Posts for: November, 2018
Ingrown toenails may begin mildly but can quickly go from bad to worse. This frustrating and painful condition can affect anyone and cause significant issues. Unlike other foot-related conditions, which are often due to genetics or underlying conditions, ingrown toenails are almost always preventable and often come from lifestyle choices like the type of shoes you wear or the way you trim your toenails.
Do I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The nail begins to grow inward, curling in on one or both sides of the toenail and digging into the skin. An ingrown nail may begin with mild pain and discomfort and end up advancing quickly, producing symptoms like severe pain, difficulty walking, or even infection — which produces its own set of symptoms such as pus drainage or fever.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
Preventing an ingrown toenail often boils down to the way you trim your nails and care for your feet. Always cut the nail straight across the top and never round off the corners to ensure that the nail grows straight. Wearing too-tight or narrow shoes which place pressure onto the toe can also contribute an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always keep your feet dry and clean and wear fresh socks daily.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are home remedies that may help stop the pain caused by ingrown toenails, such as soaking the foot in a warm foot bath and wearing better fitting footwear. Your podiatrist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help avoid infection. In some cases, surgery by your podiatrist may be necessary. It's important to consult your doctor to see which method is best for you.
If you think you have an ingrown toenail or need help learning to better prevent them, a podiatrist can help you determine the best plan to healthier feet. Consulting with your foot doctor at regular foot examinations can help ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free for years to come.
Many adults experience foot pain at one time or another. Foot pain can result from a sports-related injury, a medical condition, or simply from the daily stress of walking or standing for extended period of time. Common causes of foot pain include bunions, ankle injuries, and heel injuries. Foot injuries are best treated by a podiatrist to ensure proper healing. Left untreated, a foot injury can progress and lead to chronic foot pain. The foot doctors at the Family Foot and Ankle Center are your Ashburn/Leesburg, Fairfax/Burke, Reston/Herndon, and McLean/Great Falls, VA, podiatrists for the treatment of foot pain.
Bunions are a common cause of foot pain for many people. Bunions develop when the joint of the big toe slips out of place and a bony protrusion, which is the bunion, forms on the side of the foot. Since the bunion protrudes outward, it readily rubs against the inside of the shoe and can become irritated, resulting in foot pain. One treatment possibility is surgery to correct the misaligned toe joint and remove the bony protrusion so it no longer rubs against the shoe. Other treatment options include wearing orthotics and/or roomier footwear.
Another common cause of foot pain is ankle injuries, such as sprained ankles. Ankle sprains occur when the ankle twists in a different direction as the foot, causing ligaments to become stretched out and sometimes tear. Untreated ankle injuries can lead to chronic ankle instability and foot pain. A podiatrist can recommend an appropriate treatment, which could include applying ice, resting the ankle, wearing compression bandages, or surgery to repair any torn ligaments.
Injuries to the heel are another common cause of foot pain. Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonosis, also called tendonitis, are the most common heel injuries. With plantar fasciitis injuries, pain occurs on the bottom of the heel. Heel spurs can also develop, which are hard calcium deposits that form on the bottom of the heel. With Achilles tendonosis, pain can be felt at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon is located. A podiatrist can recommend the right treatment for your specific type of heel injury.
No matter the cause of your foot pain, various treatments are available through your podiatrist’s office that can help. To schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Fairfax, VA, or a surrounding area, contact the Family Foot and Ankle Center at one of its four convenient locations: Fairfax/Burke (703) 273-9818; Ashburn/Leesburg (703) 723-9267; McLean/Great Falls (703) 556-8637; or Reston/Herndon (703) 723-2719.
Treating toenail fungus
Toenail fungus--it's one of the most common podiatric problems children, teens, and adults have. Causing thickened, yellow, brittle nails, onychomycosis (the medical name for toenail fungus) spreads easily and can be stubborn to treat. If you see one or more of your toenails changing shape, color, and texture, see your foot doctor right away. They have the expertise and treatments to give you ten clear toenails once again.
How toenail fungus starts
The micro-organism thrives in dark, moist environments--sweaty socks and sneakers being prime candidates. Additionally, shared towels, nail clippers, shower room floors, and pool decks breed toenail and Athlete's Foot fungus. In fact, if you suffer periodic outbreaks of itchy, uncomfortable Athlete's Foot, you're more prone to onychomycosis, says the American Academy of Dermatology.
Conquering toenail fungus
Your foot doctor sees scores of patients with toenail fungus. Visual inspection is the main diagnostic tool, and for mild cases of onychomycosis, the podiatrist may recommend creams or ointments applied topically. Oral medications are an option as well.
Additionally, modern podiatry offers innovative laser treatments which kill the micro-organism right where it lives. Painless and very effective, laser treatments are applied to all ten toenails to prevent re-infection.
Unfortunately, toenail fungal infections can become quite severe and spread to the nail bed. When infection is severe, the podiatrist may advise complete removal of the toenail to prevent further problems.
Prevention is best
Of course, if you can avoid toenail fungus, your feet and nails will look and feel their best, and you won't be embarrassed to wear open-toed shoes or sandals in the warm weather. However, some people are more prone to this common infection--diabetics, those with poor peripheral circulation and individuals who are immunosuppressed.
Regardless, your podiatrist recommends these preventive measures for healthy, fungus-free nails:
- Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and dry them with a clean towel.
- Clip your toenails straight across with a clean clippers.
- Wear clean socks daily.
- Change your gym shoes after a workout. In fact, alternate pairs if possible, letting your footwear dry out between wearings.
- Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in the locker room and poolside, too.