Tips for your toes and your whole feet, too


Each human foot is made up of 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles or tendons, and 26 bones or one-quarter of the 206 bones in the human body. Which is often why, when you don’t take care of your feet, other problems aren’t far behind.

  1. Feet first: Medical conditions including arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders often show symptoms first in your feet so if something’s not feeling quite right in your feet, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor.
  1. Butt out: Smoking is the most common cause of peripheral vascular disease which affects the feet and legs and can lead to walking pain ulceration, infection and even amputation. That’s a good enough reason as any to stop smoking.
  1. Heel not healing? If you’re feeling a sharp pain in the bottom of your feet, it could be plantar fasciitis, inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes. Your podiatrist may suggest you change your footwear or do some stretching.
  1. Bothersome bunions: Though high-heeled shoes can be an aggravating factor, they don’t cause bunions. These unattractive bumps next to the big toe are usually inherited. Unfortunately the only way to correct bunions is with surgery.
  1. Cold feet, warm heart: Although that’s actually not true, if your feet are always cold, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism. A blood test and a prescription may be able to help.
  1. Fungal bungle: Athletes aren’t the only ones to get athlete’s foot. This fungal infection, which affects the toes, soles and side of the feet can be a nuisance. But it’s easy to clear up with over-the-counter medication, keeping your feet clean and dry, and wearing breathable footwear.

What are your foot problems and how do you care for them? Share your tips and experiences with the Shop Talk Blog community forum!




Did you know: Our feet are getting bigger

Feet spread to support extra weight, which explains why, since 1970s, to compensate for our increased obesity, the average foot has increased two sizes. (Source)

61 thoughts on “Tips for your toes and your whole feet, too

    1. I go to a Foot Nurse, once a month,get my feet done. She checks for any irregularities, also checking toes. Well recommend seeing a Foot Nurse. As a diabetic it’s always wise to have your feet checked.

  1. Thorough review of potential causes for feet getting bigger along with solutions. Must be cautious as not all solutions would be supported by the medical community. Might better suggest seek out support thru your physician.

  2. Thanks for this information. I have never had problems with my feet before but in the past year or so I have bunions. My big toes no longer want to bend. I just figured it was ageing but now I will definetly make ab appointment with my doctor.
    Thanks Susan

  3. I have painful feet but still smoke, dont drink. But anyhoo i find pouring peroxide on my feet gives relief temporary and feels refreshing.

    1. Debbie, instead of pouring peroxide on your feet, get a little spray bottle at the dollar store and fill with peroxide. Spray it on your feet and toes. Also just soaking your feet in warm water for a while helps.

      1. Those bugs run around the bottoms of my feet and sometimes up my legs. Sometimes they are wearing spikes – they hurt! I have MS and I get the “pins and needles” sensations just about anywhere. Since attitude is everything, I give them silly descriptions – like the “bugs” running around. My foot thermostat is broken so my feet get really cold – or my brain gets that message. It doesn’t where it comes from, my feet get really cold – sometimes it feels as tho my feet are in the snow and they hurt from the cold! I wear warm socks and slippers. Shoes/sandals work to keep my feet quiet. I finally found sandals that I can wear with the braces I wear for foot drop! They lace up and in the back, they have zippers!

    2. I have type 1diabetes and have been noticing some of these problems and it’s a little bit of a relief to hear some solutions .

  4. I have bunions and my feet burn a lot. I’m fighting cancer now an during Chemo my feet burn so much. I yes a lot of peppermint lotions . Is that a good idea? Is there other means to alleviate burning feet.?

    1. I take Gabapentin,300mg four times a day, and it took all the burning away, all the nerves in my feet are dead, diabetes they say,.

    2. I found that taking a hot bath helps. It sounds counterintuitive as your feet are “hot”, but it is nerve pain and sometimes a lowered circulation that causes it.
      Rub peppermint oil on them at the end of a 15min soak in water and epsom salt.
      Book a massage for day three after each chemo. That helps too. 🙂

  5. what if my mom has always had cold feet and cold hands. Doesnt have problem with thyroid at all? Then what could it be?

  6. The pop-up article when you click on the “Did you know: our feet are getting bigger” link is quite good. But it’s VERY poorly edited because it keeps on repeating exactly the same information in slightly different words. Many more people would read to this LONG article’s end if they did’nt have to waste time re-reading the same information several times over !

