We have all made the painful mistake of trimming our nails too short at some point in our lives. Sometimes, this can really affect our foot health by causing ingrown toenails.
This happens when the nail grows downward into the skin instead of straight out, usually causing an infection. Ingrown toenails are most common on the sides of the big toe. It can also be caused by shoe pressure, injury, fungal infections, poor foot structure, etc.
Warm water soaks several times a day, properly fitted shoes and socks, and trimming nails in a straight line (rather than rounded) are ways to treat and prevent painful ingrown toenails. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. They can develop from an inherited structural defect, excess stress on your foot, or can result from an existing medical condition.
For the most part, bunions require no medical treatment. However, if you are experiencing one or more of the following, a podiatrist can help alleviate your symptoms.
Hammertoe is a deformity where one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toes begin to bend outside of their normal alignment. Pressure can begin to weigh heavy on the toes as you wear shoes which is where pain and other symptoms develop.
Hammertoes typically begin with small symptoms and deformities and continue to worsen with time. In its beginning stages, hammertoes are often impressionable which means they can be controlled using minimal treatment. It is important to know the signs of hammertoes to get them evaluated early. If left untreated, hammertoes can become more firm and difficult to manipulate, requiring surgery.
Diabetic Foot Care
Daily preventative care can help you decrease your risk of developing these other serious conditions like ulcers and infections. Inspecting your feet at the end of the day to look for any abnormalities, maintaining proper hygiene, keeping your feet warm in cold weather, encouraging blood flow in the feet, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can discourage other conditions from developing.
Flat foot is a condition where the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened which causes the sole of the foot to touch the floor when standing upright. It is likely for flat feet to be caused by the arches not fully developing during childhood and is considered a very common and painless condition. On the other hand, flat feet can occur after an injury or from the normal aging process.
While it is common not to experience any pain or symptoms of flat feet, some people do tend to sense pain in the heel or arch area. Physical activity can irritate the area and inflame the foot along the inside of the ankle. This can be caused by the tendon that is supporting the arch being stretched as it is depreciating.
A neuroma can occur in many areas of the body when nerve tissue thickens. Morton’s neuroma is the most typical neuroma that occurs in the foot and it occurs between the third and fourth toes. Also known as an intermetatarsal neuroma, the name describes its location in the ball of the foot.
Compression and irritation typically cause the nerve tissue to thicken. This pressure creates inflammation of the nerve, ultimately causing untreatable damage to the nerves in the foot.
Fungal infections in the toe or fingernails can appear as thickened, discolored, or disfigured. While it may seem like the condition is just an aesthetic concern, fungal infections can lead to worsened symptoms and pain. Diabetes, a weakened immune system, and the normal aging process are all causes associated with fungal infections. It is more likely for senior citizens and adults to develop a fungal infection as opposed to children.
As a result of damaged peripheral nerves, peripheral neuropathy can occur causing symptoms like weakness, numbness, burning, and tingling in the hands and feet as well as other parts of the body. Traumatic injuries, diabetes, and even some exposure to toxins can cause peripheral nerve damage.
Once damage to nerves occurs, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are gradual and worsen with time. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to aid in the prevention of damage to those specific nerves.
Heel Spurs/Plantar Fasciitis
Heel spurs occur in at least 50% of people who have plantar fasciitis. Past treatments for heel spurs, a bony growth that begins on the front of your heel bone and points toward the arch of your foot, included surgery to remove the growth. Nowadays, surgery is rarely a treatment option and more plans for physical therapy, ice, and pain medications are used to treat heel spurs.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Diabetic foot care is essential to your health because diabetes puts you at risk for circulation issues, diabetic foot ulcers, and loss of sensation in your feet. The expert podiatry team at LA Foot and Ankle Care provides gentle and effective care for diabetic foot ulcers and other foot and ankle issues related to diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) so you can stay as healthy as possible. Located in Reseda and Glendale, California, the team is ready to help you. Schedule an appointment today by calling the office.
Even small cuts or bruises can become problematic because diabetes slows down your body’s natural healing process. Small cuts and abrasions can become a bigger problem and may turn into ulcerations or open wounds if not treated properly.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) causes similar problems by damaging the blood vessels in your feet and legs, leading to ulcers.
Why are diabetic foot ulcers dangerous?
If diabetic foot ulcers are left untreated, they’re not likely to heal on their own. The injured tissue can decay, turning into gangrene. If gangrene develops, you may need an amputation to stop an infection or gangrene from spreading to the rest of your foot or leg.
PAD can develop due to diabetes, high cholesterol, or as a part of the aging process. PAD involves buildup of fat deposits along the inside of your blood vessels. This can damage your blood vessels, causing foot ulcers, and increases your risk of foot and leg pain as well as stroke.
How do podiatrists treat foot ulcers?
The team at LA Foot and Ankle Care aims to provide conservative treatment of foot ulcers whenever possible. Treatment includes carefully removing damaged tissue, cleaning the wound, and bandaging the area to promote healing.
Your doctor can apply topical medications or prescribe oral medications to relieve pain, prevent infection, and promote healing.
Surgical treatment, including stem cell grafts, is recommended for diabetic ulcers that don’t heal with conservative care.
How can I prevent diabetic foot ulcers?
The team provides personalized foot care to protect your feet and overall health. In addition to regular foot exams, the team also recommends:
- Wearing shoes that fit properly
- Washing your feet daily with warm, soapy water
- Avoiding cutting your nails too short
- Checking your feet daily for cuts, scrapes, and signs of injury
- Looking inside your shoes for rocks or pebbles before putting them on
If you do develop a cut, sore, or ingrown toenail, visit LA Foot and Ankle Care right away for treatment so you can start the healing process sooner.