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article imageMay is foot health awareness month Special

By Tim Sandle     May 15, 2014 in Health
Toronto - In Canada May is foot awareness month. Kel Sherkin Past President of the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association has some foot health tips to share.
May is Foot Health Awareness Month and the Ontario Podiatric Medical Association (OPMA) is running a campaign to promote good foot health. The OPMA has partnered with Valeant Canada to raise awareness. Kel Sherkin DPM, Podiatrist contacted the Digital Journal to explain more about foot health. “I believe that our feet really are the most used and abused parts of our bodies.”
Sherkin offers the following advice to readers:
1) Kick Cancer To The Curb:
All three types of dermal (skin) cancers can arise on and under our feet with Squamous Cell Carcinoma being the most common form and Basal Cell Carcinoma being less common. Malignant Melanoma is even less common but it is BY FAR the deadliest. The OPMA advises everyone to apply the “ABCDE Rule” to any new or unusual moles: Asymmetry, Border (that is irregular), Colour (that is uneven), Diameter (most melanomas are more than 6mm wide), and Evolving (changes in appearance over past weeks and/or months).
2) Fungal Infections Aren't Fun:
Fungal infections of the feet often occur in warm weather and the well-known Athlete's Foot is just one of many conditions caused by opportunistic fungal organisms. The key to avoiding the dry skin, itching, scaling, inflammation and blisters characteristic of most foot fungal infections is prevention. Some simple ways to avoid contracting a fungal infection are wearing shower shoes or flip-flops around public pools and facilities, reducing foot perspiration by using talcum powder, wearing light and airy shoes, and wearing socks that keep your feet dry.
3) Clobber Corns & Calluses:
Corns and calluses are our body's natural reaction to ill-fitting or worn-out shoes and sandals, and the looser fit of summer shoes and sandals can cause and/or accelerate their formation. The simplest way to reduce the frequency of corns and calluses is to change to footwear that doesn't cause friction when worn. If you already have corns and calluses, DO NOT attempt to remove them through the use of chemical pads or metal skin “graters”. All corns and thick calluses are best treated by a podiatrist.
4) Nail It In The Bud:
Think your toenails are the toughest part of your feet? Think again: toenails are surprisingly sensitive to a host of conditions, diseases and traumatic injuries. Take care of your toenails, however, and they pretty much take care of themselves. Avoid dropping heavy objects on your toes (easier said than done!), trim your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails, and avoid wearing overly tight shoes that can encourage the toenail to bend into the surrounding skin.
5) Don't Sweat It:
Our feet sweat more in warm weather and they can sweat even more when confined in shoes and socks. In addition, many people suffer from Plantar Hyperhidrosis – a condition commonly caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Excessive sweating can lead to fungal or bacterial foot infections, not to mention the toll it takes on socks and shoes! Sensitivity to foods or drinks containing caffeine as well as smoking can exacerbate the condition, so cutting down on these foods, drinks and habits could help.
Kel Sherkin is a Scarborough, Ontario-based podiatrist and foot specialist who opened his practice in 1976, has devoted his career to helping patients of all ages overcome foot related problems and enjoy a better quality of life.
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