  7. I had my feet done last week by a nurse that had finished training in foot care and needed sample cases for her certification- Our local Shoppers had the foot cream I needed

  8. I have always had cold feet. (not just before getting married and didn’t have a chance running away, hahaha!) – it’s a circulation problem. Also, my thyroid didn’t work the way it was supposed to. My very ‘naturally’ minded doctor recommended taking Kelp pills from the health food shop nearly 25 years ago. I asked, “why not medication?” – “Too many side effects”, he said. Blood tests before and after three months confirmed that he gave me the right advice. It’s years now, and I still take Kelp. (650 mg a day) Started out with 1000 mg. Can’t get that strength anymore.
    Now in my rather advanced age, I have trouble with my legs. Lots of pain and very poor circulation. Sometimes I have trouble walking. I finally remembered my training as a Hydrotherapist and started doing the “alternate Footbath”. You need two large pails, fill one with hot water (39 degrees Celsius) and one with as cold as it comes out of your tap. Immerse legs slowly into hot water almost up to the knee for 5 – 6 minutes, lift one after the other and place both into the cold water. Count to 20 and get back into the warm water for another round. Finish with cold, Dry off, put warm long socks on and go back to bed or go for a walk. For me, this has “saved” me from almost unbearable pain twice now within the last two weeks. Check my website for my book “Healing with Water – Kneipp Hydrotherapy at Home.” It can be ordered through bookstores or you can contact me directly since I still have a few.

  9. thanks for the information on bunions, i have been filing it down with some relief, never knew this could be inherited

  10. Great points, my mother was diabetic and had small abrasions/splits between toes,that would not heal, I am talking 5 years treating the same spots, antibiotics creams, oral antibiotics, viral creams, soaking, keeping dry, cotton socks, there was nothing we had not tried at one time or another; her specialist talked about amputating the three toes that were the biggest problem area, but I was afraid if we could not heal a small split between the toes how were we going to heal an incision:( anyway, she got a fungal cream for a sore on her face and I had extra on my hand so I stuck it between her toes…….waist not want not:) anyway the next day when I was doing her treatments we had pink skin instead of red, so I put some on the rest of the little blisters and splits within weeks we had them completely healed, with a fungal cream!!!!!! can’t hurt to try it, if all else is not working.
    Soaking feet in warm baking soda bath or epson salts is very soothing, for tired achy feet, but dry well between toes.
    I have Bunions on both feet, long line of bunions up the family tree. my doctor told me not to mention again until I was ready for surgery! They were so sore that if they touched each other at night the pain woke me up, long story short they were having a demo of acupuncture at a Christmas craft sale, they asked what hurt and my grandchildren piped up everything! we all had a good laugh, anyway they did acupuncture all over and in my two bunions, it was amazing the redness went away, the pain was less intense, and within a few days the pain was gone, still had the bunions but not the pain, worth a try and you are not off your feet for 6 weeks with surgery. other thing I have tired when they are just starting to act up is to rub Voltaren Emulgel into them about 4 times a day, this will take the redness (inflammation) out. Keep it up till the pain goes away usually a few days.
    Next I found arch support socks at Cabela’s in the states they are about 18.00 a pair but worth every cent!!!!! they are called Coolmax 16 inch over the calf compression socks# 8 2762468498 6. They keep your feet cool, dry and the light compression keeps my feet from tingling and getting tired if I stand to long, I also have a bad back and it helps with this as well.
    I also found a line of sofsole insoles that help as well, they have displays you stand on the pad and then it tells you what kind of foot pattern you have so you know which type is right for your foot. low instep, high or neutral, I take the insole out of my shoe and put these in, they have made a big difference in the amount of standing and walking I can do.
    Also the doctor that taught the foot care course I took told us the most important part of a good shoe is the toe box, it has to be wide enough for your foot, but also high enough so there is no pressure on the top of your toes, at that time he said New Balance running shoes were doing a good job in there shoe designs for this feature.
    good luck I hope some of this info helps, I am a registered nurse and took a foot care course to do foot care at a home for the aged, so I know these things worked for me, but you should always ask your doctor to be sure.

  11. If suffering the sniffles, cold ad or cough try this. Before going to bed, rub Vicks vapour rub on the soles of both feet, put on a pair of socks, you will have a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling much better in the morning. It really works.

