Tag Archives: Prevention

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

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.

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: