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Monday, 29 April 2019 00:00

What Is Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is a fairly common condition that starts with a visible white or yellow spot under the tip of the toenail. If the fungal infection worsens the toenail may become discolored and thicken, then begin to crumble. Symptoms of progressing toenail fungus are thickened nails, whitish to yellow-brown discoloration, brittleness, distorted in shape, darkened color, and foul smell. Some toenail fungus is mild and doesn’t necessarily require treatment, but if it becomes painful or you notice some of the previously mentioned symptoms then it is a good idea to take steps toward getting rid of the fungus. Toenail fungus can affect just one nail, or it can affect multiple nails on the foot. If you think you may have toenail fungus, then it is recommended you speak with a podiatrist in order to receive the proper treatment.

If left untreated, toenail fungus may spread to other toenails, skin, or even fingernails. If you suspect you have toenail fungus it is important to seek treatment right away. For more information about treatment, contact one of our podiatrists of Achilles Foot Clinic. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Symptoms

  • Warped or oddly shaped nails
  • Yellowish nails
  • Loose/separated nail
  • Buildup of bits and pieces of nail fragments under the nail
  • Brittle, broken, thickened nail

Treatment

If self-care strategies and over-the-counter medications does not help your fungus, your podiatrist may give you a prescription drug instead. Even if you find relief from your toenail fungus symptoms, you may experience a repeat infection in the future.

Prevention

In order to prevent getting toenail fungus in the future, you should always make sure to wash your feet with soap and water. After washing, it is important to dry your feet thoroughly especially in between the toes. When trimming your toenails, be sure to trim straight across instead of in a rounded shape. It is crucial not to cover up discolored nails with nail polish because that will prevent your nail from being able to “breathe”.

In some cases, surgical procedure may be needed to remove the toenail fungus. Consult with your podiatrist about the best treatment options for your case of toenail fungus.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in the North and South quadrants in Calgary, Alberta. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

 

Read more about Treating Toenail Fungus
Monday, 29 April 2019 00:00

Treating Toenail Fungus

Fungal infection of the toenail, or onychomycosis, typically appears as a gradual change in a toenail’s texture and color that involves brittleness and darkening.  The fungal infection itself occurs beneath the surface of the nail.  Aside from discoloration, other symptoms include the collection of debris beneath the nail plate, white marks on the nail plate, and a foul odor emanating from the nail.  If ignored, the infection can spread into other nails and the skin; in severe cases, it can hinder one’s ability to work or walk. 

The toenails are particularly vulnerable to contracting infection in moist environments where people are likely to be walking barefoot, such as around swimming pools, public showers, and locker rooms.  Fungal infection may also be more likely to occur in nail beds that have been injured, and sufferers of chronic diseases such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or immunodeficiency conditions are particularly prone to developing fungal nails. 

Fungal nails can be primarily prevented by practicing proper hygiene and regularly examining the feet and toes.  Carefully washing the feet with soap and water and thoroughly drying the feet afterwards are essential.  Other tips include wearing shower shoes in public areas, changing shoes and socks daily, keeping toenails clipped at a short length, wearing breathable shoes that fit properly, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and disinfecting home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Fungal nail treatment may vary between patients and the severity of the condition.  Your podiatrist may suggest a daily routine of cleansing that spans over a period of time to ease mild infections.  Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal agents may also be prescribed, including topical and/or oral medications.  Debridement, or the removal of diseased nail matter and debris, may also be performed.  In more severe cases, surgical treatment may be needed.  In some instances, the temporary removal of the fungal nail allows for the direct application of a topical antifungal to the nail bed.  In other cases, a chronically painful fungal nail that has not responded to other treatments may be permanently removed; this allows the infection to be cured and avoids the growth of a deformed nail.  

Wednesday, 24 April 2019 00:00

Reminder: When was the last time...?

Custom orthotics, or shoe inserts, should be periodically replaced. Orthotics must fit properly to give you the best results. Protect your feet and ankles!

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:00

Solutions for Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can make life very frustrating and embarrassing when displaying the bare feet. Aside from being unpleasing to the eye, they can also tear stockings and socks and wear out shoes at a faster rate. When severe, cracked heels may cause pain or infection.

Cracked heels are a problem for those who are athletic, those who may walk a lot, and those who have especially dry skin. Those who use medication that dry the skin, those who swim often, wearing certain types of shoes, and those who are diabetic may have trouble with cracked heels. Seniors whose skin produces less oil may also have trouble with cracked feet. There is no one way to develop cracked feet, and there is no cure.

