on the fancy footwork! Your tootsies should be thanking you.

 

A great feat. Put on your dancing shoes and celebrate!

A little footloose. Try to put more foot care into practice.

The agony of de-feet! Use what you've learned to spare yourself future pain.

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