How to treat veruccas, corns and athlete's foot

Susannah Hickling

Our poor feet! No other part of our body gets quite so much grief, whether it’s from too-tight shoes or pounding the pavement. It’s time to show our tootsies a bit of TLC.

Athlete’s foot

Foot fault: A contagious fungal infection that can cause sore, red, itchy, flaking or peeling skin between your toes. Often picked up when your foot comes into contact with a surface touched by someone with the same infection.

Fix: Creams containing antifungal medications such as clotrimazole, miconazole and terbinafine are the way to go. Always use the product for the recommended time—it’s tempting to give up treating your feet when the itching stops, but athlete’s foot has a nasty habit of flaring up again. Try treating your footwear by putting shoes in a plastic bag, sealing it and putting it in the freezer for 24–48 hours.

Read more: How to prevent athlete's foot

 

Calluses and corns

Foot fault: These are areas of dead, thickened skin. Calluses are superficial and may or may not be painful, whereas corns are smaller, more concentrated lumps that cause sharp pain. Calluses can turn into corns if they put pressure on a nerve. Both are the body’s response to pressure, often from shoes that are too tight.

Fix: Rub with a pumice stone to reduce thickness but don’t overdo it, as callouses protect sensitive areas. Over-the-counter remedies with salicylic acid soften the dead skin so it’s easier to slough off, but these aren’t suitable if you’re diabetic. A podiatrist can cut out the corn, giving instant relief. 

 

Veruccas

Foot fault: Warty growths that occur when a virus penetrates the skin on the sole of the foot, forming a hard lump. They’re typically caught in communal showers and changing rooms.

Fix: Eventually your body will kill off the virus, but if you want to intervene, use a product containing salicylic acid to eat away at the dead skin (again, avoid if you have diabetes). Some people swear by duct tape and even rubbing garlic on the lesion.

 

Verucca or corn?

Veruccas can look much like corns, so how do you tell the difference? Simple—veruccas are most painful when squeezed on the sides, whereas corns hurt more when you apply pressure directly onto them.

 

Read more: How to cure smelly feet

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