Sometimes toe-nails are not possible to cut. This may be because they are too thick or you are not able to reach or see the nails to trim them safely. Nails can also become ‘ingrown’ and subsequently very painful. If nail cutting is neglected, then toe nails may eventuate to the ones in the below picture.
Moreover, fungal infections and ulcerations may occur underneath the nail. A podiatrist has specialist instruments to trim toe-nails and treat any in-growing nails.
Calluses and Corns
A build up of thickened skin anywhere on the foot is called a callus. It is the body's attempt to create a cushion where too much force is applied on a particular part of the foot. A corn is a concentrated mass of
callus in a smaller region. They tend to feel like a stone in your foot. Corns and callus generally form over areas on the bottom of your feet, in between toes and on prominent joints.
As mentioned previously, the cause of corns and callus is excessive force. This is in the form of pressure or irritation.
The force usually originates from one of the follow three:
- Shoes which do not accommodate you foot properly
- Improper alignment of foot bones
- Poor lower limb alignment
A podiatrist initially treats callous and/or corn by removing the lesion. It can be as simple as shaving the thick skin. On average, most people have this procedure performed every 5-6 weeks. Corn pads, solutions, plasters or paints containing acids and performing the surgery yourself is not recommended particularly if you
suffer from circulatory problems or diabetes. Infection and scarring may occur, not to mention the damage, which you inflict on surrounding healthy tissue. It is important that the lesion is removed as this may lead to more severe lesions such as ulcers. However, ideally, podiatrists wish to address the cause, namely reducing the forces upon the foot.
This can be done by:
- Footwear change
- Stretching the upper of the shoe
- Increasing cushioning
- Silicon paddings/inserts
- Manufactuer of pressure deflecting insoles to Manufacture
- Customized prescription orthoses
- Custom made footwear
Some patients inquire about the possibility of surgery for bony deformities such as bunions and hammertoes. As you may know, surgery is quite ‘hit and miss’. Surgery is rarely necessary if structural deformities are aligned correctly.
By treating the cause as well as the symptom we can usually retard the growth of the corn or callus. You may find that you may have to visit the podiatrist only every 8 to 12 weeks. Some fortunate patients will have a total resolution of symptoms.