Posts for category: common foot conditions
With Halloween right around the corner, things are starting to look pretty spooky, with witches on brooms, black cats and ghoulishly grinning jack-o-lanterns perched on every front porch. Footcare, however, should not be frightening! At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we recognize that medical jargon can make a condition sound more alarming than it actually is. Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, Dr. Kimberly Thurmond and Dr. Dennis Tuck will always try to explain your foot issues in a way that is easy to understand. If you have questions, just ask. Below are three conditions whose names make them sound a lot more serious than they actually are:
Xerosis—is the medical term for very dry skin. Common causes are showering more than once a day, using very hot water when bath or using laundry detergents or soaps that contain ingredients that dry the skin. Using a rich moisturizer a few times a day will usually eliminate the problem.
Tinea Pedis—you know this condition as Athlete’s foot. Symptoms include itchy, red, dry skin, especially between the toes. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the feet and even cause oozing blisters to form. The best way to prevent this irritating disorder is to not go barefoot in public places since the fungal infection is spread by direct contact.
Onychomycosis—is more commonly known as a fungal toenail infection. Typically, the nail will get thick and brittle and even start to crumble at the edges. It also will turn a darker color. Like athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections are the result of coming directly into contact with the fungus—sharing footwear, walking barefoot in a public place or using a footbath at a nail salon that has not been properly sanitized are all possible ways the infection could be spread.
What’s important to remember is that anytime you notice something unusual or uncomfortable with your toes, feet or ankles it’s best to make an appointment at our Reading office to get it evaluated. Little problems can grow into bigger problems if not treated promptly.
Children are famous for finding reasons for not wanting to go to school, especially after the lazy days of summer but if your child is using foot pain as an excuse, there may be some truth to it. Many children wear flip flops for the entire summer. Although easy to wear and cheap to buy, New England Foot & Ankle wants parents to know that flip flops worn daily can have some distinct podiatric disadvantages.
The Trouble with Flip Flops
Flip flops lack support and cushioning. In children ages 8-14 bone growth is still occurring. That leaves the growth plate at the back of the heel vulnerable to injury. Constant pounding on the heel with normal walking and running and no cushioning can cause an inflammation to the area known as Sever’s Disease. Other foot conditions and injuries linked to excessive flip flop use include:
Broken or sprained toes
Getting Back on Track
Most of these problems are easily treated. If your child is complaining of foot or ankle pain, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond. The foot doctor will do a complete examination of your child’s foot and ankle and will also ask questions about footwear and activities. A number of treatment methods may be used depending on the podiatrist’s findings. These include: ice and anti-inflammatory medications for pain, stretching exercises, physical therapy and orthotics.
It’s important to deal with foot pain or discomfort in your child promptly, especially if they plan to participate in any Fall sports or other activities that will put increased pressure on feet. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s feet or footwear, don’t hesitate to contact our Reading office by calling: (781) 944-4044.
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists one of the more frequent conditions we see in patients is fungal toenails. Symptoms of fungal toenail include: discoloration and thickening of the nail and brittleness, sometimes accompanied by peeling or flaking. Direct contact with the fungi is usually how fungal toenails develop. This can occur in a number of different ways:
Going barefoot in a gym, communal shower, public pool
Getting a pedicure at a salon that does not follow proper sanitizing procedures
Sharing socks or shoes with others
Too much time in tight, closed in footwear and/or sweaty socks
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although fungal nails may not initially be painful, they can worsen to the point where the nail becomes separated from the bed and a bacterial infection may occur then as well. Fungal infection can also spread from your toenails to other areas on your foot or body. One of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will examine your foot and nails to diagnose a fungal toenail. Typical treatments of fungal toenails include prescription of oral or topical medications. These, however, can take several months to show results, may have side effects and are not effective in many patients. Laser therapy is another treatment option we offer that has several advantages:
You can see clear nail growth and improved appearance after 1 or 2 treatments
The laser works by gently heating the skin under the nail and effectively killing the fungus
There are no side affects
Laser treatment is generally not painful, although you will feel warmth and heat
It in no way restricts your normal activities
Although summer brings lots of opportunities for fun activities it also can be a time of increased risk for certain common foot problems. At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we want all of our patients to enjoy their fun in the sun and keep feet safe and healthy. Here are some common problems and what to do about them:
Problem: Sunburn—the skin on your feet is just as susceptible to sun burn as the rest of your body. Sunburn on your feet increases the risk of certain types of skin cancer as well.
Solution: Apply sunscreen liberally to your feet with the same frequency that you apply to other areas on your body. Make sure that even on days when you are just out running errands that you have sunscreen on your feet if you are wearing open shoes.
Problem: Blisters—new shoes purchased for vacation or long hikes are just a couple of reasons why you may end up with a blister this summer. Also, sweaty skin tends to increase friction with footwear making blisters more likely.
Solution: Be sure that shoes fit properly and feel comfortable when you buy them. Shop at the end of the day when feet are at their largest to avoid surprises later. If you do feel that the skin in one area is getting irritated, apply moleskin to protect that spot and try not to wear the same pair of shoes again for a few days.
Problem: Sprains—in the summer, people are more likely to spend time in flip flops or other footwear that doesn’t provide good ankle support. Also, impromptu games of beach volleyball or softball at the family barbeque can lead to sprains or other injuries.
Solution: Wear the right shoes for the activity you are engaged in. When in doubt, pack a pair of sneakers or other shoes that support your ankle and don’t play sports, hike or do other activities without the appropriate footwear.
Problem: Fungal Infections—public pools, beach changing rooms and other damp places where people go barefoot are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi.
Solution: Always were flip flops or shower shoes when walking in public places.
If you have a foot mishap this summer, contact our Reading office for an appointment. Prompt treatment by one of our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, Dr. Carl Conui, or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond will bring relief and help you avoid bigger problems down the road.
A fungal toenail infection, also known as onychomycosis, often starts as a small white or yellow spot under the tip of one of your toenails. It is not usually painful or uncomfortable at this stage but as the infection goes deeper into your nail bed your nail begins to thicken and get brittle and crumbly at the edges. The whole nail will begin to be discolored due to the buildup of debris under the nail. The nail will look dull and not shiny. Eventually, the nail may even separate from the nail bed and this can be quite painful.
At New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we treat many cases of fungal toenails in the summer months. This is because fungi love moist, warm conditions. Places like public pools, changing rooms and rest rooms at the beach, nail salons and picnic pavilions at the lake are all likely to see lots of barefoot traffic. These are the perfect places for the fungus to flourish.
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will need to examine the nail and possibly have some of the debris analyzed by the lab to see what type of fungi is causing the infection. This will determine the treatment. Fungal infections can take a long time to go away. The foot doctor may prescribe an oral or topical medication. Other treatments include debridement, which is cleaning out the debris from under the nail and partial or total removal of the infected nail. It is not uncommon for nail infections to reoccur.
Of course the best scenario is not to get a fungal infection. Here are some ways to protect your nails:
Wash feet every day and dry completely
Keep nails trimmed short and straight across
Do not go barefoot in public places
Don’t wear overly tight hosiery and look for socks made of material that wicks moisture away from your feet
Don’t use nail polish on nails you think may be infected. Always disinfect home pedicure tools and if you have professional pedicures make sure your salon properly sanitizes tools and foot baths
Use anti-fungal powder on feet
If possible, rotate shoes so that you don’t wear the same pair two days in a row
If you have any concerns about changes you notice in your toenails, make an appointment at our Reading office at your earliest convenience.