  12. I have been having a problem, with my right foot’s big toe for the last 4 months, my Doctor calls it, a sweat gland, caused by excessive walking, for my feet.
    He removed it once, by cutting it out of toe, but within a week, it returned. It is very painful to walk, most of the time, and with my job – lots of walking is necessary, thus it appears it will never heal up completely, the Doctor does not want to remove it anymore, and has suggested an operation, but we have not planned that yet. I have
    poor curculation in my right foot, and leg due to an accident 40+ years ago, which is also a contributing factor. Any suggestions to help me, please. Thanks.

  13. I have perifialnerophery, which causes severe ache when shoes are removed at the end of the day.i use Voltaren to quiet. Verses at bedtime which helps a great deal. My question is shoiuld I seek further help from my Dr.?

  14. My second toe is bigger than my big toe and the nails on these toes have started growing sideways towards my big toe and are very, very thick. Is there anyway to fix these nails?


  16. I have tarsal tunnel and have surgery on both feet twice. Now what is happening is I’m getting tingling down the outside of my foot when touched. Could there be other nerves trapped?

  17. Cold hands & feet, you should check with your doctor as there is a medical condition associated with these. Also a wonderful way to treat sore feet or your body is soaking in warm water with Epsom salts, half a cup is good.

  18. Exercize
    Arch support in good shoes
    Doc prescribed are best for knee and hip discomfort
    Diet, elevated rest.
    All thoughts about why feet matter.
    I do not swim or play sports so deccease / fungus is outside of my experience.

  19. I developed cold feet, cold fingers, nose (all the extremities) which develops into burning hot feet in bed. My doctor diagnosed it to be Raynaud’s disease: no known cure.

    In reviewing your “Tips for your Toes” and Comments section, perhaps it could be hypothyroidism. I should get a blood test to confirm.

  20. I enjoyed the information on feet. It was most informative.
    I take good care of my feet, limit the size of heels, wear orthotics (occasionally!) do yoga, and try to vary my shoes.
    I was first introduced to foot reflexology in the early ’80’s. It’s a special treat to invigorate my tootsies!!

  21. Hi, I have a wart on my middle toe, I am already treating it, and it is not going
    away, what else can I do to get rid of it.

    1. Believe it or not, duct tape on a wart for anywhere from a few days to a week will kill a wart as it can’t “breathe”.

  22. Could someone please tell me why my feet feel like they are burning when I wear shoes. I have tried different shoes and nothing works. I don’t have diabetes

  23. The NAIL on my big toe on the right foot has almost all turned an off white chalkie texture. Any idea why & what to do about it. The doctor wasn’t concerned & had no idea what to put on it to bring it back to normal.

  24. I’ve had a problem with psoriasisis (Dry skin )on my feet the last no. of years,(Esp. my right foot,which got so bad,I could hardly walk.)but a couple of years ago,)I tried rubbing coconut oil on them.It was ‘unbelievable’ how quickly this condition disappeared when I did this.With summer just starting (Which is when I get this condition…),I’ve got a supply of this stuff in.

  25. I have Plantar Fasciatis and find the “Hot and Col Foot Roller” my bf got me to be extremely helpful. I also have diabetes and this improves my circulation.

  26. On the bone on the inside of my left foot, gives me a lot of pain, would that be caused from a fall or a sprain. I notice lately when it is damp out it seem to be worse.
    Any suggestions.

  27. Contrast Foot Baths are recommended for a variety of reasons and helps stimulate and improve the circulation in the feet. The cold water causes the arteries in the feet to shrink and the warm water opens up the arteries. By alternating, it brings oxygenated blood into the feet to help sore and inflamed tissues heal. Fill one bowl with warm water and mix in 1 tablespoon salt or Epsom salts, and the other bowl with cold water and 2 or 3 ice cubes with 1 tablespoon of salt or Epson salts. Place both feet in the bowl of cold water and remain there for 30 seconds, then place both feet in the bowl of warm water and remain for 30 seconds. Repeat this process for 15 changes. Start with once in the morning and once in the evening until your feet feet great. I do it at night when my feet feel tired and burning and they feel great in the morning. You will be happy you tried!

  28. Comment? I don’t know what you’re looking for, I have severe memory problems because of the medications I take so I don’t know much about what I just went thru, Sorry. I will mention that I have a severe bunion on left foot & still no help from my doctor so I don’t do anything to make it feel better.

  29. I’d like to see some information on haemoroids. I have been suffering for two years with them despite using preparation. H and supposortories nothing’s seems to help. Can these turn to cancer? Sometimes they break and bleed.

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