Issues with the nails are some of the most common reasons for a trip to your friendly neighborhood podiatric specialist. We see everything from nail blisters to bone spurs come walking (pun intended) through our doors. Here is a quick cheat sheet of some of the signs and symptoms of the common ailments that we see. All due respect to WebMD of course.
Ingrown nails: We see these every day. They can range from mild discomfort when you wear a certain pair of shoes, to a full-blown infected toe. Signs that something is wrong usually start very subtly; so coming in for an evaluation at the first sign of trouble is the surest way to prevent a more involved visit. Ingrown nails will often become chronic if they are not properly treated (aka pedicures), so the sooner you schedule, the sooner we can get you pain-free.
Fungus: Also something we see every day, many times throughout the day. Our feet live in our shoes. Days, weeks, months and even years (gross) of sweat collect on the insoles and serve as the perfect environment for fungus to grow: damp, dark and moist. With a proper diagnosis, we can offer cutting-edge treatments and kick that fungus to the curb!
Pincer nails: These can occur for many reasons, but they always present in the office with the same complaints. The patient notices their nails have an extreme curve, which will cause pain and often infection on the sides where the nail meets the skin.
Onychodystrophy: This is the fancy doctor way of saying, “thickened nails.” Impressive, I know. Often, we will come across a nail that is misdiagnosed as having a variant of fungus or other pathology and doesn’t improve with treatment. Fear not loyal reader, we have many tricks up our sleeves to help your nails look as normal as possible.
Psoriasis: Often, one of the manifestations of autoimmune disease is seen in the peripheral tissues of the hands and feet. Always be sure to tell your podiatrist everything about your medical history, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
This is just a small taste of the most common things we treat on a daily basis. The take-home message is the same though. Come on in!
And eat your heart out WebMD.
With the World Cup in full effect, fans of soccer fans are more encouraged to not just watch the sport but also play. But before you run to the nearest sporting goods store be aware that not all shoes are made equally. Cleats can be worn while playing baseball, football, lacrosse, and soccer. However, each of these sports requires a different type of cleat that is designed for the game surface and the types of movement required of the players.
Cleats have metal projections on the soles to allow traction on the playing field to allow the athlete to perform. If they are fitted properly they provide excellent support and control. However, many athletes develop foot pain from cleats due to ill-fitting shoes. Always make sure you know the sizing of the sport specific shoe prior to purchasing. For example, soccer cleats are sized like regular shoes but may be narrower at the top of the shoe. Leather cleats will stretch more after wear so they should be snug when tried on initially. Do not purchase and attempt to wear cleats that feel too small or cramp any part of the foot.
As mentioned before, cleats allow for better grip to the ground, thus enhancing the athlete’s performance. However, this increased traction also causes a higher chance of getting an ankle sprain. A sprain occurs when the soft tissue structures around the ankle are abnormally stretched. Torn ligaments may also occur from pivoting or having a foot caught while trying to move in another direction quickly. Shoes without padding or cleats that don’t fit properly may also cause plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can cause arch pain and also a burning sensation in the heel. A podiatrist will be able to help decrease this pain with a low profile custom orthotic that can be worn inside of cleats. Tight cleats may also cause blisters on the back of heels due to rubbing on the skin.
So before you start playing, be sure to have your cleats broken in prior to wearing in a competitive environment. If you have any pre-existing foot and ankle conditions, speak to a podiatrist before wearing cleats.
Holidays and birthdays are times of great celebration, and as is customary, times of great food, friends, and family. With big parties come big appetites and joyous frivolities. A temporary reprieve from our normal diet to indulge a little is generally harmless, but occasionally we see patients who present with a severely painful big toe joint that come out of nowhere. Most people take it easy for a few days and heal up with no issues, but sometimes the pain continues or worsens. A google search will bring up a slew of diagnoses, some appropriate, some far-fetched, but patients usually self-diagnose and are correct in realizing they are having a flare-up of gout.
Gout happens when uric acid, a compound formed by our body from the foods we eat, overwhelms our body and causes a localized inflammatory reaction that can occur in any joint, but for some reason prefers the big toe joint. Patients report their toe is hot, red, swollen, and is so painful, even a sheet touching it will cause severe discomfort. There are many ways that we treat gout, but the first step (no pun intended) is to come in and be evaluated by one of our amazing podiatrists. We will help you get the relief you need and keep you on your feet.
When the long northeastern winter is over and the humidity kicks in, it takes our bodies some time to transition from heat saving to heat releasing. This means the production of sweat. If you’re like me, this means lots and lots of sweat. I love holding my wife’s hand, but when we’re walking outside and it’s 90 degrees and humid, I don’t hold it against her if she drops my hand.
As a Podiatric surgeon, the two things I hear from almost every patient visit are:
1. Why feet? Feet are gross
2. I’m sorry my feet smell
All feet sweat, some more than others. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who worked a 9-hour shift or went out walking and didn’t notice a little something funky when they took off their shoes. Usually, it’s not too bad. Once you air your feet out, everything goes back to a level of normalcy. Although sometimes the funk becomes more pronounced and starts to become an issue. Feet live in your shoes, and with sweat, become a dark, damp, moist environment in which bacteria and fungus love to live off of. Without treatment, the fungus can make spores, which propagates the infection and can allow it to spread from the feet to other parts of the body, and other people.
Over the years, I’ve heard from many different patients, solutions for treating smelly feet. Everything from apple cider vinegar, to Vic's vapor rub, and even mayonnaise….the internet is a fickle beast sometimes. Evaluation by a Podiatrist is always the best solution to get control of temporary or long-term issues with your feet. We have many tricks in our bag, so give us a call or visit us on our site, lifootcare.com.
Do you have dry feet? How about dry heels?
Dry skin; also referred to as xerosis, occurs from loss of water from the topmost layer of your skin. Dry skin occurs when the stratum corneum is depleted of water. The skin’s outer layer consists of dead, flattened cells that gradually move toward the skin’s surface and slough off. When this layer is well moistened, it minimizes water loss through the skin and helps keep out irritants, allergens, and germs. However, when the stratum corneum dries out, it loses its protective function. This allows greater water loss, leaving your skin vulnerable to environmental factors.
Here are some tips to avoid dry skin:
- Avoid hot showers. This is hard for some people but the hot water can strip your skin of essential oils thereby increasing dryness in the skin.
- Avoid barefoot walking or sandals and flip-flops. Moisture can be lost through your skin in this manner.
- Maintain good foot hygiene along with sock and shoe hygiene.
DAILY moisturizing with a cream or oil based product will help immensely. It is all about maintenance and consistency! Consistency is key. “ What products should I use?” “What if I have dry feet with calluses?”
We have products that can help you!
Kamea 20 Foot Cream will rehydrate, moisturize and condition your skin. This cream is “engineered to the condition by increasing the water content of your skin, thus restoring the skin’s natural properties and suppleness”.
Kamea G Foot Cream is an exfoliating foot cream that is designed to help with the buildup of dry skin, callusing, and scale build up. This product contains Glycolic acid which yields dramatic results. Why? It is a smaller molecule so it can get into the skin more easily!
But what if I have dry feet with open cracks, bleeding or open sores? Your dry skin may be due to a bigger problem. Please call us so that we may evaluate your feet and help you!
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.