Summer is approaching, so it is time to get your feet looking and feeling better than ever. In the winter months people tend to hide their feet away in socks and shoes, often pretending that certain issues don’t exist. They hide their all sorts of things in there- corns, callouses, warts, toenail fungus and tinea away hoping that they will resolve on their own.
Often they do not.
Below is a summary of each of these conditions with a little info on what you may want to consider doing to help.
Corns and Callouses
Corns and callouses and a thickening of the outer layer of the skin. A callous is a set of flat layers of hard skin that sits on the outer layer of skin. A corn is conical-shaped and has a very hard nucleus (core). Corns are usually more painful than callouses due to this hard core, and because with pressure the core is pushed into the layer of skin that contains nerves (feeling).
Corns and callouses are cause by friction or pressure. This is why they can feel better or worse depending on the type of footwear that is being worn at the time.
They are more likely to occur if you have:
- A Bunion
- Deformed toes: Retracted toes, claw toes, hammer toes or mallet toes.
- Bony feet with little padding or “meat”
- Flat feet
- High foot arches
- Tight shoes. Eg. Court shoes, ballet flats, cycling shoes, soccer boots, rock climbing shoes
- Repetitive exercise. Eg. Running
The treatment for corns and callous is simple. A painless removal of the hard skin is achieved by the podiatrist using a scalpel and careful technique. The podiatrist will give you after care so you can prevent them from returning, but you will be able to walk out of the clinic pain-free immediately after treatment.
Warts are part of the human papilloma virus (HPV) family. Plantar warts refer to warts on the sole of your foot and are usually caused by HPV 1, 2 or 4. They are usually cauliflower-like or lumpy in appearance, can occur in isolation or as a group, are encapsulated and have their own blood supply.
They can exist with or without causing pain. They can be discreet or obvious. These are the main two factors that influence people to attempt to remove or not. So, if the wart occurs as a single, painless wart that is in a discreet location, the individual may not wish to treat the wart. It is important to note that this is an option.
If however, pain is occurring because of the wart, treatment should be considered so as not to walk with a limp and create other unwanted conditions.
Wart treatments are varied. They include acids, injectables, freezing, natural treatments, tapes, dietary supplements, blistering agents, excision, and laser treatment. At Performance Podiatry Sydney we use acids, blistering agents and diode laser therapy. Of utmost importance to us is that the lower layer of the skin is not breached and so scarring does not occur after treatment.
Toenail Fungus and Tinea
It is important for your feet to have air circulating around them. So after 3-4 months of keeping our feet tucked away day in day out, we might expect some fungus to be living in those shoes.
Toenail fungus occurs when there is damage to a nail and subsequent overgrowth of fungal spores, causing the nail to look yellow or brown, chalky, crumbly or detached from the nail bed. For information on our toenail laser therapy, please read our blog on ail fungus laser to get rid of stubborn fungal infections.
Tinea is an overgrowth of fungus on the skin, which causes the skin to become itchy, red and uneven or peeling. It can occur between the toes, on the sole or sides of the foot. It is more common in those participating in sports or gym activities and those that are involved in “wet” work (landscaper, florist, chef etc.). Tinea is simple to resolve with the correct guidance. Treatment should always be prescribed based on the presentation. For example, is the foot dry or sweaty? This will guide the type of lotion, spray or tincture to use. Please see your podiatrist or Performance Podiatry Sydney for guidance.