Today, the market consists of numerous products that have a variety of ingredients to promote healing. Some of these are over-the-counter. Others are prescribed by a doctor, especially for those who have chronic dry feet and heels.

Some doctors recommend wearing socks at night for those with rough skin. This helps further healing, and helps creams stay on longer and better absorb into the skin.

One way to alleviate dryness that causes cracked heels is by using moisturizers both day and night. Another way is to make sure the skin is clean and dry at all times. Using a pumice stone to buff away dead skin before putting on moisturizer can also help. Cracked heels will not respond to the cream unless the outer layer of skin is first removed through exfoliation. After exfoliation, lotion or ointment will be absorbed by the skin more easily.

Foods that produce healing and balance can also help the skin from within. Everything that is put into the body can either help it or hurt it. Taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids and zinc can also be very beneficial.

Nevertheless, not all products are guaranteed to help treat cracked feet. Seeing a professional is best if other treatments options were unsuccessful. A podiatrist should be able to give the best advice to help with this problem.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019 00:00

Causes of Cracked Heels

Many patients suffer from a condition that is known as cracked heels. It is the name given to dry skin that develops on the heel of the foot, and cracks or fissures will often form that causes pain and discomfort. This condition can gradually develop from standing for extended periods of time for the majority of the day, or from wearing shoes that have an open back. Additionally, research has indicated that obesity plays a significant role in the formation of cracked heels. This is often a result of the added weight the heels must endure. Existing medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disorders may contribute to this condition, which causes dry skin that often accompanies these ailments. Mild relief is found when applying a moisturizer to the affected area. In severe cases where bleeding and the possibility of an infection exists, it is suggested to consult with a podiatrist who can properly treat cracked heels.

Cracked heels are unsightly and can cause further damage to your shoes and feet. If you have any concerns, contact one of our podiatrists from Achilles Foot Clinic. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Cracked Heels

Cracked heels appear unappealing and can make it harder for you walk around in sandals. Aside from looking unpleasant, cracked heels can also tear stockings, socks, and wear out your shoes. There are several methods to help restore a cracked heel and prevent further damage.

How Do You Get Them?

Dry skin is the number one culprit in creating cracked heels. Many athletes, walkers, joggers, and even swimmers suffer from cracked heels. Age and skin oil production play a role to getting cracked heels as well.

Promote Healing

Over the counter medicines can help, especially for those that need instant relief or who suffer from chronic dry feet.

Wear Socks – Wearing socks with medicated creams helps lock in moisture.

Moisturizers – Applying both day and night will help alleviate dryness which causes cracking.

Pumice Stones – These exfoliate and remove dead skin, which allows for smoother moisturizer application and better absorption into the skin. 

Change in Diet

Eating healthy with a well-balanced diet will give the skin a fresh and radiant look. Your body responds to the kinds of food you ingest. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc supplements can also revitalize skin tissue.

Most importantly, seek professional help if unsure how to proceed in treating cracked heels. A podiatrist will help you with any questions or information needed. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in the North and South quadrants in Calgary, Alberta. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Monday, 15 April 2019 00:00

Effect of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are uncomfortable, but many women sacrifice comfort to be stylish. There are many problems that stem from wearing high heels, however these issues can be avoided by wearing proper shoes.

Heels are bad because they push your weight forward toward the fall of the foot. The higher the heel is, the more weight and pressure get shifted. This process causes the back to hyperextend backwards to counterbalance which may cause pain in the leg, hip, and back. Consequently, major posture problems may occur, and these issues may eventually become permanent.

Wearing high heels is one of the leading cause of ingrown toenails. Heels create a great deal of pressure on the big toenails which disrupts proper toenail growth. This may eventually lead to the big toenail growing into the skin.  Another common problem that stems from high heels is bunions. If bunions go untreated, they can cause serious scar tissue to form along with severe pain.

However, there are ways to minimize the harmful risks associated with wearing heels. You should try to massage and stretch your legs and feet after wearing heels for an extended time. Stretching helps prevent the Achilles tendons and calf muscles from becoming too tight. A good substitute for heels are platforms which provide a better surface area to evenly distribute the body’s weight.

If you are experiencing any painful foot conditions from wearing high heels, you should consult with your podiatrist right away.

There are many people who enjoy wearing high heels. This type of shoe can enhance the appearance of the legs by making them look longer and thinner. Potential damage to the foot may be diminished if proper stretching exercises are frequently performed, thereby strengthening the foot. Many people may experience heel pain, and this may be a result of shortened calf muscles. There are many foot conditions that can gradually develop from wearing high heels. These may include ingrown toenails, bunions, or Morton’s neuroma, which is a form of nerve damage that occurs between the toes. If you would like additional information about how high heels can affect the feet, consulting with a podiatrist is recommended.

