Posts for: November, 2018
Ingrown toenails may begin mildly but can quickly go from bad to worse. This frustrating and painful condition can affect anyone and cause significant issues. Unlike other foot-related conditions, which are often due to genetics or underlying conditions, ingrown toenails are almost always preventable and often come from lifestyle choices like the type of shoes you wear or the way you trim your toenails.
Do I have an ingrown toenail?
Ingrown toenails are easy to spot if you know what to look for. The nail begins to grow inward, curling in on one or both sides of the toenail and digging into the skin. An ingrown nail may begin with mild pain and discomfort and end up advancing quickly, producing symptoms like severe pain, difficulty walking, or even infection — which produces its own set of symptoms such as pus drainage or fever.
How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?
Preventing an ingrown toenail often boils down to the way you trim your nails and care for your feet. Always cut the nail straight across the top and never round off the corners to ensure that the nail grows straight. Wearing too-tight or narrow shoes which place pressure onto the toe can also contribute an ingrown toenail. Additionally, always keep your feet dry and clean and wear fresh socks daily.
Treating Ingrown Toenails
There are home remedies that may help stop the pain caused by ingrown toenails, such as soaking the foot in a warm foot bath and wearing better fitting footwear. Your podiatrist may be able to prescribe antibiotics to help avoid infection. In some cases, surgery by your podiatrist may be necessary. It's important to consult your doctor to see which method is best for you.
If you think you have an ingrown toenail or need help learning to better prevent them, a podiatrist can help you determine the best plan to healthier feet. Consulting with your foot doctor at regular foot examinations can help ensure that your feet stay healthy and pain-free for years to come.
Ankle pain can impede your daily function. While young men and athletes suffer this kind of lower extremity discomfort more than any other group, ankle pain can strike many people in varying intensity. At Norridge Foot Clinic, Dr. Laura Pickard takes ankle pain seriously and finds ways to heal and manage it. How are your ankles today?
Causes of ankle pain
Your Norridge podiatrist encounters many cases of ankle pain in her day to day practice. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, the most common cause is the ankle sprain. This overstretching of the ligaments which hold the ankle bones together and give them their range of motion usually results from sudden lateral twisting motion or a blow to the ankle.
An ankle sprain can heal quickly if mild to moderate in severity. The most serious of ankle sprains, however, may lead to chronic ankle instability and immobility. These severe sprains require surgery.
Other reasons for ankle pain include:
- Arthritis, including Lupus, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Achilles tendinitis and Achilles tendon rupture
- Gout (too much uric acid in the joints)
- Flat arches
- Ankle instability due to previous fracture or sprain or because of excess body weight
- Scleroderma, a hardening of the skin and connective tissue
What to do with your ankle pain
Note any incidence of injury and along with what your most difficult symptoms are and what helps or worsens them. After that, arrange a consultation with Dr. Pickard—she will discuss your symptoms with you, examine your feet and ankles, take digital X-rays, and carry out an MRI, all as needed.
Treatments depend on your diagnosis, and your foot doctor will start you on a care plan specific to it and to your lifestyle and overall health.
Common treatments for a wide variety of ankle pain issues include:
- Rest (staying off your feet helps overuse injuries, too)
- Ice (to relieve swelling)
- Compression with an elastic bandage (particularly for ankle sprains)
- Elevation above heart level
- Physical therapy
- Stretching exercises (great for Achilles tendon problems)
- Custom-made shoe orthotics to correct gait problems (such as overpronation) or structural problems (such as flat arches)
- Cortisone injections for arthritis
- Over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- Soft casts
- Crutches as needed
Get moving again!
At Norridge Foot Clinic, Dr. Laura Pickard helps patients of all ages maximize the health and function of their lower extremities. If you have sudden or persistent ankle pain, she'd love to help. Please call the office for an appointment: (773) 625-2211.
Treating toenail fungus
Toenail fungus--it's one of the most common podiatric problems children, teens, and adults have. Causing thickened, yellow, brittle nails, onychomycosis (the medical name for toenail fungus) spreads easily and can be stubborn to treat. If you see one or more of your toenails changing shape, color, and texture, see your foot doctor right away. They have the expertise and treatments to give you ten clear toenails once again.
How toenail fungus starts
The micro-organism thrives in dark, moist environments--sweaty socks and sneakers being prime candidates. Additionally, shared towels, nail clippers, shower room floors, and pool decks breed toenail and Athlete's Foot fungus. In fact, if you suffer periodic outbreaks of itchy, uncomfortable Athlete's Foot, you're more prone to onychomycosis, says the American Academy of Dermatology.
Conquering toenail fungus
Your foot doctor sees scores of patients with toenail fungus. Visual inspection is the main diagnostic tool, and for mild cases of onychomycosis, the podiatrist may recommend creams or ointments applied topically. Oral medications are an option as well.
Additionally, modern podiatry offers innovative laser treatments which kill the micro-organism right where it lives. Painless and very effective, laser treatments are applied to all ten toenails to prevent re-infection.
Unfortunately, toenail fungal infections can become quite severe and spread to the nail bed. When infection is severe, the podiatrist may advise complete removal of the toenail to prevent further problems.
Prevention is best
Of course, if you can avoid toenail fungus, your feet and nails will look and feel their best, and you won't be embarrassed to wear open-toed shoes or sandals in the warm weather. However, some people are more prone to this common infection--diabetics, those with poor peripheral circulation and individuals who are immunosuppressed.
Regardless, your podiatrist recommends these preventive measures for healthy, fungus-free nails:
- Wash your feet with soap and water daily, and dry them with a clean towel.
- Clip your toenails straight across with a clean clippers.
- Wear clean socks daily.
- Change your gym shoes after a workout. In fact, alternate pairs if possible, letting your footwear dry out between wearings.
- Wear flip-flops or shower sandals in the locker room and poolside, too.