Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus: There’s New Proof it Really Works

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusWhen you glance down at your feet, do you see a series of yellow and white blotches on your bare toenails? Have the edges of those nails seemingly thickened over the last few weeks? Do they have rough edges and emit a funky odor, especially when you try to clip your nails? If so, it could be onychomycosis that’s the cause of it all.

It’s an unpleasant condition that has a tendency to creep up on people when they least expect it. That’s because it’s caused by a fungus that’s too small to be seen by the naked eye. So by the time it’s noticeable, damage has already been done to the nail bed and exposed nail.

Many people who find themselves in such unpleasant straits try a series of home remedies at the outset. They may cut their nails down to a painful size and slather on a wide variety of creams. Although those actions may provide some relief, they can be messy, costly and ineffective in the long run.

Good thing there are other ways to return one’s toenails back to normal. One of the most effective, affordable options is scheduling laser treatments designed to target toenail fungus. It’s FDA approved and has been used by podiatrists for years.

In April 2014, the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology published the results of a study that demonstrated the value of laser treatment for stubborn toenail fungus problems. The publication, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, also published an article on the subject in February 2014.

They noted the value as well but also recommended that additional studies should be completed. Many are hoping that those additional studies will help narrow down treatment options and establish a list of best practices for physicians seeking to use lasers to treat fungal infections. To learn more about the treatments and how they may resolve your toenail fungus dilemma, please contact us.

Plantar Warts and Foot Wart Removal are Best Handled by Licensed Podiatrists

Plantar Warts and Foot Wart RemovalHuman papilloma virus has long been associated with a number of skin growths, including mosaic and plantar warts. Unlike some other warts commonly attributed to the virus, they are potentially hard to treat because of where they are located. Think about it. As humans, we are on our feet every day and that added pressure can not only irritate plantar warts but make it difficult to treat them. So, when homegrown or over-the-counter treatments don’t work, people should seek professional, foot wart removal.

Professional, foot wart removal often involves products that are similar to over-the-counter options. However, they are much stronger and purchasing them requires a podiatrist’s prescription. Examples include topical creams that contain salicylic acid. The tropical creams are generally prescribed first because the side effects are minimal to non-existent. Depending on the cream’s strength, it may take a week or more for the treatment to work.

Podiatrists may also choose to use foot wart removal techniques that must be performed in the office. The list of in-office treatments includes, but is not limited to trichloroacetic acid, bichloracetic acid, cryotherapy, pulsed-dye lasers, immune therapy and vaccines. Understandably, the potential side effects associated with these treatment options are typically more extensive. For example, there may be risk of pain and secondary infection.

If all of those methods fail, podiatrists may opt to recommend electrodessication and curettage. It is a same-day surgical procedure that must be performed in an acute care setting. Most of the time, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area prior to surgical, foot wart removal. However, patients with a low tolerance for pain or those who have other health problems too may need to rely on another pain reduction method.

Afterward, podiatrists usually recommend that their patients follow post-surgical care instructions. The instructions may include minor downtime to give the surgical time to heal properly before engaging in weight-bearing activities. To learn more about plantar warts and foot wart removal, please contact a podiatrist today.

Bunion Treatment Tips

Conservative Non-Surgical Bunion TreatmentA bunion is a bony bump that grows on the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe and forces the joint of your big toe to enlarge and stick out. Treatment options vary according to the type and severity of the bunion and a surgical procedure is the most invasive method. Below are some helpful bunion treatment tips.

Surgery: This operation is also known as a bunionectomy. A doctor performs the procedure in a hospital or surgery center under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. The surgeon can realign the bone behind your big toe by cutting the ligaments at the joint.

Bunion Pads and Orthotics: You can buy bunion pads at a pharmacy or grocery store. They cushion and protect your bunion. Another option is orthotics which is custom-made supports that you place just behind the big toe joint on the bottom of your foot. They redistribute your weight while you walk and take pressure off your big toe.Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can do an evaluation and fitting for you.

Stretchable Shoes: These are a good solution for very large bunions. They have a special design that combines suede leather and spandex and they are flexible and breathable. The shoes stretch to conform to the contours of your foot, accommodate foot deformities and eliminating pressure on your bunions.

Physical Therapy: This provides relief from bunion inflammation and pain. One popular technique is ultrasound therapy for treating bunions and their associated soft tissue involvement.

You can Fix your Corns & Calluses on your Feet

Picture showing foot corns and foot calluses.Corn and calluses are thick layers of dead skin that normally develop on your feet and toes. They are caused by excessive friction or pressure often from ill-fitting, tight shoes. Another cause is due to frequent, repetitive motions such as running that cause friction between the bones, skin and shoes. There are different ways to treat these embarrassing foot conditions. Here are just some of the proven methods at treating them.

One method is investing in surgery. This is a necessary option for removing stubborn corns, but it is rare. However, if your corns and calluses are not relieved by periodic shaving, shoe inserts or padding, this option is the way to go.

Another option is treating your corns and calluses yourself. You could do this by soaking your feet in warm water. After drying your feet, rub them gently with a pumice stone. Moisturize them with a good foot lotion. Repeat every day or every few days as needed.

