Over time and with the pressure of age, walking, standing and sport on your feet, excessive amounts of hard and callused skin can build up causing a lot of discomfort.
If the skin especially, around your heels, becomes thickened and less flexible, it can crack causing fissures which can be very painful and even bleed. These fissures can then allow bacteria to enter resulting in infection, so it is really important to seek treatment and advice to stop it from becoming a chronic problem.
Corns can develop in areas where pressure is put on feet commonly around the toes and balls of the feet. Walking on these areas can then cause severe pain.
How we can help
Our chiropodist/podiatrist initially takes a case history and examines your feet to establish the diagnosis, causative factors and any conditions or lifestyle influences that may be feeding into the condition.
Once this is done she skilfully removes the hard skin and corns using a surgical blade which gives instant relief. Using a professional sanding tool to finally smooth off any final rough areas leaves your feet feeling silky smooth. After this, a rich moisturizing cream is applied. Individual advice is then given about how best to manage your feet and we have some quality creams which we may advise you to use to ensure that your skin retains the moisture it needs for suppleness and flexibility and good healthy feet.
Nails are there to protect the delicate tips of our toes and are themselves subjected to friction and repeated microtrauma and damage which can cause them to thicken and distort. This can make the nails very difficult to cut yourself and some of our patients come purely for our nail cutting service. This of course also comes with a nice soothing foot bath to start with to clean and soften the nails.
With age, nails can thicken and become less flexible and crack or flake. When the nail is damaged it is more prone to a fungal infection which can cause the nail to discolour, lift away from the nail bed or even drop off.
How we can help
Initially, it is important to get a correct diagnosis and this is where the professional knowledge and expertise of our podiatrist comes in. She can assess the nails and advise on the best treatment for your particular condition. Trimming away and thinning the nail can also help alongside antifungal treatment aiming over time to remove the infection altogether.
You expect a lot of your feet, carrying you around day after day, being squashed into a range of different shoes, maybe doing high-intensity sport. But how much do you look after them? It is only perhaps when they start to cause pain or itch that you start to notice them, it’s time to be kind to your feet. There are a number of conditions that cause problems the most common of which is athlete’s foot and verrucae
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection most usually occurring between the toes but it can spread to other areas such as the groin, hands and scalp as it is highly contagious. It thrives in warm moist areas and can cause itching, blistering, peeling and cracking of the skin and can become quite painful if not addressed.
How we can help
Our podiatrist can give you the correct diagnosis advice on how to manage the condition and what to use to eliminate the fungus and how best to look after your feet and footwear to avoid it returning.
Verrucae are caused by a virus. They don’t always cause pain but can do so if over an area of pressure or if a group of them form. They are contagious but relatively harmless.
How we can help
Getting the correct diagnosis is important as not uncommonly corns and verrucae can be confused and in some cases, a corn or hard skin can be hiding a verruca. Our podiatrist knows what to look for to distinguish between them so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis and appropriate advice to best manage them. Treatment aims at reducing the hard skin around the verrucae with a surgical blade which can in itself give great relief than using a treatment to stimulate your immune system to work on getting rid of them. There are a number of options so do call to book in and speak with our podiatrist.
There are numerous causes of foot pain such as plantar fasciitis (felt under the heel at the heel) or interdigital neuritis (felt in the ball of the foot).
The plantar fascia is a ligamentous band supporting the arch of your foot. Excessive stress or over overstretching can cause repeated microtrauma where the ligament attaches to the heel bone and result in inflammation. The pain is typically felt under the foot at the heel and can extend into the arch. It is worse for the first few steps in the morning or on weight-bearing after a period of sitting and worse after exercise rather than during.
The condition can be precipitated by:
- Excessive running or explosive sport especially if you have increased the level of activity recently or changed your sporting activity
- Flat feet
- Poorly supportive footwear
- Jobs with long periods of standing
- Being overweight
If left untreated an altered pattern of walking can develop and problems can emerge in the knee, hip or low back.
We often take a combined approach to this condition with advice from our podiatry and osteopathic teams giving you all the advice and treatment you may need to overcome the condition as quickly as possible. This may take the form of relative rest and avoid walking barefoot, icing the area, stretching, heel pads or insoles and hands-on treatment. Each person is different so getting tailored advice is important.
If you have diabetes it is really important to inspect your feet daily. Diabetes can affect the blood supply and nerves in the lower legs and feet leading to reduced sensation making it easier to miss any damage that has happened to your feet and reduced blood supply can lead to poor healing and difficulty in fighting off infection.
Prevention is better than cure so here are some important guidelines:
- Inspect your feet daily - the whole of your foot including the sole (use a mirror for this) and in between your toes. Look for any changes such as cut, redness, swelling and nail problems. See your GP quickly if you notice any changes
- Keep your feet clean and dry – use lukewarm water and dry gently and thoroughly allow a few minutes for them to dry before putting on clean socks daily.
- Moisturize your feet but not in between the toes where too much moisture can encourage fungal infection. Ask our podiatrist for a quality cream that is best for your individual foot problem.
- Cut nails straight across and not too short. If you have any difficulty then book in with our podiatrist, she does a nail cutting service.
- Never try to remove your own calluses, corns or hard skin as just a small cut can quickly develop into a non-healing sore. Our podiatrist is experienced in removing all necessary hard skin and painful corns without causing injury to your foot.
- If you get cold feet at night wear bed socks, don’t use a heat pad or water bottle as the reduced sensation that diabetes can cause means it is easy to burn your feet without realizing it.
- Don’t walk barefoot, always wear shoes or slippers, it is easy to cut your foot or stub your toes and you may not realize you’ve damaged it
- Make sure you keep your sugar levels under control and don’t smoke as this affects the blood supply to your feet.
- Make sure you attend your yearly foot health check-up provided by the NHS.
How we can help
Our podiatrist is highly trained and qualified to give you the best care to reduce the risks that diabetes poses to your feet. She can keep nails trimmed and skin in good condition by removing any hard or cracked skin and corns safely and keep a regular lookout for any foot changes, referring you onto your GP if she feels it necessary.
She is qualified to do a full diabetic foot health check and we also have a Doppler machine at the clinic so she can assess the blood flow to your feet if necessary.
With a regular visit to the clinic, you can feel reassured that your feet, which are a vulnerable area if you suffer from diabetes, can be kept in the best possible health.