Skin and Nail Conditions
When people think about the work that podiatrists perform, it often tends to be centered on treatment and preventative measures for foot and ankle injuries or correcting abnormal gait patterns. We certainly perform such services for our patients at Kansas Foot Center, but we also are able to address a variety of skin and nail conditions as well.
Being able to understand and identify some of the more common skin and toenail issues can allow you to receive treatment at early stages, before a minor issue becomes a major one.
Most people consider fungal toenails to be unsightly and embarrassing, but the condition is fairly common. A fungal nail infection can be identified by toenails that have become discolored, ragged, crumbly, and brittle. In severe cases, there may also be a foul odor.
The fungus responsible for the infection thrives in warm, damp environments, like the one provided by a foot encased in a sock and shoe. This infection will not go away on its own, so treatment is necessary. There are various options for this, but laser therapy is safe, effective, and does not come with side effects that might be experienced with oral medication.
In a majority of cases, darkened toenails are simply a symptom of physical trauma experience by a toenail. These are quite common for runners and happen when the nails repeatedly hit the front of the running shoe. When caused by physical trauma, black toenails are usually a matter of subungual hematoma (blood pooling between the nail and nailbed). When the pressure builds up, it can be rather painful, but our foot specialists can help with this.
It is important to note that rare cases of black toenails can be a dangerous form of skin cancer. When malignant melanoma develops, it is best treated at the earliest possible stage. For that reason, the best practice is to come see us at one of our three Kansas offices to have any discolored nail properly diagnosed.
Warts are caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and generally are not of major concern. They are not a major health threat and will go away on their own in time. However, plantar warts are contagious, can cause discomfort or pain, and it can take up to a couple of years before they disappear. Instead of waiting for one to disappear, contact our office and set up an appointment for safe, effective wart removal.
When toenails become ingrown, it can usually be attributed to one of a handful of root causes, including faulty nail trimming practices, excessively tight footwear, physical trauma, or an unusual nail structure. Preventative measures include:
- Trim nails straight across and even with the edge of the toes.
- Avoid shoes that are too tight, especially in the front.
- Wear safety shoes if your work entails handling heavy items on a frequent basis.
In cases where a toenail repeatedly becomes ingrown, there is a possibility that part of the nail will need to be permanently removed, but we can discuss ingrown nail treatment options together.
Athlete’s foot doesn’t only happen to individuals who participate in sports. It affects young and old in a variety of situations. This common fungal infection begins between the toes, spreads across the foot, and causes a burning, itchy sensation. Over-the-counter treatment options are usually quite effective, but severe cases may require professional care. You can reduce the risk of contracting the infection by keeping feet dry and wearing sandals or shower shoes in locker rooms, communal showers, and pool decks.
Excessively dry skin can lead to cracked heels, which might seem like a fairly cosmetic concern. However, cracked heels can be painful and increase the risk of infection. Some practices to avoid this condition include moisturizing feet after showers and before bed, staying properly hydrated throughout the day, and maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
Comprehensive Foot Care – From Toes to Heel
The Kansas Foot Center provides comprehensive foot and ankle care, including treatment for the various skin and nail conditions that can affect our patients. If you have any questions on this issue or would like additional information, give us a call at (866) 222-5177. While doing so, you can also schedule an appointment at any of our three Kansas locations – Wichita, Newton, and Emporia. Of course, you can also request an appointment online today.