Here is a natural remedy for treating corns that looks interesting. Place a raisin on top of the corn and hold it in place with a band-aid. The raisin will soften the corn and serve as a cushion to reduce pressure on the sensitive spot. You could find this idea here.

The last option in treating these foot conditions is seeing a foot specialist, or a podiatrist. If your corn or callus makes it hard for you to even walk, you may want to consider this option. A podiatrist may suggest special padding or shoe inserts that could relieve some of the stress on your feet. However, if your corn or callus is painful, he may just shave it away.
Getting rid of foot corns & calluses isn’t easy, but with a lot of effort it can be accomplished. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes as much as possible. For more information on corns and calluses, visit www.health.harvard.edu/pain/calluses-and-corns.

Can You Treat Morton’s Neuromas with a Trip to the Massage Parlor?

NeuromaMany Americans struggle with Morton’s neuromas. Blamed on repeated nerve irritation and compression, it causes people to experience great pain directly in between their third and fourth toes every time they take a step.

Consequently, they may decide to get foot massages at the local mall. Although this sounds like a superlative idea, it isn’t. Remember, the nerve is already irritated and under pressure. So, massaging the foot in the wrong way could exacerbate the situation.

If you look at a human foot from end to end, you’ll notice that the toes extend into a thick area known casually as the ball. Anatomy and physiologists often refer to that general area as the metatarso-phalangeal joint. It’s where our toes hook up with the cuneiform and cuboid. The cuneiform and cuboid connect to the navicular and calcaneus, respectively.

They meet up with the talus and eventually connect to the fibula and tibia. Nerves, blood vessels, muscles and ligaments are obviously all there too, which makes the foot a very compact part of the human body.

With that said, deeply massaging the foot often causes many of those components to shift position, and not necessarily in a positive way. Therefore, the only way massage should be considered as a treatment for Morton’s neuroma is if it’s being performed by a professional.

Ideally, the professional should be a podiatrist that understands the intricacies of treating Morton’s neuroma. It should also be noted that massage shouldn’t be the only treatment for patients, especially if they have a moderate or severe case of nerve damage.

There are a number of non-surgical treatments that work well with podiatrist driven massage sessions. They include the use of special padding, ice packs, footwear modifications and orthotic devices. Patients may also opt to take injections or prescription medications to lessen inflammation and pain. To learn more, speak with a licensed podiatrist.

Foot Care For Wearing Heels

Menopausal Women at Risk for Gout Should Seek a Podiatrist’s CareFor many women, shunning high heels and sticking to comfortable, podiatrist-approved footwear is not an option. Heels have become part of what is considered a polished and finished look.

If you’re attending an event, networking, interviewing for a job, or getting married, heels, event modestly high ones, are not only the norm, they are expected. It makes appropriate foot care challenging, but not impossible.

If you are the type who has to wear heels more than two days out of the week, below are a few tips to wear your shoes safely, and for the most part, comfortably.

Know Your Foot

Knowing the size and shape of your foot is very important. Some people go their entire lives wearing shoes in the same size without considering that their feet may have grown as they’ve aged (hint: they do). Some people even have different-sized feet.

Whether you have high arches, uneven or flat feet, knowing the way your foot is shaped is very important. It will help you identify the right shoes for your feet, and what type of heels to go for. Visit a podiatrist to know your foot shape, and what kind of shoes are recommended for your feet.

Know Your Heel

The amount of pressure heels will add to your foot is completely dependent on how the heel is made. A heel with less surface area like a stiletto with a thin sole will be more uncomfortable than a thicker heel with a platform sole.

If you can, go for the heel that gives you more surface area, including area that covers the top of your foot, as it will help keep you from wobbling on your feet. If you can’t, then:

Know Your Limits

Take breaks, stretch your ankles and feet. Numbness is a surefire cue that your feet need a break. Don’t grin and break through the pain. Instead, bring a cute pair of flats along with you, and the moment the coast is clear, put them on and enjoy being on your feet.


Image courtesy of Marin/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Podiatry Education Requirements

Podiatry Education RequirementsThe field of podiatry involves diagnosing, treating and helping to prevent foot and ankle conditions. Podiatrists provide medical care and can treat a wide range of problems including arthritis, hammertoes, bunions, arch problems, corns and heel spurs. Podiatrists study and train in order to become medical professionals.

Details about the education requirements are below.

Undergraduate Education: Most podiatrists start their education by earning a BS in one of the sciences. While many students choose to major in science-related fields, it is not required. If you hold an unrelated bachelor’s degree, you may have to complete certain science courses before applying to podiatry school.

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree is a requirement if you want to practice as a podiatrist.

Doctoral Programs: A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine is a 4-year, specialized medical degree program. The first two years of study are very similar to those of Medical Doctor Degree programs, and in your third and fourth years you take podiatry-specific courses.

Some of the courses are lower-extremity biomechanics, lower-limb anatomy and podiatric trauma. You will also have to complete clinical rotations in areas like radiology and podiatric surgery.

