By: Williette Nyanue - June is the month that we celebrate Father’s Day! This coming Sunday, many of us will celebrate the day set aside to honor the men in our families for all of the hard work they do for us. How fitting is it then that June is also Men’s Health Month? In case you did not know:
Men’s Health month is celebrated across the country with screenings, health fairs, media appearances, and other health education and outreach activities. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
Men are notorious for neglecting their health. Dr. Weil Jr. has even seen it with his male patients. He states, “Men neglect their feet more than women because we can be stubborn. When they do show up at my office, their problems are usually worse off.” Men’s health month is celebrated the entire month of June, with special emphasis this month on June 11th-17th, which is Men’s Health Week. We have been celebrating Men’s Health Week by filling our Twitter and Facebook pages with facts, statistics and solutions to common men’s health problems. In honor of Father’s Day, Men’s Health Month and the culmination of Men’s Health week, we have put together a list of common foot problems that we see here at the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute and ways to solve these problems.
Common Foot Problems in Men
- Excessive Sweating/Foot Odor – Did you know that there are over 250,000 sweat glands on your feet alone? While excessive sweating doesn’t cause foot odor, areas affected by excessive sweat can be the breeding ground for odor causing bacteria.
- The first step in controlling foot odor is taking proper care of your feet. Talk to your Weil Foot and Ankle physician about proper foot hygiene to control and prevent the development of odor causing bacteria.
- Wash your feet daily with warm water and a mild soap, and dry them completely.
- Change your socks frequently, at least once a day.
- Invest in an odor absorbing foot powder and/or a foot antiperspirant if you suffer from excessive sweating.
- Allow your shoes to dry completely before wearing them. This will help to stunt the growth of odor causing bacteria.
- The SteriShoe Ultraviolet Sanitizer is a shoe sanitizer that works to kill off the germs that cause foot infections and offensive shoe odor.
- Fungal Infections/Athlete’s Foot –Fungal infections occur when fungus grows on your feet. Fungi usually grow in warm, moist environments, so if you suffer from excessive foot sweating take special precaution. Athlete’s Foot, one of the most common fungal infections, is contagious and can be transferred by the sharing of socks and shoes or through a wet gym or pool floor. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have Athlete’s foot, with men accounting for the majority of cases. Fungal infections can also spread to your nails and cause them to become thick and discolored. Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot include red, itchy skin, burning and/or pain and blisters.
- If you suffer from Athlete’s foot or any other fungal infection, contact your Weil Foot and Ankle physician, who will be able to prescribe you a medication that will clear up the source of the fungal infection.
- For tips on how to prevent fungal infections, refer to our Guide to Summertime Foot Care.
- Blisters – A blister is a liquid filled bubble or pocket on the skin that is usually caused by friction between the skin and another material. Blisters are most commonly the result of shoes that are too tight or improper socks. While a blister will usually heal on its own, if your blister becomes painful or you see signs of an infection, be sure to contact your Weil Foot and Ankle Institute physician. To prevent blisters from occurring:
- Wear shoes that fit properly and offer enough room.
- Wear proper fitting socks.
- Invest in blister prevention patches that you can put in your shoes to decrease friction against your blister prone areas.
- Corns and Calluses – Corns and calluses are thick layers of skin that form when there is too much pressure or friction to the skin. They can also be caused by deformities like bunions and hammertoes. Corns usually appear on the toes and calluses on the bottoms of the feet.  If not addressed, they can become extremely uncomfortable. To prevent corns and calluses,
- Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly.
- Regular pedicures will also help to slough off dead skin that accumulates over time.
- The Weil Foot and Ankle Institute offers corn and callus pads to alleviate some of the discomfort that may arise.
- Because there are many different products on the market and different procedures used to treat corns and calluses, be sure to talk to your Weil Foot and Ankle physician, who will suggest the most appropriate products and line of treatment for your individual case.
- Ingrown Nails – An ingrown nail, as we mentioned in Dr. Klein’s May post, is “a toenail that has curved in at the medial and lateral sides of the nail. It digs into and can cause a break in the skin.” This break in the skin is susceptible to infection. Ingrown toenails can be the result of wearing poorly fitting shoes, but are usually the result of improper cutting of the toenail. Teenagers/young adults and older men and women are most at risk for ingrown toenails, and men are usually affected more than women. Symptoms of an ingrown toenail include pain, tenderness, swelling and redness around the area. An infected ingrown toenail may also ooze pus.
- If you have symptoms of an ingrown toenail, see your Weil Foot and Ankle physician.
- As mentioned in Dr. Klein’s post, physicians can usually take care of ingrown and even infected ingrown toenails relatively easily with either trimming or debridement in the office, or a small in-office procedure.
- Gout – Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when there is excess uric acid in the body. Gout is nine times more prevalent in men than it is in women. People with gout suffer from gout attacks, which usually occur at night and in the big toe first. The symptoms of gout or a gout attack are: pain, swelling, warmth and stiffness in the toe joint.
- If you have symptoms of gout, be sure to see one of our podiatrists here at the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute so that you can be properly diagnosed.
- After you have been diagnosed, your Weil Foot and Ankle physician can provide you with anti-inflammatory medication that will help alleviate your symptoms.
- If symptoms continue, consult your podiatrist and your primary care physician for information about further treatment options such as additional medication and possible surgery.
In honor of Men’s Health Month and Father’s Day, be sure to take special interest in your health this month and all the months to come. Schedule appointments with your doctors and get all of the necessary tests and screenings. Become aware of your health status. If you suffer from any of the foot ailments that are listed here, be sure to make an appointment so that one of our physicians can help you address the issue.
Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? Here a few health-related gifts that I am sure your dad would love whether or not he suffers from any of the above ailments.
Health related gifts:
Athletic/ Walking Shoes – Does your dad do a lot of walking or working out? Get him a pair of athletic or training shoes to keep him supported during his activity.
- Call today and request and appointment to have your dad fitted for our custom made inserts.
- Vasyli Malibu Sandals For Men - Healthy & Stylish Sandals
- Men's Fisherman Leather Sandals-Light Brown
If you don’t want to get any foot related gifts, Dr. Weil has given a list of good gifts your dad may like! (Hint, hint if any of his kids are reading this ;))
Dr. Weil’s Father’s Day Gift Guide!
- Gift certificate for a clothing store—ex: Nordstrom. Contrary to popular belief, men do like to shop too…sometimes.
- Golf balls: You can never have enough golf balls. They always seem to disappear...
- Grilling stuff: Men like to cook with fire. It brings out the caveman in all of us.
- Personalized gifts from the kids: Anything that kids make themselves is always special for dads.
I think everyone knows that when compared to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can be a little underwhelming. Let’s not make that the case this Father’s Day. Let’s show our dads how much we really appreciate them by making this Father’s Day really special. Have fun celebrating with your families!