Common Foot and Ankle Conditions We Treat

Skin and Nails

Toenail Fungus, Thick Toenails, Athlete’s Foot, Warts, Ingrown Toenails, Calluses, Corns, Rashes, Cracked Skin, Abnormal Growths, Lumps or Bumps, Wounds
Skin and Nails

Skin and Nails

Fungal nail infections are caused by fungi (most commonly dermatophytes), yeast and molds.  Mild nail infections may cause white or yellow spots on one or more nails.  As the condition progresses, the affected nail (s) can become thick, painful, brittle, deformed and darker in color.

You may be at risk if you have a history of Athlete’s foot, have sweaty feet, have sustained an injury to the skin or nails, if you are of advanced age, or if you are immunocompromised.

Knowing the specific cause of the nail changes will help narrow the treatment options.  Because of this, a nail sample may be taken during your visit and sent to the lab to determine what is causing the infection.  Nail conditions, such as psoriasis, cause the nails to look identical to a fungal infection.  Yeast and bacteria also can infect nails. Knowing the cause of your infection helps determine the best course of treatment.

Treatment options include topical and oral medications.  Sometimes these medications are taken separately or together.  Topical medications are typically liquid, which are applied to the affected nail(s) daily or twice a day for 9-12 months (the length it takes for a new nail to grow).  Oral medications are taken for 6-12 weeks.  However, you won’t see the final result of the treatment until the nail completely grows out.

It should be noted that treating nail fungus can be difficult and that there are no guarantees.  The more diseased the nail(s), the more difficult it is to treat.

Skin and Nails

Overtime you may notice that your nails are becoming thicker and difficult to trim.  Depending on how thick the nail is you may even experience pain.  Causes of thick nails include nail conditions, such as psoriasis, nail fungus, advanced age, diabetes and injury.

Skin and Nails

Warts that appear on the sole of the foot are referred to as “Plantar Warts”.  They can be quite painful and are caused by a virus, which typically invades the skin through small cuts and abrasions. 

Most warts are harmless and they are often mistaken for corns. 

On the bottom of the feet, plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, rough-surfaced, with well-defined boundaries.  You may also notice tiny, black spots within the wart. If they develop on a weight-bearing area they can become painful with walking or running.  Warts on the top of the feet or toes appear more raised and fleshier.

Walking bare foot in public areas is the most common way of contracting plantar warts.  Warm, moist environments also sustain the virus, so warts are often associated with swimming pools and water parks.

If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference, and they can spread into clusters of several warts.  Like any other infectious skin condition, they can spread by touching and scratching.

In our office, we treat warts with topical acid which is well tolerated and effective.

Skin and Nails

Ingrown toenails are one of the most common conditions a podiatrist will treat.   An ingrown toenail occurs when the hard nail plate grows into the soft skin.  This can cause pain, swelling and redness.

Common causes of ingrown toenails include: inherited nail type (you thank Mom and Dad!), nail trauma, poorly fitting shoes, improper nail trimming (ex. cutting the nail too short, not cutting the nail straight across).

If left untreated, an ingrown toenail may become infected.  In addition to pain, swelling and redness, one may experience drainage (pus or blood).  Patients with diabetes or other conditions that cause poor blood flow to the feet, are at a greater risk of complications of ingrown toenails.

Treatment involves trimming the portion of the nail that is growing into the skin.  This can be accomplished with and without anesthesia, depending on the severity of the ingrown nail.  Aftercare includes soaking the toe in warm water and Epsom salt, bandaging the toe with antibiotic ointment and wearing shoes with a wide, deep toe box.  In some cases oral antibiotics are also prescribed.

For those who suffer from chronic ingrown toenails, there are surgical options which permanently prevent the affected side(s) of the nail from growing back.

Skin and Nails

A corn is hard, thickened skin that can occur on the top, between or on the tip of the toes.  A callus is similar, but is larger and usually on the ball of the foot, around the heel or side of the big toe.  “Soft” corns absorb and hold moisture.  They are most commonly found between the fourth and fifth toes.

When skin undergoes excessive pressure or friction your body tries to protect itself by producing hard layers of dead skin cells.  The thicker the corn or callus becomes, the more pain and burning it may cause as it increases pressure on the underlying living skin cells.

Avoid cutting corn or calluses yourself.  We also recommend avoiding over the counter medicated corn and callus pads.  If left on too long, these pads may cause blistering and burning of the skin.  

Wearing roomy, comfortable shoes can provide relief. At the office we offer a selection of special pads to relieve pressure.  In some cases, you will need to have the doctor trim your corn or callus.  If there is an underlying pressure-causing deformity, this may need to be corrected with surgery.