Toe, Foot, and Ankle Problems, Noninjury (cont.)
Check Your Symptoms
Most minor toe, foot, or ankle problems go away on their own. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- If you have swelling, be sure to remove all rings, anklets, or any other jewelry that goes around your leg or ankle. It will be more difficult to remove your jewelry if swelling increases, which in turn can cause other serious problems, such as nerve compression or restricted blood flow.
- Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for pain and swelling.
- Stop, change, or take a break from any activities that cause your symptoms.
- Avoid "running through the pain," which may increase damage to your foot.
- Consider changing your exercise routine if you think running or another high-impact sport is causing your foot pain. Switch temporarily to a low-impact exercise activity, such as cross-country skiing, stair-climbing machines, bicycling (regular or stationary), rowing, or swimming.
- Use sensible sports training techniques, such as wearing the right shoes and stretching before activities.
- Gently massage your feet to reduce discomfort, relax your feet, and promote circulation.
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes and socks. See tips on good footwear to learn how to choose the right shoes for you.
- Consider using an orthotic shoe device, such as an arch support, to help relieve your foot pain.
- Try heel-cord exercises to increase your strength and flexibility if your heel or heel cord (Achilles tendon) is tight and painful. This may help relieve your heel pain.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your pain:|
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
| Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:|
- Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
- Do not take more than the recommended dose.
- Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
- If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
- If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
Try home treatment for these other foot problems such as:
- Foot cramps. Try the following home treatment to help relieve leg cramps:
- Straighten your leg.
- Hold your foot and pull it toward you. It is probably easiest to do this from a sitting position. You can loop a towel around the end of your foot and pull it toward you if you have trouble reaching your foot.
- Gently rub or massage your foot.
- Calluses and corns. Home treatment may help relieve discomfort from corns, calluses, or other thickened skin:
- To thin a corn or callus, rub the thickened skin with a towel after a shower or bath.
- Use a pumice stone after bathing to reduce the tissue. Do not do this if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or an immune system problem, or if you have been told that you have poor circulation in your feet.
- Pad pressure areas with doughnut-shaped felt, moleskin patches, or lamb's wool.
- Never cut corns or calluses. Infection may develop.
- Some lotions and moisturizers may also relieve symptoms from corns and calluses.
- Blisters. Home treatment for blisters depends on whether the blister is small or large and whether it has broken open. See a picture of blisters.
- Swollen ankles and feet. Try the following home treatment measures to reduce swelling in your ankles and feet:
- Elevate swollen feet and ankles on a footstool or pillows (above the level of your heart) when sitting for any length of time.
- Get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour if you sit for any length of time.
- Cut down on your salt (sodium) intake. Sodium can be hidden in foods such as cheese, canned soups, and salad dressing. Consider making your own salt substitute. Talk to your doctor before trying a salt substitute.
If you are diagnosed with a foot problem, other home treatment steps may help.
- If your varicose veins are swollen or uncomfortable, see the topic Varicose Veins.
- If your feet are peeling, cracking, itching, and burning from athlete's foot, see the topic Athlete's Foot.
- If you have warts on your feet, see the topic Warts and Plantar Warts.
- If you have heel pain, see the topic Achilles Tendon Problems.
- If you have bent toes, see the topic Hammer, Claw, and Mallet Toes.
- If you have calluses or corns, see the topic Calluses and Corns.
- If you have pain in the arch of your foot, see the topic Plantar Fasciitis.
- If you have pain in the midfoot or arch, see the topic Flatfoot (Pes Planus).
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Check your symptoms if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Pain or swelling develops.
- Signs of infection develop.
- Numbness, tingling, or cool, pale skin develops.
- Symptoms continue despite home treatment.
- Symptoms become more severe or frequent.
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