What is a Podiatrist?

Podiatrist is the modern term for a chiropodist, and can be thought of in lay-terms as a "Foot Doctor" 

Phil, as a qualified podiatrist of 28 years can give you and your family advice on how to look after your feet, the type of shoes to wear and  offer advice on how to treat and alleviate day-to-day foot problems.  Some of the common problems patients experience are detailed below, but for a professional opinion call 01543 250093 to make an appointment for an initial consultation. As seasoned athlete, Phil specialises in Sports Podiatry offering runners clinics, drawing upon personal experience, designed to have you up and running in no time.

Ingrowing Toenail

An ingrown toenail is the result of the sides of the toenail growing into the surrounding skin.

The toe may become red, swollen and tender as the nail curls and pierces the skin. Patients often experience pain when pressure is placed on the toe. If left for prolonged periods untreated an ingrowing toenail may develop into fully blown sepsis. 

post ingrowing toenial

     What Causes Ingrowing Toenails;

  •    hereditary, genetic shape of toenail 
  •    incorrectly cut toenails
  •    tight-fitting shoes, socks or tights
  •    excessive sweating
  •    injury
  •    nail infections



before  treatment                                                                                                                 after treatment 

Treating ingrown toenails;

Non invasive surgery is recommended with the removal of the affected portion of the nail and the sterilisation of the root.

In the case of a grossly thickened toenail, total removal of the nail is recommended along with the sterilisation of the root. 

Left untreated, an acute ingrown toenail can cause the toe to become infected.

Corns and Calluses 

Areas of hard skin which develop on the foot when exposed to excessive pressure or friction are known as Corns and Calluses. 

Corns are the small circles of thick skin that usually develop on the tops and sides of toes or on the sole of the foot. 

They can however occur anywhere.


Common Causes include; 

  • Biomechanical overload (excessive pressure in one area) 
  • Badly fitting shoes
  • Spending an excessive amount of time of the day standing



Calluses are often yellowish in colour, hard, rough areas of skin which develop on your feet around the heel area or over the ball of the foot (first MPJ - metatarso-phalangeal joint). They are larger than corns with a less well-defined edge. Callused skin being thick is often less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.


Common Causes Include;

  • Shoes which rub an area of skin
  • Repetitive pressure to a single area
  • Spending an excessive amount of time of the day standing






Treating corns and calluses; Without the identification and treatment of the cause of pressure calluses and corns will not get better, resulting in the skin eventually becoming thicker and more painful over time. The use of a correctly prescribed orthotic device will reduce the signs and symptoms.

Verrucae


Warts are small, rough lumps that develop on the skin of the hands and feet. Verrucae are warts which develop on the foot and are a common complaint which many people will suffer from at some point in their lives. 

Warts vary in appearance depending on where they are on the body and how thick the skin is. They can develop in isolation or in clusters and are non-cancerous.

Some warts are more likely to affect particular areas of the body. For example, verrucae are warts that usually develop on the soles of the feet.


Facts about verrucae/warts?

  • Warts are caused by a viral infection
  • Warts are contagious, passed on by skin to skin contact
  • The infection can be transmitted indirectly from contaminated communal areas, 
    • i.e. in a warm moist environment like public changing areas


Your podiatrist will be able to recommend  a course of treatment if you suspect that you have a verruca;

  • electro cautery of a verruca under local anaesthetic 
  • dermal abrasion of verruca tissue from the epidermis into the dermis under local anaesthetic can trigger an immune response and the lesions should disappear 


Not being a time effective treatment, the runners podiatrist do not recommend the use of topical ointments.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common condition caused by a fungal infection. The patient will experience an itchy red rash commonly in the spaces between the toes, but can occur anywhere on the feet. The affected area may be scaly, flaky and dry. 

Athlete's foot is usually a mild condition which is easily treated with a anti-fungal medication available from you pharmacist.

As with any prolonged medical condition or if you are worried it is recommended that you consult your podiatrist - if athlete's foot is not treated effectively, the infection can sometimes spread to other parts of your body, such as the toenails, causing a fungal nail infection, or the palms of your hands.

Flat Feet

The arch of the foot, or instep is usually raised from the ground while standing, a  patient with low arches is said to have flat feet. 

Symptoms;

Flat feet can be congenital and/or caused by excessive pronation of the subtalar joint.

Flat feet do not usually cause problems, but they can put a strain on your muscles and ligaments resulting in pain in your legs when walking.

If you have flat feet you may experience pain in any of the following areas:

  • inside of your ankle (subtalar joint)
  • arch of your foot
  • the outer side of your foot
  • calf (the back of your lower leg)
  • knee, hip or back


You should go to see your podiatrist if you or your child have flat feet and;

  • they are causing pain, even when wearing supportive shoes that fit well
  • shoes wear out very quickly
  • your feet appear to be getting flatter
  • yours or your child's feet are weak, numb or stiff
  • if symptoms develop after returning to or taking up a new sporting activity, resulting in pain of the lower limb

                                                                        

Treatment

A biomechanical analysis and the use of a correctly prescribed orthotic device should reduce the signs and symptoms.


Bunions

A bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. 

Sometimes, the big toe can become angled inwards towards the middle of the foot and second toe. This forces the top of the first metatarsal to stick out from the side of the foot at the base of the big toe. If this happens, the bones can become misaligned and a painful bunion can form.

The generally accepted cause of a bunion is that they are congenital, caused by excessive subtalar joint pronation. Research also suggests that fashion shoes are a contributory factor in making the condition worse . Although this is a complaint more commonly found in women anyone can develop a bunion. This may simply be because of the style of footwear that women wear.

A range of treatments available for bunions, include:

  • Prescription of orthotics  to reduce subtalar joint pronation to correct  lower limb map-position after a biomechanical examination
  • surgical correction by podiatric surgeon 


The above illustrations are intended as descriptions of treatments offered by PJ Thompson. As with any medical treatment it is recommended that you consult a specialist practitioner - 01543 250093

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