Category Archives: Foot Care

4 Common Practices Damaging Your Nails

With spring and summer like weather many folks bring out their favorite sandals, flip-flops and open toed shoes in rebellion to the confines of the shoes we typically wear in the winter. What better way to show off your favorite open toed shoes than with a new manicure and pedicure? Nail polish is a great way to accessorize, but some polish chemicals and techniques can be highly detrimental to your nail health. Toenails grow at just a fraction of the rate of your fingernails, which means any damage caused can hang around a lot longer than you think.

  • Using Polishes with the ‘Toxic Trio’

Most polish manufacturers are beginning to move away from these chemicals, because of their health risks.  However, formaldehyde, toluene and dibutylphthalate are still present in some products on the market. All three of these chemicals are known for their carcinogenic or toxic effects, so it’s always a good idea to check the label on your favorite polish to see what is being applied. Don’t be afraid to ask your pedicurist what polishes they are planning on using on your feet or hands.  Pedicurists work with a wide variety of products everyday and should be able to recommend brands with natural or non-toxic ingredients.

  • Give Your Nails a Break….So they Don’t!

Over time, heavy use of polishes, acrylics and gels can cause your nails to yellow and dry out. Much like your skin when it comes to makeup, your nails need time to breath, refresh and rehydrate in order to stay in top shape. Heavy nail treatments act like a varnish, sealing them away from air and preventing some of their natural restorative cycles. Plus, chemicals, like those mentioned earlier, can draw nutrients out of your nail leaving them thin and easy to break or tear.

  • If You Change Colors, Avoid Acetone

There are thousands of different colors of polish these days and each goes perfectly with a different scenario, so it can be really tempting to want to change your polish color frequently. Be careful! Many of the solvents commonly used to quickly remove polish, like Acetone, are extremely harsh on your nails leaving them dried out and easy to damage. 

  • Don’t remove polish with your fingers

Now, I know I said you should be careful using solvents to remove polish from your nails, but you shouldn’t chisel color off with your fingers either. When you pick and peel your nail polish or lacquer off, you’re not just removing the color, you are also removing the top layer of your nails. This might seem harmless at first, but it can significantly weaken the nail and leave it susceptible to other abrasives or damage.

5 Tips to Avoid Toenail Fungus this Season

Toenail fungus is becoming more common this time of year since it’s warming up. This irritating condition is a hassle to deal with, which is why we collected our top 5 tips to prevent toenail fungus:

1. Change your socks

Nail fungus loves moist and dark environments, so sweaty feet and wet socks are the perfect environment for toenail fungus. No matter whether you go hiking or have a stressful day at the office, make sure to have an extra pair of socks with you. Your colleagues will appreciate it as well!

2. Clean your toes

Just like your teeth, your toenails need to be cleaned. The more regular you clean, the lower the chance of getting toenail fungus! Once a day is probably more than enough, but twice a day makes sense when going to the gym or engaging on any other physically challenging activity.

3. Wear sandals

Talking about the gym: public showers and locker rooms are filled with bacteria and moisture, so wear sandals to protect your feet when going to the gym or local pool.

4. Use antifungal sprays or powders

Some people naturally sweat more than others, so control sweat by spraying antifungal sprays/powders inside your shoes and on your socks.

5. Wear shoes that fit

If your shoes are irritating your toes, they are most likely irritating your toenails. Any irritation increases the risk of getting toenail fungus, so make sure your shoes don’t touch your toenails. Alternate the shoes you wear so that they can air out before you wear them again.

Let’s all try to prevent toenail fungus for happier healthier feet, and keep your eyes open for upcoming blogs about toenail fungus detection and treatment options.

Toenail Fungus

Chemotherapy and the Feet

Chemotherapy has many side effects, including Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) which is caused by damage or irritation of nerves carrying feeling sensations from the limbs, hands and feet to the central nervous system.

