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Nail Health

If you suffer with toenail fungus (characterized by thickened, yellow nails) or ingrown toenails, you may as a result be uncomfortable with the notion of wearing sandals or showing off your bare feet. Left untreated, these conditions generally get worse and become harder to deal with, so ignoring them isn’t a good idea.

Your first step is to visit your family doctor, who can prescribe treatments for the fungus (either a medicated treatment that you paint on like nail polish or an oral medication). Your doctor also may be able to suggest treatments for ingrown toenails or may refer you to a chiropodist or podiatrist.

Your first step is to visit your family doctor...

Neither condition, however, renders a pedicure out of the question. Toe fungus, for example, “really presents a problem only for the client,” Willis says. “With a nice buff, we can remove any yellowing from the nail, and with a bit of care, we can remove some of what is under the nail. This tends to be a combination of dead skin cells, sock fluff, and dirt.” She adds that sometimes some medications can cause nails to discolour, thicken, or lift, so consult your doctor if you have concerns.

Dealing With Bunions

Those of us who spent years squeezing our feet into pretty pumps and ill-fitting party shoes may now be paying the price, with painful conditions such as bunions and clawlike toes ruining our sandal-wearing fun. Unfortunately, these problems have no easy fix and may require surgery, but surgical procedures have come a long way.

“As surgeons, our ability to help people has improved immensely in the past 10 to 15 years, and we are much better at post-operative pain control,” says Dr. Timothy Daniels, head of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and chair of the research committee of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.

Description: Be aware of your ill-fitting party shoes

Be aware of your ill-fitting party shoes

Nevertheless, these can be painful procedures that require significant downtime, Daniels says. “Any time you do anything to your first toe, you’re taking a part of your body that you use every single second of every day and altering it,” he says. “And although some places will advertise bunion surgery as a minor procedure, saying that it will be done through small incisions and that you’ll be back on your feet in a matter of weeks, this is often a misrepresentation of what will happen.”

Daniels says that the hardest part of recovery from bunion surgery takes six to 12 weeks, and that it can be six months before you start putting weight on your feet normally and doing the things you normally do. “It’s a question of whether the discomfort you face on a daily basis is worth going through this surgery,” he says. The outcomes can be very pleasing, and Daniels says that many patients say that getting their feet fixed was the best thing that they ever did.

While you’re considering treat-ment, ensure that you aren’t putting extra pressure on your poor feet and making things worse. Buy shoes that fit properly. Daniels has a tip for ensuring they’re the right fit without even taking your socks off: “Take a cardboard cereal box, trace the shape of your foot, cut it out, and take that tracing with you when you are looking at shoes. If that cardboard fits in the shoes, then they’ll fit. If it is hard to get the cardboard in, they won’t fit.”

You should buy shoes that fit properly

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