Your feet must be optimally healthy to support your body when walking, running or performing any other activity that requires you to be on your feet for extended periods. Ingrown toenails can significantly disrupt these activities. The good news is that ingrown toenails are generally easily treated and preventable. Dr. James Mintzer from Providence Foot Health Center is skilled at treating an ingrown toenail in Washington, DC.
What causes ingrown toenails?
Ingrown toenails occur when your toenail is digging into the skin of your toe. They can occur on one toe or multiple toes at the same time. They generally appear at the sides and corners of your toenail. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is wearing shoes that do not fit well. Some other causes are:
- Improperly clipping your toenails
- Trauma to the foot, such as if something were to fall on your foot or stubbing the toe
- Tear of a toenail
- Congenital conditions may predispose you to develop ingrown toenails. This could involve something such as a deformity of the foot. Also, you may have been born with nails that grow to larger sizes than the toe is capable of accommodating.
What are the symptoms of ingrown toenails?
Mostly, they will cause pain. You may experience a hard and swollen area around the deviant toenail at first which can lead to infection if not promptly treated. Some accompanying symptoms to look out for are:
- Pus seeping from the area
- Redness of the toe or other discoloration
- Warmth and swelling of the toe
What are treatments for ingrown toenails?
Your podiatrist will recommend treatment for an ingrown toenail in Washington, DC depending on its severity and if an infection is present. Usually, ingrown toenails caught early can be treated at home. More severe cases may require minor surgical intervention to remove a part of the nail.
However, ingrown toenails will rarely progress to this severity, because once the toenail begins to dig into the surrounding skin you will feel pain, hopefully prompting you to take action. Please be aware that if you have diabetes or other conditions that may cause nerve damage or affect circulation, you need to see a podiatrist immediately. If you have a condition that disrupts pain signals from the nerves, be sure to check your feet regularly for any changes or abnormalities. Some conservative measures to help ingrown toenails are:
- Wearing shoes roomy in the toe area.
- Soak your feet in warm water a few times a day, especially before clipping your toenails.
- Clean your nail clipper before using it.
- Taking NSAIDs like Ibuprofen to help with pain and swelling
- If you have diabetes, practice proper foot care recommended by your doctor.
- Call your doctor if symptoms don't go away in several days.
Dr. Mintzer from Providence Foot Health Center wants to get your feet back to maximal health as quickly as possible. Schedule a consultation to treat your ingrown toenail in Washington, DC by calling (202) 269-4062.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
This rare disorder temporarily narrows or restricts blood flow to the blood vessels of the extremities. Raynaud’s disease is characterized by an attack and is often the result of cold weather exposure. There are two types of Raynaud’s disease: primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s disease occurs on its own without a cause while secondary Raynaud’s disease is the result of an underlying health problem.
What causes it?
Sometimes Raynaud’s disease has no known cause (as is the case with primary Raynaud’s disease); however, certain autoimmune diseases, extreme stress, or cold weather exposure are typically the main causes. Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of primary Raynaud’s disease include:
- Being a woman
- Being under 30 years old (symptoms offer appear during the teen years)
- A family history of Raynaud’s disease
- Thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic diseases
- Certain medications
- Exposure to certain chemicals, cold weather, or vibrating machines
What are the signs and symptoms?
When an attack occurs, skin on the toes and hands often turns white or pale. You may notice a loss of feeling in the extremities, as well. The area may also turn blue. Then once circulation returns, the area will warm and the skin will turn red. You may also notice burning, tingling, or throbbing as the sensation returns. Raynaud’s attack can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours.
How is Raynaud’s disease treated?
If a certain medication or underlying health problem is causing these attacks, your doctor may recommend switching medications or can help you better manage these chronic health problems to reduce your risks for an attack. If your primary Raynaud’s attacks are the result of cold exposure, avoiding cold temperatures is the best way to prevent attacks. Ensure that you are also properly bundled and wearing warm socks and gloves if you have to go outdoors on cold days.
Numbness and color changes in the feet can also be signs of diabetes and nerve damage, so it’s important that you see your podiatrist right away to rule out more serious health concerns.
