Clearing Up Skin and Nail Conditions
Your feet take a beating, day after day. They support the weight of your entire body. If you routinely get in 10,000 steps per day as many experts recommend, the average female applies 1.66 Million pounds of force to the feet over the course of single day. For the average male, that is almost 2 million pounds!
It’s no surprise, then, that the feet can suffer from skin and toenail problems. Bacteria, fungus and viruses can attack the skin or nails. Repetitive overuse of the skin can cause painful skin problems. Most of the time, these conditions do not improve on their own.
We treat a wide variety of skin and nail conditions. A few of the ones we commonly see include:
Toenails that appear thick, discolored, brittle, deformed or with debris under the nail plate may be infected with a fungus. Common in our environment, fungi may invade a toenail after very minor trauma, if the feet are frequently wet or perspiring, or if your immune system is impaired, such as with diabetes.
There are a few different treatment options for toenail fungus, including oral medications and topical medications. Since toenails grow slowly, it can take many months to clear up the infection, depending on the severity and amount of toenail involved. Sometimes the nail is much too thick and needs to be debrided or reduced in thickness to allow topical medications a better chance of penetrating the nail plate. Occasionally the fungal toenail will need to be removed, particularly if it is causing an ingrown toenail.
The same fungus that can cause toenail infections can also cause athlete’s foot. In fact, it’s possible for the fungus to be transmitted from nails to skin and vice versa. Athlete’s foot is contagious, so if you walk barefoot or share shoes or sandals, you can spread the infection.
Athlete’s foot often looks like a scaly rash, with itching, redness, and often a stinging or burning pain. Many cases are mild enough to treat at home with an over the counter antifungal cream. If your rash is causing significant discomfort or doesn’t start improving after a couple days of treatment, it’s time to give us a call.
An ingrown toenail is a painful condition of the toe that occurs when the nail plate grows too far down the side of the toe or has a sharp piece of nail that irritates or cuts into the surrounding skin. This can lead to pain, swelling, redness, drainage of blood or pus, and often increased warmth to touch of the surrounding skin.
If there is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with an oral antibiotic. But unless the problematic portion of the toenail is removed, it tends to remain painful and the infection usually returns once antibiotics are completed.
The ingrown portion of a toenail can be removed in the office after administration of a local anesthetic to numb the toe. The procedure is quick, highly effective and has minimal discomfort.
Sometimes the nail is prone to growing ingrown, repeatedly, even after having the ingrown portion of nail removed. In that case we can permanently remove that portion of toenail with the application of a chemical to the root of the nail to prevent regrowth.
If your ingrown toenail is not improving, causing difficulty with activities or wearing shoes, or is showing signs of infection, it’s time to give us a call.
Corns and Calluses
If there is too much pressure and/or friction applied to the skin of the feet, corns and calluses are likely to develop. Presenting as thickened areas of skin that can become painful, corns occur on or between the toes, while calluses usually affect the bottoms of the feet.
Corns and calluses often put excessive pressure on the nerve endings in the skin. If the thickened areas of skin are left untreated, they can cause pain with walking and interfere with comfortably wearing shoes. Sometimes, untreated corns or calluses can worsen and progress into wounds, sores, or ulcers in the skin. This is an urgent condition which requires immediate treatment.
Oftentimes there is a mechanical imbalance in the foot which can be addressed to reduce or eliminate these painful skin problems. A podiatrist can best evaluate the factors causing the skin lesions and the best course of treatment.
Commonly mistaken as a “corn” or “callus”, warts are viral infections of the skin that are highly contagious.
On the bottoms of the feet, plantar warts present as thickened patches of skin. They may bleed easily if cut. On the top of the feet and ankles, flat warts usually appear as flesh colored round or oval raised bumps. Warts may also occur between the toes.
Home remedies for wart treatment are usually ineffective and allow the warts to continue to grow larger or spread. We have several different treatment options for eradicating warts. If you notice suspicious growths on the feet, or lesions that are getting bigger or multiplying, you should have it evaluated. Warts that are smaller in size are easily treated but larger lesions may require multiple treatments to eliminate.
Swift: Plantar Wart Treatment
Keep Your Skin and Nails Healthy
You don’t have to live with unhealthy, embarrassing, or painful skin and nail conditions.
Taking care of your skin and toenails has more than an aesthetic benefit; it can also have positive impacts on your overall health.
Contact our Scottsdale office at (480) 629-5903 to schedule an appointment with us. If you have questions or wish to request an appointment, please fill out ouronline contact form below and a member of our staff will respond during our normal office hours.