Foot, Skin & Nail Conditions
Our doctors treat a variety of foot conditions that have been caused by sports injuries, heel pain, and skin and toenail conditions. Some people view skin and toenail conditions as superficial, but they can develop into more major problems.
If you notice a skin or toenail problem, it is best to address it early before the problem becomes worse. Understanding these common conditions can help you to prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you do need professional treatment, a podiatrist can help you to find the cause of the issue and advise you on the best course of treatment to help the problem go away.
Common Toenail Problems
Toenails can be the cause of many different problems and can cause a few different potential medical issues, including:
Toenail fungus – one of the main signs of nail fungus is that the nail becomes abnormally brittle, thickened, and discolored. The fungus that causes these problems usually thrives in damp, warm environments. This means that environments like gym locker rooms, pool decks, and showers are ideal places for fungus to grow.
Black toenails – this condition can be very common in long-distance runners, especially those who wear running shoes that are too tight. Black toenails are often developed when the nailbed is bruised or blood pools between the nailbed and the nail. Black conditions can also be a sign of malignant melanoma.
Ingrown toenails – nails can become ingrown due to tight shoes, improper nail trimming, physical trauma, or a curved nail structure. This can usually be treated easily, but a nail that remains ingrown may need to be removed.
Toenail issues can often be prevented with a very simple method which lowers your risk for developing these issues. To prevent issues developing, keep your feet dry, wear correctly fitting footwear, and wear sandals or shower shoes in the locker room or in communal showers.
Skin Conditions That Affect Feet
Many different issues can develop with the skin on your feet. One of the causes of these issues is the enormous amount of pressure that is placed on the feet every day. Feet don’t have oil glands to provide them with moisture, which can also cause a problem for your feet. Instead, feet rely on sweat glands, which can cause foot odor, and creates an environment that is ideal for bacteria, fungi, and viruses to thrive.
Some of these skin problems include:
Plantar warts – the origin of warts is surrounded by many myths, but the reality is that they develop in response to a viral infection. The virus responsible is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has over 100 different strains, some of which can cause bumpy growths.
Athlete’s foot – this is a very common fungal infection, and also one of the easiest to treat. Over-the-counter antifungal products that can be bought at the store are usually enough to treat mild to moderate cases. Professional help may be needed for more extreme cases.
Corns and calluses – these skin conditions are related to each other, but can be distinguished based on their physical characteristics. Calluses are flattened patches of thickened skin. Corns are conical and have a center that is either softer or harder than the surrounding skin.
Blisters – blisters can develop due to friction which causes the top layers of skin to separate from the bottom layers. The space left behind then fills up with fluid as a protection method for the body while the skin repairs itself.
Cracked heels – When the skin on the bottom of your foot becomes very dry, it can end up cracking. This can be uncomfortable, unsightly, and creates an opening for bacteria to infect the body.
Proper Foot Care
The best way to prevent these conditions is to properly care for your feet. Everybody should wash their feet every day with warm, soapy water. Don’t soak your feet, and make sure you dry them properly afterward. Change your socks regularly, especially if you tend to sweat a lot. Don’t over-moisturize your feet, and use lotions only on dry skin. Trim your nails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails and do this regularly. Remember that foot pain is never normal, so you should see a doctor if you are experiencing this.
Many of these skin and nail conditions are very common but can be easily treated with over-the-counter methods or by a podiatrist. If you are suffering from one of these conditions, contact us to find out how we could help and what effective care we can offer.