The job outlook in the field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is bright. Employment of podiatrists will grow 23 percent from 2015 to 2022. This rate is faster than the average for all occupations. The reason is growth and a high demand for medical and surgical care of feet and ankles within an aging population.

Podiatrists will also be helpful for treating patients with problems caused by chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. The average annual salary for podiatrists is around $120,000.


Image courtesy of Stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diabetic Foot Care Tips

Feet-tiveryluckyDiabetes can cause problems with your feet. Foot disorders are some of the most prevalent and neglected health issues in the United States. Diabetes often reduces blood flow to your feet and this can lead to oxygen deprivation. The results are diabetic nerve damage that causes numbness as well as sores and infections. Several diabetic foot care tips are below.

Daily Inspection: Diabetes may cause numbness in your feet making it hard to detect an infection. You should check your feet closely every day. Look for changes in cracked skin, color or sores. Put a mirror on the floor to see the bottom of each foot clearly.

Drying Feet: Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after bathing. The space between the toes is vulnerable to infection if it remains moist. When you use lotion avoid putting it between your toes.
See a Doctor: A podiatrist specializes in foot care and can treat your foot woes properly. A podiatrist can diagnose, treat and help you prevent problems.

Orthotics: Orthotic footwear can provide protection and comfort. You can buy special shoes that are for people with diabetes. A podiatrist can give you advice about where you can get the shoes. Medicaid covers one pair of custom-molded diabetic shoes.

Blood Sugar: An out-of-control blood sugar level can lead to nerve cell damage and make it hard for you to fight an infection. If you control your blood glucose level you may prevent or delay damage.

The main diabetic foot care tips are to monitor your blood sugar level, inspect your feet every day, watch your weight and wear comfortable shoes. If you notice any changes that concern you, then it is a good idea to see your doctor immediately.


Image courtesy of Tiverylucky/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Professional Athletes’ Broken Ankles Capture Headlines in Early 2015

SportsinjuryIn early 2015, a number of professional athletes were temporarily put out of commission thanks to broken ankles. Among them were University of Kentucky’s Janee Thompson and Los Angeles Kings’ Tanner Pearson.

Thompson reportedly broke her tibia and Pearson, as it later turned out, actually broke his fibula. Both are two of the three bones that make up the top ankle joint. The other is the talus. It should also be mentioned that there is another joint in the foot that connects the ankle bone to the heel bone. It’s called the subtalar joint but apparently neither athlete broke that one this time around.

When the tibia, fibula or talus breaks, it can be quite traumatic for athletes and everyday Joes alike. In most cases, swelling and severe pain are immediately present and the injured person can no longer stand up without assistance. As time goes on, bruising is also likely to appear on and around the broken bones. After the injury, it is extremely important that the accident victim’s broken ankle is examined and repaired. Otherwise, the deformities could become permanent, thereby rendering the person disabled.

Furthermore, if the person who sustains the broken ankle hasn’t finished growing yet (e.g. child), he or she will need to be closely monitored for bone or joint weakness and deformities long after the initial injury has been treated. The extended monitoring period is crucial to ensure that the broken ankle doesn’t interfere with the leg and foot bones’ normal growth as time goes on. In most instances, the extended period will last at least two years, maybe more depending on the individual’s normal growth rate and unique circumstances.

The severity of the injury will dictate which treatment methods are used. Options often include, but are not limited to emergency surgery, casting and post-surgery rehabilitation. Depending on the situation, full recovery from broken ankles may take two months or more. As such, the two athletes that we mentioned earlier are likely to be off of their respective courts for at least part or all of a full season. To speak with a Lynbrook podiatrist about broken ankles and best practices to ensure the bones heal properly, please click here.

Podiatry Team’s Best Summertime Advice for Families

Podiatry Team’s Best Summertime Advice for FamiliesBefore long, everyone will likely be running off to the beach or some great, vacation destination. And we know that means there will be a lot of bare feet on display. Although it is fun to bare it all from time to time, it can also create podiatry problems for men, women and children. So we wanted to help families out by sharing our podiatry team’s best summertime tips:

Don’t forget about what may be lurking on or just underground. After all, in the summertime, it is common to encounter more than just a stray pop-top or foot fungus. There are fire ants, ground dwelling bees, splintered wood and other things out there that can hurt a person’s feet too. With that said, try to keep those summer shoes or sandals on no matter how inviting the alternatives.

Do make it a point to examine the feet of every family member in your household at least once a week. Look for signs of problems, both big and small. And while you’re at it take the time to trim up those toenails as well. It will help keep infections, odors and ingrown toenails at bay.

Don’t let the kids convince you that a dip in the swimming pool before bed is enough to clean off those sweaty feet. Make sure that everyone washes their feet with antibacterial soap right before bed and never wears dirty socks in lieu of clean ones. Otherwise, they may just end up with more than stinky, filthy bed sheets.

Do choose everyone’s summer footwear wisely and don’t let them live in one pair of shoes alone. For example, avoid gladiator sandals and shoes that will make their feet sweat. Ask them to wear breathable footwear and switch out pairs every few days or so.

And finally, if you would you like more summertime podiatry advice, please contact us today. Our podiatrists would be more than happy to oblige.

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