Our Podiatrist In Scarborough, ME Can Help With Your Skin and Toenail Problems
NAIL AND SKIN CARE FOR HEALTHY FEET
Some conditions affect the inside structures of your feet—like fractures, sprains, muscle pulls, and pinched nerves. Then there are the ones that affect the outside covering—your skin and nails. Although some of these are caused by disease, many result from improper nail and skin care. Read on to learn what causes these problems and how to prevent and treat them.
Your feet are exposed to lots of dirty places—streets, beaches, gym floors and showers—and you can pick up an infection quickly. Some common ones are:
- Warts – Caused by a virus, plantar warts on the sole of your foot can feel like you’re walking on a small pebble. They can also spread—on you and to others—so you’ll want to take care not to share towels or footwear. Keep the virus at bay by wearing foot protection, washing feet daily, and keeping them dry.
- Athlete’s foot – This infection is caused by a fungus and causes red, cracked, and peeling skin on your feet—often between your toes. It gets its name from the fact that athletes (and others) who frequent public showers and pools get the infection more often. Head it off with scrupulous cleanliness and using medicated foot powders or sprays in your shoes and on your feet.
- Toenail fungus – The fungus invades any opening between your toenail and skin and multiplies underneath your nail, causing it to turn yellow, thicken, and crumble or split. It is hard to eliminate, so prevent the infection by keeping your toes clean and dry. As soon as you see any small spot on your nail, come in for treatment.
- Ingrown toenail – Although often caused by improperly trimming your toenail, friction from your shoes puts extra pressure on the area and can also cause it to become red and inflamed. Learn how to trim your nails correctly, and don’t wear shoes that press against the toe. We offer other treatments for stubborn, problem nails.
- Smelly Foot Odor - The interaction between the perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in shoes and socks generates the odor. Therefore, any attempt to reduce foot odor has to address both sweating and footwear. (Hyperhidrosis)
Fighting Friction Sores
Wherever your feet and toes rub against your shoes or absorb a lot of pressure, your skin reacts to protect itself. This is a normal response, but it can lead to painful conditions as well. Here are a few problems that good skin care habits can help prevent:
- Calluses – A buildup of extra skin at a friction point can lead to formation of extra skin cells that turn hard and dry. When pressure is put on these areas, the dry skin—which is less elastic—can split and expose the tender skin layers underneath. Ouch! Avoid this by moisturizing your feet every day after your shower and wearing shoes that fit well.
- Corns – These often develop on the tops or sides of the toes when one of the joints is bent out of position (hammertoe, claw toe, bunionette). The joint rubs against the shoe and a small, hard circle of dry skin forms at the hot spot. Treatment starts by protecting the area with roomier shoes and extra padding or cushioning, and then addresses what is causing the toe to bend.
- Blisters – These little bubbles form when friction causes the top layer of your skin to separate from the lower ones, and fluid collects between them. Small ones just need to have a bandage applied. Larger ones may need medical attention if they are very painful or become infected. Prevent these by reducing friction with shoes that are not too snug nor too loose and socks that fit snugly and don’t bunch up.
- Ulcers – Commonly found in those who have diabetes, these deeper foot sores develop when a cut, scrape, or blister is slow to heal and the skin continues to degrade. Infection is a serious risk, so make sure you practice good foot care habits, check your feet every day, and have us treat any sores as soon as you notice them.
Nail and Skin Care Help from the Experts
If you need help getting rid of an infection or treating any sores on your feet, contact Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center in Portland, ME, and set up an appointment. Call (207) 774-0028 or schedule online and let us help you get your feet in great shape again!