Caring for the Nails and Skin
Oftentimes we forget about our toenails and the skin on our feet until there is a problem that needs taken care of. Fortunately we are able to help fix any nail or skin issue that may arise, but it is also important to remember to take care of these areas so that there aren’t any problems to solve.
Commonly Seen Nail Issues
Since our feet are stuffed into tight shoes and socks all day long it goes without saying that there may be some issues that arise from time to time, especially with our toenails. One of the most common toenail problems that we see in our office is a toenail that is ingrown. This can occur from improper nail trimming technique. When you couple that with wearing shoes that are too tight you put tremendous pressure on the toenail, which can result in an ingrown toenail. These are painful and can lead to infection if not treated properly and quickly.
Another very common issue is toenail fungus. Fungus is highly transmittable from person to person. It should be noted that if you spend a lot of time in public locker rooms (such as those at a local gym) you should invest in a good pair of shower shoes and keep them clean.
Lastly, we see black toenails quite frequently. This is the result of undergoing trauma or wearing improperly fitting shoes. If your nail is black it means blood is pooling underneath and it is about to fall off. It’s important to practice good hygiene and care while it’s healing to avoid infection.
Skin Conditions That May Occur
The skin on your feet also undergoes a lot of stress throughout the day. People who wear sandals or go barefoot more frequently tend to have more problems with the skin of their feet. One thing you might notice is that you have calluses on the sensitive parts of your feet, such as the heels or balls. Hand in hand with this are corns, which are found in between and around the toes. Both calluses and corns are the result of too much friction on your skin. They can be removed with a pumice stone. Another very common (and annoying) skin condition are blisters. These are another defense mechanism of your skin against friction, but unfortunately they can be painful. Usually blisters will heal on their own. Not only can your toenails suffer from a fungal infection, but the skin on your feet can too. This is known as Athlete’s foot, and while it is easier to treat than a nail infection it is still better to practice preventative care.
How to Prevent Nail/Skin Problems
Practicing good foot hygiene will prevent a number of foot conditions. Make sure to keep your feet moisturized to prevent cracking, but don’t over moisturize or a fungal infection can occur. Keep your feet clean and dry and change your socks throughout the day if you sweat excessively. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to dry out before wearing them again.
To prevent ingrown toenails make sure to trim your nails straight across and then file to your desired shape. Also remember the importance of wearing shoes that fit you properly. If you wear shoes that are too tight you could end up with an ingrown toenail, but if your shoes are too loose a blister may occur.
How Can a Doctor Help?
If you have more questions about protecting or treating the skin and nails on your feet call Dr. Viedra Elison at (623) 584-5556 to schedule an appointment at Fixing Feet Institute in Surprise, AZ.