Tag Archives: Prevention

Plantar Warts – Identification & Prevention

What are Plantar Warts?

Similar to other warts, plantar warts are caused by an infection of the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).  Plantar warts usually appear on the heel or ball of your foot, anywhere where large amounts of friction and pressure are applied.  This virus enters your body through tiny cuts, lesions or breaks in the bottom of your feet. Although Plantar Warts can affect anyone, they are more common among children, teenagers and people with weakened immune systems. Plantar warts are not a serious health concern and go away untreated or with home remedy treatments. But, if they become painful, start bleeding, reoccur or multiply please see your Podiatrist.

How to Identify Plantar Warts?

Plantar Warts are small, rough and appear on the soles or heels of the feet. Plantar warts can be flat and commonly grow inward under a hard, thick layer of skin such as the calluses on your feet. They can be a single wart or grow in a cluster also known as mosaic warts. Additionally, plantar warts may appear to have tiny black pinpoints inside the wart, also known as wart seeds. Don’t worry, these are just clotted blood vessels. Plantar warts usually grow slowly, but are easily identifiable because they often cause pain or tenderness in the area of the foot affected when walking or standing.

How to Prevent Plantar Warts?

It is hard to say how each person’s immune system will react to encountering HPV, but the spread of plantar warts is usually caused by coming in contact with an infected surface. Since it thrives in warm, moist environments, avoid walking barefoot in locker rooms, swimming pools and public shower rooms. Use shower sandals, keep your feet dry, always wear clean shoes and socks and avoid sharing socks with other people. To avoid spreading plantar warts, avoid direct contact with people who have them.  If you have a wart, do not scratch them.  Scratching can help plantar warts spread quickly to other smaller cuts and lesions.  Last, always cover your warts in warm environments to avoid getting more and spreading to others.

Learn more about Plantar Warts here:

How to Avoid Winter Foot Conditions

Even though the holidays are officially over and temperatures have been normalizing a bit, be mindful that sudden temperature drops may happen anytime and cause uncomfortable foot conditions. This is even more relevant for those who participate in winter sports.  So, here are the top five winter foot conditions:

1. Chilblains

Chilblains occur when the blood vessels in your skin do not respond in time to sudden temperature changes. Symptoms may include small, itchy red spots, blistering or skin ulcers, and swollen burning skin. In order to avoid chilblains, limit your exposure to cold, cover all exposed skin as much as possible, bundle up to keep your body warm and do not smoke.

2. Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s Phenomenon occurs when your blood circulation is limited in certain areas of your body, especially your fingers and toes.  This low blood circulation causes these areas of your body to feel numb and cold. This often happens due to cold temperatures or stress. Prevent Raynaud’s Phenomenon by keeping your house and office warm and by being cautious when you are outdoors.

3. Skier’s Toe

Are you a fan of skiing? While it is certainly fun, please keep in mind your toes. If you notice your toenail has become black, it is likely you have bleeding under your nail, or “subungual hematoma”. This condition can be caused by trauma or continuous use of tight shoes. Make sure your socks fit and your boots have enough room for your toes to avoid this condition.

4. Morton’s Neuroma

Did you know winter boots may cause Morton’s Neuroma if they don’t fit properly?  With this condition, you can feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoes, experience a burning pain in the ball of your foot, as well as tingling or general numbness. Morton’s Neuroma may lead to foot deformities, so get fitting shoes and ask your podiatrist for treatment options.

5. Blisters

Similar to Morton’s Neuroma and Skier’s toe, foot blisters are caused by unfit shoes. To best prevent the condition, wear well-fitting socks and shoes. Do not attempt to wear those non-returnable unfit pairs of boots you got for Christmas. If you do get a blister, avoid popping it yourself. Instead, clean it with disinfectant and cover it with a bandage for protection. If it opens, make sure you pay a visit to your trusted podiatrist as soon as possible.

 

Diabetic Foot Care

Although most people know a person suffering from (pre-) diabetes, the population at large isn’t necessarily well informed about this disease and its impact. Diabetes Awareness Month was implemented to change this by educating the public. One of these rather unknown facts is that Diabetes is the main cause behind full or partial foot/lower leg amputations.

The link between Diabetes and foot care is called Peripheral Neuropathy. Diabetes damages nerves in the foot which causes pain, sensitivity to touch, tingling, and/or numbness. Approximately half of Diabetes patients are affected by these symptoms.

Another link is Peripheral Vascular Disease.  This is a disorder that negatively impacts blood flow and circulation. Foot ulcers, wounds that won’t heal properly and infections can eventually result in amputations if not treated properly.

Annual checkups to look out for both Neuropathy and Vascular Disease are recommended. Once diagnosed, podiatrists can help manage symptoms by…

  • Creating a pain management plan and prescribing medication
  • Creating a therapy plan, including exercise routines
  • Performing surgeries in extreme cases

Needless to say, your podiatrist can help you prevent any of these conditions in the first place, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment at 309-762-7919. You can also find further information here:

Common Winter Foot Problems

As we make our way through these winter months, here are some tips to keep in mind on some of the most common problems we see in our office during the winter months:

Dry Cracked Skin

Dry cracked skin results from a lack of moisture frequently caused by the use of harsh soaps, improper footwear, and conditions such as eczema and even diabetes. Having sweaty feet and wearing wet socks often affects children. Frequently soaking your feet in warm water for 20 minutes and moisturizing them afterwards often does the trick.

Fractures

Factures often occur through athletic activities, but a slip on the sidewalk can cause fractures as well. Reports even mention that standing on a hard surface for an extended period of time can result in tiny fractures. Watch out for bruising, pain, swelling, and/or a change of color and contact your podiatrist if symptoms don’t disappear within a reasonable period of time.

Frostbite

We all know frostbite warnings and typically think about the effects the cold has on our ears, nose, and hands; however, frostbite affects your feet in a similar way. Kids especially might not realize the dangers of playing in the snow for an extended period of time. Check your kids’ feet for red/purple toes and make sure their shoes are both warm and waterproof. Get immediate help if a toe has turned black! Another risk group is people with diabetes.

Bathe your feet in warm water (100 degrees) after a long day in the cold, but avoid using a hair dryer or any other source of aggressively dry heat. Needless to say, regular foot exams will make sure you haven’t overlooked any problems and they can also determine whether you are more prone to particular problems and conditions than others. Prevention is still the best medicine after all.

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Smith - Picture (Blog. January 2017) - 11-1-17

Prevent Injuries To Your Feet

While on the job, safety shoes and boots protect your feet. According to the National Safety Council, only 1 of 4 job related foot injuries wear any type of safety shoes or boot. Safety foot wear can be comfortable and stylish and still provide protection from injury. So while on the job, be aware of hazards, be alert, follow the rules, and wear your safety boots.  Report any injury to your supervisor for necessary first aid.  Then see us if further treatment is recommended.