Small, but Mighty: Taking Care of Your Toes

toes.jpg

They are small but essential. Your toes play an important part in helping you keep your balance and are in contact with the ground 75% of the time while walking. You may not realize it, but your big toes can bear twice as much weight as all your other toes combined.

Unfortunately, your toes are vulnerable to injury and skin issues. Here are some of the more common toe problems:

Athlete’s foot

This fungal infection is usually found between the toes but can spread quickly to other spots. The fungus is very contagious and thrives in warm, damp places such as public showers, gyms or spas. Symptoms include itching, blistering, and peeling skin. Come see us for prescription medication if the condition persists.

Bunions

If you have pain, a visible bump on the side of your foot or tenderness around the big toe joint, then you may have a bunion that causes your big toe to turn inward and push against the other toes. Wearing narrow shoes and high heels, along with a family history, increase your risk of bunions. You can relieve the pressure on the bunion by wearing shoes with a wide toe box and low heels. Contact us to discuss conservative measures as well as a surgical solution to relieve the pain.   

Fungal nail

A fungal infection under the nail will cause discolored, brittle, loose, or thickened nails. This fungus is contagious so always protect your feet when in public gyms, pools and locker rooms. Keep feet clean and dry and wear shoes of breathable materials such as leather and canvas. If toenail fungus persists, topical or oral prescription medication will help, as will debridement of the infected nail substance.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes may be inherited and result from a muscle and tendon imbalance in the toe, resulting in a bent toe joint. The skin may be irritated where rubbing against your shoes. Wearing shoes with a wide and high toe box can relieve any discomfort. Surgery may be necessary for permanent relief.

Ingrown toenail

An ingrown nail causes swelling, pain, and even drainage from the nail. Ingrown toenails are caused by wearing poorly-fitting shoes that are too tight or too narrow or by curving the corners when trimming the nails. Always wear shoes that fit well and are not narrow at the toes, as well as cutting the nail straight across. Your podiatrist may need to remove a portion of the toenail for it to heal completely.

If you are experiencing abnormal foot discomfort or pain, schedule an appointment with us and will help you discuss treatment options.