Posts for: May, 2020
By John Patton, DPM, FACFAS
May 29, 2020
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Toenail Fungus
Onychomycosis is the technical term for toenail fungus. It’s when fungus gets under the nail and causes an infection. You’ll notice that the nail changes color and starts emitting an odor. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the other toes and even the fingers. The best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your local podiatrist.
What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Your feet are vulnerable to fungi and bacteria due to their location on the body. This is especially true if you go barefoot in damp areas like locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools. Your feet come in direct contact with these pathogens. An injury to the nail bed also opens your body up to infection. Even the smallest cut provides an opening for bacteria. Other possible risk factors include pre-existing medical conditions like immune-deficiency, diabetes, circulatory problems, and other chronic illnesses.
Podiatry Treatment for Toenail Fungus
Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist right away when you notice differences in the appearance of your toenail. This includes any thickening, discoloration, or deformity. Your podiatrist will first need to make a diagnosis before treatment starts. This is done through a simple lab test.
The first line of treatment includes oral and topical antifungal. Topical antifungal medication or cream is applied directly to the nail. Oral antifungal is taken just like regular medication. These are also more effective. You will take the oral antifungal for approximately three months.
For severe cases, patients require surgery. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment from your foot doctor right away. They can help you before it gets to this point. Otherwise, your podiatrist performs a temporary removal of the nail. This gives your doctor space to evenly apply the topical antifungal.
Toenails that don’t respond to any treatment need permanent nail removal. This eliminates the fungal infection while getting rid of the damaged nail.
At-Home Solutions for Toenail Fungus
There are a few things you can do at home to help treat your toenail fungus. A strict cleaning regime can relieve mild infections. Patients have found success in filing off the white marks and then applying over-the-counter antifungal agents. These do not stop infections from coming back, which is why we encourage patients to seek treatment from a medical professional.
By John Patton, DPM, FACFAS
May 21, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
A podiatrist can help you with a variety of conditions that affect the feet, including Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is the thickening of nerve tissue in the body, with Morton's neuroma specifically happening in the ball of the foot. It’s caused by an irritation in the nerve between the third and fourth toes. Patients experience pain while walking, with a burning, tingling, or numbness.
Developing Morton’s Neuroma
There isn’t any known cause for Morton’s neuroma. There are a few factors that can increase your risk though. These include:
- Trauma or injury to the foot, damaging the nerve and resulting in swelling.
- Improper footwear, like shoes that squeeze the foot together. High heels also increase pressure on the vulnerable areas.
- Recurring stress to the feet through repeated physical activities or exercise. This is common with patients who are constantly on their feet due to their job.
- Deformities of the foot, like a high arch or flat foot. These lead to instability throughout the foot.
The most important thing that your podiatrist recommends is wearing comfortable shoes. You don’t want anything that squeezes or hurts. Always wear athletic shoes when engaging in any physical activity.
How to Treat Morton’s Neuroma at Home
Start by finding shoes that give your toes lots of room and are easily adjustable. The soles need to be shock-absorbent and thick. This keeps the pressure off the feet. You should also invest in shoe inserts or soles recommended by your podiatrist. Lastly, pay attention to your feet and their pain levels. When your Morton’s neuroma starts to act up, take a minute to rest. Take off your shoe and massage the area. An ice pack brings down the swelling too.
Talking to Your Podiatrist
You should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as you experience foot problems. Morton’s neuroma gets worse without treatment. Identifying the neuroma early on can prevent needing aggressive treatment options like surgery.
For early forms of Morton’s neuroma, changing your shoes is enough to relieve your symptoms. Your podiatrist’s goal for early treatment is to relieve pressure from the affected area. After going through a physical examination and having X-rays done, your podiatrist creates a treatment plan that works for you.
There are a few different options that can work for you:
- Taping and padding: This is a special type of tape and bandages that you place on the bottom of the foot. This helps with your symptoms.
- Orthotics: These are the custom shoes that your podiatrist can create for you.
- Medication: Cortisone injections reduce the pain and inflammation in the foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs also reduce your swelling.
- Surgery is the last resort for treatment. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The injured nerve is removed and recovery takes a few weeks.