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Home » Foot Conditions » Chiropody/Podiatry

Chiropody/Podiatry

Your feet can mirror your general health – as a Chiropodist/Podiatrist – I can examine the condition of your feet which may show the beginning of certain ailments. Toenails that are hollow instead of being rounded can signal iron deficiency or anaemia, increased nail thickness or bumps on the nail can mean a skin disorder. Any sudden changes in colour/shape of your nail, signs of infection, development of a freckle under the nail or pain should be discussed with me for diagnosis and treatment.

The common conditions are:

CORNS AND CALLUSES

The skin on the soles of our feet is thicker than any other part of the body. This helps to protect the bones and joints of the foot and allows us to walk comfortably. However, if excessive pressure callus become very thick, it can irritate the tissues around it causing pain and inflammation. Corns tend to form over areas of very high pressure such as the tops of the toes or on the ball of the foot. The most common type is called a hard corn, which is an area of compressed skin, often within a large callus. Other types include soft corns, which form between the toes, these have a whitish appearance due to the increased moisture in that area. Corns are very difficult to treat yourself, so it is best to seek advise from a qualified Podiatrist/Chiropodist.

VERUCCAS

Verrucas are warts found on the sole of the foot. They are fleshy growths on the skin caused by infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). After coming in contact with HPV it can take anything from a month to two years for a verruca to develop. There are different types of verruca:

Plantar warts: These are small warts that occur on the sole of the foot, heel and toes. They can be painful when under pressure. They have a rough surface and small black dots can sometimes be seen under the hard skin.

Mosaic warts: These occur when a number of verrucas can be seen together in a cluster. You should consult a Podiatrist/Chiropodist if the warts are painful, itchy and to prevent them from spreading. There are various different types of treatment and your Podiatrist/Chiropodist will tailor the treatment taking into account your overall health and other ailments you may have.

NAIL DISORDERS (FUNGAL INFECTIONS)

Paronychia: infections of the nail folds caused by bacteria, fungi or some viruses. The proximal and lateral nail folds act as a barrier between the nail plate and surrounding tissue. If a tear or break occurs bacteria can easily enter underneath. This condition is very painful causing redness and swelling. It is highly contagious and this should be treated quickly.

Onychomycosis: is a yeast or fungal infection. This type of infection is characterized by nail plate separation with debris under the nail plate. It is normally white or yellow in colour and sometimes changes the shape of the nail. The fungus digests the keratin protein of the nail plate. As the fungal infection progresses organic debris accumulates under the nail plate often discolouring it. Other infectious organisms may be involved and if left untreated the nail plate may separate from the nail bed and crumble.

Tinea Pedis: or ringworm of the nails is characterised by nail thickening, deformity and eventually resulting in loss of the nail.

Onychatrophia: is an atrophy or wasting away of the nail plate which causes it to loose luster, become smaller and sometimes shed entirely.

Onchogryphosis: are claw type toe nails that are characterised by a thick nail plate and are often caused through trauma. This type of nail plate will curve inwards, pinching the nail bed and will sometimes require surgery to relieve the pain.

Onychauxis: is evident by over thickening nail plate and may be the result of an internal disorder for which you should seek medical advice.

Koilonychia: is usually caused through iron deficiency anaemia in this condition the nails show raised ridges and are thin and concave. You should seek a physicians advise and treatment.

Psoriasis: of the nails is characterised by raw, scaly skin and is sometimes confused with eczema. When it attacks the nail plate, it will leave it pitted, dry and it will often crumble. The plate may separate from the nail bed and may also appear red, orange or brown with red spots in the lunula. Do not attempt salon treatments on psoriatic nails. You should consult with a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Atheletes foot: is a fungus that causes itching, redness and cracking. Germs can enter through the cracks in your skin and cause an infection.

INGROWING NAILS (INVOLUTED NAILS):

Ingrowing toe nails are one of the most common foot complaints treated by a Podiatrist/Chiropodist. This condition can be very painful and the patients may often be very reluctant to have the condition treated. However, the condition will not resolve itself and requires specialist care. An ingrowing toe nail is caused by a splinter of the nail or the whole nail causing pressure into the skin. The condition may be aggravated by wearing tight shoes or shoes with inadequate depth. In an acute condition the toe will be very painful to touch and in a chronic condition the toe will only be painful when walking in shoes. If the condition is chronic the Chiropodist will trim a small section to relieve the pressure and use dressings, nail braces or silicon to prevent the condition from reoccurring. If the condition is acute then a wedge section is recommended or a partial nail evolution which requires a local aesthetic and the use of a chemical in order to prevent the section of the nail from growing back. This procedure is not painful and usually heals within 2 – 4 weeks. It may be recommended that you take an antibiotic to help with the infection.

DIABETES:

People with diabetes are unable to regulate the levels of glucose in their blood. Diabetes may be controlled by diet, medication or daily injections of insulin. Good control of diabetes is vital to prevent long term complications. The feet may be affected in two ways – Diabetic Vascular Deformity: the circulation of blood to the feet may be reduced, impairing healing and increasing the chances of infection, and Diabetic Neuropathy:the nerves that give sensation may be damaged and the feet may be numb and changes may occur to their structure.

For people with diabetes common foot problems can possibly lead to infection and serious complications. Diabetes should visit a Podiatrist/Chiropodist on a regular basis to maintain healthy feet.

TRAUMA: Damage can lead to permanent nail deformity, leading to fungal infections under the nail. When you have damaged the nail it is best to seek advice to prevent any further complications.