It is either described as a numb or frozen feeling, as well as a cramped, tingling, sensitivity to temperature feeling in either direction. Numbness in the feet may result in difficulty balancing, because affected individuals can’t properly feel the ground. Even though this condition begins as a side-effect to treatment, it can persist even afterward the treatment is finished, making everyday tasks more difficult to get through.

Another condition called Hand-foot Syndrome has symptoms that can significantly reduce your quality of life:

  • Red and swollen feet
  • Blisters, rashes, or calluses on the soles of the feet and/or on the palms of the hands
  • Pain, soreness, tenderness and/or a tingling sensation

There are certain home remedies like padded foot wear, warm baths and a variety of occupational therapy techniques, but we encourage you to consult with your primary care physician and your podiatrist first, because some of the symptoms may be a cause of other conditions.

Please see below for further information and don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Smith and Dr. Buckrop if you have any further questions.

Cancer and the Feet

Foot Protection – Winter Edition

Don’t let the weather have control over your feet. Whether you are shoveling, sledding, or simply walking through the snow it is important to make sure your feet are properly protected. Harsh winter conditions can often have a negative effect on your feet. Here are some tips on how to keep your feet protected and healthy this winter.

Proper footwear

Although this may seem obvious, it is extremely important to wear the correct shoes for winter. No matter what type of boot you decide to wear this winter, make sure they are waterproof. Snow and slush are unavoidable, so investing in a pair of waterproof boots is essential to keep your feet dry. It is also important to get your winter boots in a slightly larger size to be able to fit thicker socks and multiple layers. However, when participating in winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding, it is important to make sure your boots fight snug and comfortably. Boots that are too big can create instability and if your boots are too tight they can cause blisters.

Warm toes are happy toes

Not only are the type of boots you wear important, but so are your socks. This winter layering is your friend. A thin sock and an outer layer of a wool sock is a perfect combination for keeping your toes warm and comfortable. Although the temperatures can become extremely frigid, your feet still sweat. Avoid wearing cotton socks and look in to getting a pair of sweat-wick socks that won’t absorb your sweat like cotton socks do. This is a great way to avoid any problems of athlete’s foot this winter. Feet play a large role in body temperature, so make your feet a priority this winter

Keep your feet moisturized

One of the most common foot complaints in winter is dry skin, specifically cracked heels. Cracked heels, also known as “heel fissures” can be very uncomfortable and possibly painful. Like most other dry skin issues, apply lotion or moisturizing cream daily. Proper socks and footwear also play a role in protecting your feet.

Get a Grip

One way to avoid any nasty falls this winter is to make sure your boots have proper traction. Many winter boots are equipped with certain soles meant for gripping cold or wet surfaces. Generally made from rubber due to its water-proof ability, rubber soles are very effective when navigating slippery surfaces. So, do your research and make sure you’re properly equipped this winter.

Finally, always keep safety in mind. Wear proper boots, layer your socks, and take breaks to warm-up inside.

Bunions – Identification & Diagnosis

Bunions are one of the more common foot ailments – more than 20% of 18 to 65-year-olds and more than 30% of seniors are affected. Research suggests individuals have a genetic predisposition for developing bunions, meaning you are more likely to develop them if your parents or grandparents had them.

Bunions are much more than just a bump; they are a serious and often painful deformity created by the big toe being bent towards the other toes instead of facing straight forward. Wearing tight shoes, injuries, and the above-mentioned genetic disposition are prime culprits. Other potential causes include:

  • Hypermobility and laxity within the foot
  • One leg being shorter than the other
  • Loose joints
  • Low arches
  • Arthritis
  • Flat feet

Identifying Bunions seems to be easy, but they can easily be confused with the following conditions:

  • Bursitis: painful and similar appearance; mostly temporary
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: painful and similar appearance; chronic
  • Gout: painful and similar appearance; temporary or chronic

Bunions develop slowly and become more difficult to treat over the years. Early detention might prevent surgery, so please don’t wait to contact your podiatrist if you identify a bunion-like swelling that won’t disappear.