When it comes to beauty, we typically pay attention to just about every other part of our body before our feet. And that’s especially easy to do during the winter when our feet are covered up most of the time anyway. It’s when summer rolls around that they get a little more attention. But when your feet are unattractive, it’s not so fun to wear those new strappy sandals or flip-flops around the town. That’s why we spoke with our experts to find out the top reasons your feet can look downright unattractive.
1) Horizontal Ridged Toenails
This is typically caused from the trauma of the toes hitting the front of shoes that are too small or too tight. “Repeated trauma to the nail can actually damage the nail bed,” says Miami dermatologist Melissa Lazarus, MD. “Or if you have people who are too aggressive in pushing in your cuticles.” When your cuticles are being pushed back during a pedicure, it shouldn’t hurt. They should be soft and soaked. But the good news here is that this isn’t permanent. If you stop the behavior that’s causing it, your nails should grow back normally.
2) Warts and Fungus
Warts are a virus that people can pick up in a lot of different ways—whether it’s walking barefoot or when a nail technician uses an un-sterilized tool on you that was previously used on a person with a wart. To get rid the unsightly bumps, you can try over-the-counter medications or visit your dermatologist to have them frozen off with liquid nitrogen or Cryotherapy.
You can tell you have toenail fungus when the nail lifts, gets crumbly and/or turns yellow or black. When your nail starts turning green, it could be because you have a bacterial infection on top of a fungal infection. Fungus is typically treated with oral anti-fungal medications. While there are topical medications out there, Dr. Lazarus says that they aren’t very effective. She often treats toenail fungus with a laser like the Genesis Plus by Cutera.
Bunions are the overgrowth and deformation of the foot on the big toe side. They’re generally an inherited deformity and are the result of a weakness in certain muscles. If your bunion is mild, you can train your muscles and adjust your foot position to reverse the process, says New York City podiatrist Dr. Dennis Shavelson. But if it’s a severe case, then surgery may be necessary to correct the problem internally.
5) Hammer Toes
While it sounds like a joke, this is actually a condition that’s caused when the muscles on the top of the foot are overworking to compensate for the muscles on the bottom that aren’t working enough, says Dr. Shavelson. This results in an enlarged and unattractive big toe. If the case is a mild one, your doctor can help you make adjustments to correct the condition. But if it’s severe, you’ll likely need surgery to correct it.
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