Busy Life: Busy Feet
Common Foot Problems
-what we treat and how
Below are listed some of the commonest conditions and what treatment we provide for them...
This is just to give you a general idea - lot of things can go wrong with feet!-
So if you have a foot problem that you can't see here,
it doesn't mean that it we can't help;
you can always give us a ring to make sure
Common Foot problems and their treatments
Callus or hard skin can develop for several reasons, but are normally due to pressure or friction forces working on the skin.
Corns form over specefic pressure points, commonly occuring over weight-bearing points on the ball of the foot, or on top of the toes, where the skin rubs inside the shoes. Corns can be very painful but are usually easily removed.
Soft-corns are corns that occur between the toes, so are normally softer, but can still be very painful when left for too long!
For all of these problems your chriopodist/podiatrist can reduce these areas of abnormal skin build-up, which should give some immediate pain relief or increased comfort. Yet unfortuantely, once skin has learnt to grow wrong once, it likes to repeat its mistakes! To try to reduce, and hopefully even prevent, callus or corn regrowth, your podiatrist will give advice on what you can do, and will talk you through things any possible mechanical causes. If there is an underlying mechanical problems, then orthotics or insoles can be discussed.
Athelete's foot is a generic term for a skin fungal infection on the feet. Best treated with regular applications of an anti-fungal cream such as lamisil, daktarin or canesten, combined with some strict foot hygiene i.e. washing with soap after wearing shoes for extended periods.
Verrucas or Verrucae are small areas of skin taken over by a virus. Everyone hates them, not least becuae they're a pain to get rid of! Where children are concerned, unless the verrucas are painful it is advised to wait and let their own immune system deal with them. But if they occur when you're an adult, or if they painful on a child, the quicker the verrucas are treated the more likely to respond to treatment. At the Lewes Foot Clinic we chiefly use more course-like treatments with applications of silver nitrate or salicylic acid.
"Involuted" is a term to describe a hooked or pincer nail shape, where both sides of the nail curve into the surrounding skin. This isn't always painful, but it can make the nails tricky for you to cut! A chiropodist has a distinct advantage with their angle of approach. Involuted nails may grow more painful in tight shoes and can develop into ingrowing nails.
An ingrowing toenail is when part of the nail edge digs painfully into the surrounding skin, leading to inflammation and sometimes infection. It can be caused by several things: sudden trauma, tight footwear, poor cutting or picking of toenails. At the foot clinic we treat ingrown nail as gently as possible to restore the nail to a smooth non-digging edge. If necessary a minor surgical procedure with local anaesthetic can be undertaken to remove the offending section of nail and chemically 'kill' that part of the nail root so it doesn't regrow. Although we're happy to do this if needed, we (at the Foot Clinic) find that with that it is rarely necessary if conservative treatment is performed thoroughly.
Musculoskeletal i.e. deeper anatomical structure
A sudden trauma or excessive usage because problems for our are a common causes for both soft tissues (i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament etc) and hard tissues (i.e. bone) muscle or tendon problems, usually causing damage to the tissue structure which results in inflammation.
Soft tissue damage is more commonly seen and includes plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, strained ligaments etc. Treatment will aim to reduce inflammation and prevent or minimize further trauma. This will include
- planning an anti-inflammatory regime i.e. "icing", anti-inflammatory medication.
- discussion about how to tailor your daily life or sporting activities;
- applying or manufacturing supportive devices and possibly orthoses/insoles;
- prescribing exercises to stretch appropriate muscle.
Arthritis is a wide umbrella term covering many different conditions. Even if it occurs elsewhere in the body it can affect the feet: if its in the hips or the knees it might make you walk more heavily on the other limb or foot, causing strain; also, simple foot care may prove difficult when it is difficult to bend down to your feet or hold nail nippers. Your chiropodist/podiatrist can help by providing that simple foot care and even orthoses/insoles to help cushion, balance or direct the impart the feet undergo. In some cases, warm wax therapy may be appropriate.