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Patient – Tinea Pedis

Summary

Fungal infection can affect people of all ages. It will cause a rash or blisters with itching, dryness, redness, flaking, and sometimes moist white skin between the toes.

How did I get this?

You can pick up a fungal infection anywhere, however they are more common in warm moist environments where there are communal barefoot areas. Care should be taken when using foot spas if they are shared with other people.

What can I do about it?

Various treatments are available from the pharmacy. Most require an application of an antifungal cream or spray as often as twice a day. Use footwear that will allow your feet to “breathe” and moisture “Wicking” socks or natural fibres are next best.

Wear thongs or water shoes in the shower to prevent infecting others.

What help can I get for this?

Your Doctor or Podiatrist will be able to help if you are not sure of the cause of your rash, or if it has not cleared up after 4 weeks. Sometimes a skin sample can be sent to the lab for testing.

Your podiatrist can advise you about disinfection of your footwear and hosiery.

When will it get better?

With the right treatment, fungal infections will usually clear up in a few weeks. More stubborn infections can keep coming back and may require further investigation.

Patient – Subungual haematoma

Summary

Often very painful, a blood blister under your toenail will cause swelling and bruising under and around your toenail.

How did I get this?

Usually a result of trauma, you may have stubbed your toe, dropped something on it, or been stood on.

You may also see this condition after endurance events e.g. running or hiking, or after wearing shoes that sre too small.

If you are taking anticoagulant medication you should take extra care.

What can I do about it?

Painkillers may help, but avoid those containing anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen.

Piercing the toenail to release the pressure will give immediate relief, but this should be carried out by a medical professional if possible.

What help can I get for this?

Your Doctor or Podiatrist will carefully release the pressure and fluid from beneath the toenail, and advise you on appropriate dressings.

Your podiatrist can help if the toenail comes loose, or is not growing properly.

When will it get better?

Releasing the fluid from beneath the toenail usually gives immediate relief. Sometimes you will lose the toenail, but it should grow back again.

Patient – Plantar Wart

Summary

  • Plantar refers to the sole of your foot (nothing to do with gardening)
  • Wart on the sole of your foot or between your toes
  • May be painful due to a build-up of hard skin

How did I get this?

  • The wart is caused by a virus which thrives in warm moist environments
  • I may have been picked up via a microscopic skin tear
  • They are often contracted through communal barefoot areas such as changing rooms and swimming pools
  • Can also be passed on within families.

What can I do about it?

  • Avoid going barefoot
  • Remedies are available at your pharmacy
  • Use a pumice or foot file to reduce thick hard skin
  • Keep the wart covered with a waterproof dressing or tape
  • Make sure you are generally healthy with a strong immune system

What help can I get for this?

  • A Podiatrist will remove any thick hard skin and advise on treatment options
  • Treatment may involve acid, freezing, burning, or laser to kill the virus causing the wart

When will it get better?

  • Most warts will go away on their own after about 2 years
  • Depending on the type of treatment you should expect an improvement in 6-8 weeks

Patient – Onychomycosis

Summary

Fungal nail infection becomes more common as we get older. It appears as a white or yellow/brown discolouration of the nails. Lots of people get changes to their toenails however only about half are because of Fungal Infection.

How did I get this?

Nail fungus can be picked up almost anywhere, however it is more common in warm moist environments. The fungus can enter through the skin folds around your nail, through a split or damaged nail, or under the end of the toenail. People who are run down, or suffering from other health problems may be more susceptible.

Care should be taken when visiting nail spas to ensure equipment is clean prior to use.

What can I do about it?

Various treatments are available from the pharmacy. Most require an application of antifungal nail paint as often as twice a day, and some also include files or other means of helping the paint to penetrate.

Using nail varnish to hide the problem will also seal the infection in the nail and tends to make it worse.

What help can I get for this?

Your doctor may prescribe antifungal medication. Oral treatments may not be suitable for people with other health problems.

A Podiatrist will help by carefully removing any infected nail tissue and advising on treatment options. This might include Photodynamic Therapy or Laser treatment, and should also address disinfection of your footwear and hosiery.

When will it get better?

Treating Fungal Nail Infection can take many months, perhaps up to a year. Any treatment will require the nail to re-grow until it is clear of infection.

Patient – Interdigital Hyperkeratosis

Summary

  • Painful thick skin between the toes.
  • Sometimes very hard and dry
  • Sometimes the thick skin is soft, white and macerated (soft corn)
  • There may also be a fungal infection
  • The worst cases may blister and form a wound.

How did I get this?

  • Increased pressure between your toes possibly caused by any or all of the following: tight shoes, bony lumps, enlarged joints, thick toenails.

What can I do about it?

  • Wear shoes with a deep wide toebox
  • Wear a pad between the toes
  • Trim your toenails carefully
  • Treat fungal infections

What help can I get for this?

  • Podiatrist will gently remove the thick skin
  • Podiatrists can provide made to measure pads for between your toes
  • Shoe store can fit your shoes carefully
  • Surgeons can straighten toes and remove bony lumps

When will it get better?

  • Removal of the thick skin can provide immediate relief
  • Padding between the toes can help prevent recurring problem.

Patient – Hyperkeratosis

Summary

  • Painful thick skin (corns and callous) caused by pressure or friction
  • Usually on the sole of your foot or over bony lumps and joints
  • Can become blistered and form a wound if not treated

How did I get this?

  • Pressure or friction causes the skin to thicken
  • Enlarged joints or bony lumps may increase pressure
  • Tight footwear and high heels will increase pressure
  • Loose footwear will increase friction

What can I do about it?

  • Wear properly fitting shoes
  • Use a foam pads to relieve pressure
  • Use thin fleecy pads or moleskin to reduce friction
  • Gently remove excess skin with a pumice or foot file

What help can I get for this?

  • Podiatrist will help by removing the thick skin
  • Podiatrist may provide a pad to relieve pressure or friction
  • Podiatrist can provide pressure relief insoles for your shoes, and may stretch shoes for bony lumps
  • Careful Shoe fitting to ensure room for your toes and secure fit.
  • Orthopaedic surgeon can operate to reduce bony lumps.

    When will it get better?

    • Removing the thick skin often provides immediate relief
    • Padding and insoles can help prevent recurring problems

 

Ingrowing toenail

Summary

  • Ingrowing toenails occur when the hard nail plate causes a wound in the soft flesh around the nail.
  • They can be very painful and become infected.
  • There may be an overgrowth of tissue around the nail due to irritation of the wound.

How did I get this?

  • Direct trauma from tight footwear or stubbing your toe
  • Long term pressure from a thickened or curved toenail
  • Poor nail cutting leaving a sharp corner on the nail
  • Swollen toes and sweaty feet can weaken the skin around the nail.

What can I do about it?

  • Avoid footwear which presses on the toe.
  • Bathe the foot in salt water and apply an antiseptic dressing.
  • Trim the toenail as short as possible but do not cut into the painful side

What help can I get for this?

  • A podiatrist can remove the part of the nail that is causing the problem. This may be done under local anaesthetic if necessary.
  • A Podiatrist can advise on appropriate footwear and how to avoid further problems.
  • A doctor may prescribe antibiotics if the toe is infected, however the nail will still need treatment to prevent further infection
  • A Podiatrist can permanently remove the problem piece of nail and prevent regrowth. This procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and is a lasting solution

When will it get better?

  • Without treatment the nail will continue to grow and penetrate the wound.
  • Removal of the piece of nail provides immediate relief.
  • Careful nail care and the right shoes can prevent recurring problems

Ingrown toenail