When your feet don’t look good, say due to a fungal infection, it not only affects your happiness and self-confidence, but it can also be physically painful and lead to more serious problems, such as a bone infection. That’s why you should always look to a podiatrist like our experts to take care of your skin and nail problems quickly and efficiently. Here’s a closer look at some of the conditions we treat at our office most frequently.
Sometimes, instead of growing out, the side or corner of a toenail hooks into the soft flesh of your toe. The result? A painful ingrown toenail that can produce swelling, discomfort, and provide a foothold for an infection—even a serious bone infection—if not dealt with in a timely manner.
Ingrown toenails can sometimes be traced to a previous toe injury, a pattern of wearing shoes that are too tight, or trimming your toenails too short, although sometimes there is no obvious explanation, other than a family history of ingrowing nails. Fortunately, fixing an ingrown toenail is a relatively simple procedure we can perform for you, at your initial appointment, in our office. Ingrown nail procedures only take about 5-10 minutes to perform, and the results are permanent relief from ingrown nails, with a greater than 95% success rate. The recovery process is minimal, and most people are back to full activities the following day.
Take an opening between the nail and the skin—say from an ingrown toenail or toe injury—and add a fungal infection due to hot, wet, moist conditions (going barefoot in the locker room or public showers, for example), and you may get this unsightly, stubborn, and surprisingly common condition. Although usually not medically serious, fungal nails may be thick, yellowish, brittle or crumbly, and even smelly, and worst of all they are tough to get rid of—they definitely won’t go away on their own.
Our office can start you on a regiment of oral anti-fungal medication to kill the infection and restore a healthy color and texture to your nail. In more serious cases, or it the problem keeps returning, we can also consider removing the nail entirely and treating the fungus directly.
Also known as subungual hematoma and common to regular runners, black toenails form when injury to the toe (often through repeatedly slamming against the front of a shoe) causes blood to pool under the nail. If pain is intense, or you notice symptoms such as fever or chills, seek us out right away—there may be an underlying infection that needs immediate attention.
Not just for athletes anymore, this fungal skin infection (scientifically known as tinea pedis) typically affects the tops of feet and between toes. As with fungal toenails, the best way to prevent it is to maintain good hygiene and avoid exposing your feet to dark, dank conditions. The good news is that most cases clear up after about a month of care.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened layers of skin formed in response to long-term friction. Calluses tend to form on weight-bearing areas (like your soles) and are generally not painful, though they can be unsightly. Corns are more likely to appear on the tops, sides, and between toes, generally feature a hard center, and can be quite painful when pressed.
Correction depends on the source of the friction—it could be as simple as finding a new pair of shoes, stopping repetitive actions, and using protective pads, or it could be more involved, like removal of an underlying deformity such as a bunion or hammertoe. If a corn or callus is painful or bothering you despite conservative home care, stop in for a visit—never attempt to remove one yourself.
These are just a few of the most common skin and nail conditions we see at our Cedar Park and Round Rock offices, but if you notice any problems with the health of your lower limbs, call us at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for a consultation and treatment. Our goal is to get you back to living a healthy, pain-free life supported by your two happy feet. Book online, or call 512-593-2949 today.