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Video

Dr Dawn:

Foot problems feature heavily on the Embarrassing Bodies website and lots of you are asking about bunions. Some of you want to know is it true that high heels gives you bunions. Actually, your greatest risk of developing bunions is in your genetics. But if you inherit a foot that is more likely to develop a bunion, squeezing that foot into a pointed shoe will increase your risk.

Lots of you are asking how to prevent bunions. We know that if you have a genetic pre-disposition to bunions then spending too much time in high, narrow shoes will make things worse. I like my heels and I’m not going to tell you never to wear them but it is important that you spend as much time as possible either barefoot or in lower heels and wherever possible opt for soft leather which will be more comfortable for your foot.

Several of you are asking about how you should manage the pain of a bunion at the end of the day. Well, the important thing is to make sure that you stick to well fitted shoes. You can also buy gel pads to help protect the bunion and if you’re still struggling speak to your pharmacist about anti inflammatory drugs to help reduce the pain.

There’s quite a debate on the Embarrassing Bodies website between people who have been offered bunion surgery and are unsure whether or not to go for it. There are actually several different operations to treat bunions, but all of them are a bigger ordeal than most people realise and you can expect to take at least 12 weeks to recover before your back in normal shoes. And for some people the stiffness that follows surgery means they never actually get back into their high heels.

Athlete’s foot is clearly a very common problem if the Embarrassing Bodies website is anything to go by. Lots of you asking what causes it and what you can do to prevent it. Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection of the skin of the feet and the fungi love warm, damp environments so if you spend your life in hot sweaty trainers, you’re a sitting duck. It’s important that you spend as much time as you can with your feet out in the fresh air, wash your feet every day and dry carefully between the toes. Change your socks every day and wherever possible stick to cotton socks and if you can afford it invest in a second pair of trainers, so at the end of the day you can fill your trainers with news paper and put them in your airing cupboard or on the boiler to dry out. It can take 48 hours for damp trainers to dry out properly.

Several questions here about sprays, creams and powders. Most of these contain an antifungal and are available over the counter from your chemist so have a word with your pharmacist and they’ll be able to help you find the best preparation for you. Some of you have experimented with your own remedies for athlete’s foot and here’s one I like. A chap who’s been suffering for 10 years and has made his own treatment up. It’s a mixture of corn starch, baking powder, tea tree oil and lavender oil. It seems to have worked for him.

Smelly feet are right up there when it comes to embarrassing problems. Many of you are asking how you can manage your smelly feet. Well, interestingly, fresh sweat doesn’t smell. It only begins to smell when the bugs that live naturally on our skins start to break the sweat down. And if you suffer with smelly feet you might be tempted to wash your feet more regularly. Most soaps are actually quite alkaline and they can create an environment for those sweat eating bugs to multiply. So if you’re a sufferer try using a PH balanced soap.

And quite a few questions about corns, people wanting to know what causes them and what you can do to treat them. Corns are actually several layers of hardened skin and they’re almost always a reflection of badly fitting shoes. If you’ve developed a corn have a chat with your chemist where you can buy plasters containing something called salicylic acid. Left in place for a few days, these soften skin and treat the corn.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Foot Problems

In this short video, Dr Dawn takes time to answer some of the most popular questions Embarrassing Bodies viewers have asked about feet.

The majority of these questions were posted on our condition guides to athlete’s foot, corns, veruccas and bunions.

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Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I work in a care home and after a 13 hour shift my feet are really offensive, they have been particularly sweaty and smelly during this hot weather, I need serious help





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I've used Trust on my feet for over 10 years and think it's the best thing on the market. I don't understand why it's not more well known.

I have a pain in my heel..





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The balls of my feet have gone flat, I've tried gel pads I've had orthotic alterations to my shoes but nothing helps.I've heard of silicone injections can anyone shed any light on this subject please





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My right toe has flesh on the sides and it is embarrassing to get my right foot out in public. It has been like it for a while and my toe nail is quite long and it used to bleed if somebody stood on it. Does anyone know what I have to do, is there a cream to help it because I don't want to go in for surgery.





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Hi I suffer from restless legs and have had this a long time now but over the years it has got a lot worse. I have to get up two or three times a night to help settle them. Also my feet get very hot. I have tried putting them in cold water for about half an hour but they heat the water up, I have also walk around the Garden when it has snowed to try and cool them down. My mother had this till the day that she died. I have disgusted this with my doctor but he says that there is no known cure. My eyes are stinging because of lack of sleep. Can you suggest any thing I can take. They say that lack of Iron do not help but in my case my iron level is high.





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hi my name is jasmine i have two daughter's one which has a syndrome of ur feet were on the right side the 3Rd, 4Th and 5Th toes are larger then normal and on her left side her 4th and 5th toes are also larger she has and i have a hard time finding shoes that will fit as her feet are big sorry for spelling but it's called prodiese syndrome and in the next few months we will be going to the hospital and they will be cutting them off. ana i will like to know the best way to check ur bra size as i'm not sure what size i am i look at myself and they look small but i'm wearing a bra sized 18d and it dont fit me it feels small digs in to my ribs and underarms or the wire comes out and just don't have the support i need and my boobs are different sizes





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It won't be the cup size that's the problem it's the bit that goes round the body instead of 18d try 22d or something bigger till you get the right width size and you may end up needing to smaller your cup size if it's to big, hope it makes sense and helps you

I have vascular corns on the bottom of my feet they are extremely painful its like walking on stones is there some lazer treatment I could get and where would I go to have it done





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I have the same problems vascular corns on the bottom of mt feet . It's is getting worst so painfull it's hard to find any comfortable footwear . Have been to many different podiatrist over the years and still suffering. Would like to find a podiatrist who can actually get rid of them for ever

I need your address to meet a doctor because I foot problem.





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my mother has had pain in the back of her lower legs near her ankles and her feet are very swollen and red tight skin for about ten years she has been too doctors they have done tests but cant find anything wrong they gave here water tablets but they just make her feet bigger they have given her stockings but they just make it worse and she cannot get around there must be something wrong its not in her mind as doctors suggest ?





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Have been getting a sharp pain in the arch of my right foot for about about 8 months now it's not a constant pain it comes and goes some times when I'm just sitting down or when I'm walking its very painful please can you tell me what this could be .





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