Feet are often neglected but they age like the rest of the body.​

Mdm K ingrown toenails didn’t give her problems until they became inflamed and swollen. She finally had the portions of the nails that were growing into her skin removed. After the procedures on both toes, Mdm K continued to see a podiatrist to have her nails trimmed every five to six weeks to help the nails grow properly.

“I’m hoping to start walking again,” said Mdm K, 64. She had been very active before, but had to stop brisk walking regularly because of her painful toes. She also had to cut back on travelling because it was difficult to walk.

A common problem, ingrown toenails occur when the nails grow into the soft skin tissues on the sides of the toes. Ingrown toenails can become inflamed and infected if the condition is not treated early. “It normally affects the big toes, and occasionally the second and fifth toes," said podiatrists from the Podiatry Department​, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

Not cutting the nail down the sides will help it grow properly. Cutting down the sides might leave a sharp ridge of nail that can grow into the skin. If the condition is serious and there are accompanying symptoms such as pain and infection, surgery to remove the nail roots may be necessary. Patients will have to continue seeing a podiatrist after surgery to have their nails trimmed to help them grow properly, he added.

Foot problems affecting the young and the elderly

Younger people tend to be the main sufferers of ingrown toenail​s as they are more active and their feet tend to get hot and sweaty, but the condition affects people of all ages.

For older people, a range of foot-related problems such as pain in the he​el, the front of the foot or under the ball of the foot, and fungal infections are common. Years of carrying the weight of the body can wear away the natural cushion of padding under the heel and the ball of the foot.

Also, as people age, the arches of their feet start to flatten because the ligaments in that area get more lax, and are not so tight.

With the arches becoming less flexible, and the ankles and foot joints also becoming stiffer, foot pain and other problems tend to develop among older people.

Foot ​care tip​

​Buy shoes in the afternoon

Shop for shoes in the afternoon as feet tend to swell in the later part of the day. It is best to have both feet measured while in a standing position. Always pick the size that corresponds to the larger foot.

There should be a thumb space allowance. Test the fit of both shoes by walking around in the shop. Shoes should feel comfortable without the need for a breaking-in period. Always ensure that the shoes fit the widest pa​rt of the foot comfortably.

Page 2 - Foot care tips especially for diabetics​​

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