Choose the Right Shoes for the Job
There’s a reason there are shoes just for runners, shoes for weightlifters, and shoes for soccer players. Every sport requires its own shoes that provide just the right cushioning, stability, and support for the feet and ankles. Wearing the right shoes for your chosen sport is imperative to providing your feet with exactly what they need whether it’s ankle stability for those quick side-to-side movements or added cushioning for power jumps.
Rotate Socks and Shoes Regularly
As you work out it’s natural for your feet to sweat; however, the last thing you want to do is leave your feet in sweaty shoes and socks. That’s why it’s always best to carry at least another pair of socks with you and to swap them out after exercise to prevent blisters or a nasty fungal infection. Always choose moisture-wicking socks to help wick away some of the sweat.
Know When to Get Rid of Your Shoes
No shoes are designed to last forever. While you may simply love your sneakers you have to recognize when to part ways and get a new pair. After all, shoes wear down over time and they are less likely to cushion or absorb shock, which can leave you prone to injuries. Shoes are only designed to last about 300-500 miles. If you see that the treads are wearing out this is a clear sign that it’s time to invest in a new pair of sneakers.
Train and Condition Regularly
It’s important that you condition your body and train even off-season so that your body is primed and ready once the season begins. Conditioning the body including the feet and ankles gets them prepared for activity, and it also means that you can increase intensity and duration gradually to reduce your risk for injury. Make sure that you are training throughout the season, even off-season.
Even if you aren’t dealing with foot or ankle problems, if you are physically active or an athlete, having a podiatrist that you turn to regularly for care and advice can go a long way to preventing injuries and other problems.
Wear the Proper Shoes
Whether you’re hiking, running, or simply walking to work, it’s important that you are wearing the appropriate shoes for the job. Shoes that don’t provide your feet with enough cushion and support, especially when pounding the pavement, can leave you dealing with blisters, calluses, and other foot injuries. Make sure that you are also getting shoes that provide the ideal fit. Shoes that are too tight or loose can rub against the skin and result in blisters.
There are blister pads on the market for a reason! Even if you are wearing properly fitted footwear, you may still find that you need a little added protection for your feet. A blister pad can be used to protect a blister that you have or it can be used in places that are prone to blisters.
Wear the Right Socks
The socks that you wear are just as important for maintaining healthy feet as the shoes that you wear. Choose socks that wick away moisture and consider doubling up on socks if you are getting ready to participate in an activity that increases your chances of developing a blister. The added layer can provide more protection for your feet. If your socks become wet or moist, it’s important that you change your socks right away.
Use a Lubricant Before Exercise
Shoes and socks that rub against the feet can lead to blisters, so it’s important to reduce this type of friction by keeping feet lubricated. This is particularly important for runners or hikers. Apply petroleum jelly to the feet so that they are more likely to slide rather than rub against shoes and socks.
A podiatrist can recommend the appropriate footwear for you, provide custom orthotics and ensure that you provide your feet with the support and cushioning they need for all of your activities to prevent blisters from happening to you. If blisters are a common problem, talk with your podiatrist about how you can prevent this from happening.
What are some complications of fallen arches?
Some people have fallen arches but never experience any issues; however, sometimes fallen arches can lead to,
- Foot, heel, and arch pain, particularly when standing or walking
- Muscle pain
- Leg cramps
- Shooting leg pains that start at the soles of the feet
- Swelling of the feet or tenderness in the soles
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Bone spurs
- Lower back pain, hip pain, or knee pain
What causes fallen arches?
Arches develop around the age of 2 or 3 years old; however, sometimes arches never develop. Genetics can increase your risk for flat feet. Sometimes injuries or other foot problems can cause flat feet to develop as an adult. Certain conditions can also increase your risk for flat feet including,
- Cerebral palsy
- Achilles tendonitis
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If fallen arches do not cause any problems then you don’t really need to do anything about them; however, it is important to recognize whether certain issues you’re dealing with could be the result of fallen arches. If so, your podiatrist may recommend a wide range of nonsurgical treatment options including,
- Nonsteroid anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Orthotics and arch support
- Stretching exercises
- Custom shoes
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