High heels have a history of causing foot and ankle problems. If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact one of our podiatrists from Achilles Foot Clinic. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because of their many styles and societal appeal.  Despite this, high heels can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

Which Parts of My Body Will Be Affected by High Heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – May shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – Heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – They decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  The vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What Kinds of Foot Problems Can Develop from Wearing High Heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How Can I Still Wear High Heels and Maintain Foot Health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems.  Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet.  Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising.  If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work.  Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in the North and South quadrants in Calgary, Alberta. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Living with foot pain is hard on your body.  Give us a call and let us find out what's wrong.

Monday, 08 April 2019 00:00

Working on Your Feet

Foot care is important regardless of your profession, but those who work on their feet must pay special attention. Bunions, calluses, blisters, and plantar warts are just a few of the many conditions that can arise after standing all day. While painful at their worst, these conditions can easily be avoided with the right foot care. This includes both appropriate footwear and proper posture—important elements that affect the health of your feet.

Choosing appropriate footwear means choosing a shoe that has a negative heel. This means that the heel is slightly lower than the ball of your foot, which places less of a strain. If you have a profession that requires you to be on your feet all day, investing in a pair of high-quality shoes is pertinent. High-quality shoes can be purchased from a respected manufacturer that emphasizes foot care and foot health.

Despite the regularity of wearing shoes, the feet are naturally not designed to be enclosed. Regular “barefoot” time for your feet can be beneficial for foot health. Among other methods, allowing your feet to breathe can help alleviate the pain and pressure your feet may be experiencing from being on your feet all day.

Simple foot exercises and yoga positions can help improve both the health and function of your feet. Active foot exercises that create movement will stimulate your foot’s blood flow and circulation, and yoga positions that place your feet flat onto the floor will stretch out their muscles. Yoga is particularly beneficial for your Achilles tendon and calf muscles, which are areas that can become especially problematic if not taken care of. Foot exercises and yoga positions can be easily performed every day at virtually any location and any time; whether it is at the office, at the gym, or at home right before you go to bed. Simple stretching can increase your foot health by miles.

The foot pain you experience after lengthy hours working on your feet may seem inevitable and unavoidable; in reality, however, that is not the case. Wearing proper footwear and performing simple foot exercises and stretches can help ease foot pain and allow you to truly avoid frustrating foot problems.

Your feet can easily be kept healthy with some education and a little effort. Pain that begins at the feet can eventually affect the whole body. Begin taking care of your feet now!

There are many professions that require standing for hours, which unfortunately can put a heavy strain on the feet. Oftentimes, people who work on their feet begin to notice aches and pains associated with the stress their feet are under. Examples of common problems that arise from working on your feet are plantar fasciitis, bunions, Achilles tendonitis, swollen feet, and soreness. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risk of developing any of these issues. Wearing comfortable and supportive shoes is the most important step in keeping your feet healthy. Custom made orthotics could also be beneficial. Orthotics made for those who stand for long periods of time could help improve posture, relieve joint pain, and help alleviate other symptoms. Changing positions is also beneficial, because it helps shift the weight being put on the feet. If possible, walking around, standing in different positions, and stretching are easy ways to change position. If you would like more information on how to care for your feet, speak with your podiatrist.

While working on the feet, it is important to take the proper care of them. For more information about working on your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from Achilles Foot Clinic. Our doctors will treat your foot and ankle needs.

Working on Your Feet

Standing on your feet for long periods of time can cause stress and pain in your feet. Your whole body may experience change in terms of posture, back pain, bunions, callouses and or plantar warts. There are ways to avoid these conditions with proper foot care, smart choices and correct posture.

Positive Changes

Negative heeled shoe – Choosing this shoe type places the heel slightly lower than the ball of the foot. These are great for overall foot health. Find shoes that fit you correctly.

Go barefoot – Our feet were not designed to be enclosed for all hours of the day. Try to periodically expose your feet to air.

Eliminate Pain

Foot Exercises – Performing simple exercises, incorporating yoga and doing stretches are beneficial. This will allow increased blood flow to the area and muscles of the foot.

Achilles tendon – Stretching the foot out flat on the floor will relax the calf muscles and tendon. These exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Make sure you add these exercises to your daily regimen. 

With a little bit of this information and knowing more about foot health, you will notice changes. Foot stretches and proper footwear will help with pain and prevent further issues.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our offices located in the North and South quadrants in Calgary, Alberta. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Working on Your Feet
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