When was the last time you checked the bottom of your feet or in-between your toes? It is not often that we think about our feet that carry us on our daily commute to work, walk up the 100’s of stairs at the train station or smashes that PB you’ve been after for months. Keeping your feet happy is just as important as keeping the rest of your body healthy and in check. A daily foot check is a great habit to get into to ensure everything is in working order. What should I be looking for? We hear you ask. Well, there are numerous sneaky foot issues that you can should be on the lookout for that we can help you with…
Fungal infections can come in many shapes and forms. The most common is Tinea Pedis or otherwise more commonly known as Athletes Foot. Athlete’s foot can sometimes be easy to spot looking red and itchy but more often than not it can look just like dry skin between the toes or on the arches of the feet that won’t go away no matter how liberally you apply moisturiser. This kind of fungal infection usually responds well to over the counter topical creams or gels. Fungal nails are another culprit that often go unnoticed. They will usually be thick and discoloured with a brittle and friable nature. Fungal nails are notoriously more difficult to treat than skin infections. If it is only superficial there are a range of over the counter nail lacquers that can be purchased. However; if more than 50% of 1 nail is infected or more than 3 nail on one foot a more aggressive approach is often required involving an oral antifungal.
Cracked heels can be painful if not looked after properly. There are a few tricks that you can try to help reduce the cracks: as long as you have full sensation in your feet (If you have diabetes a neuropathic assessment is extremely important to have an understanding of your foot risk – see blog on foot complications from diabetes) a pumice may be your new best friend. Regularly using a pumice stone and applying a urea based moisturiser (the higher the concentrate the better) followed by socks nightly (if you can hack sleeping in socks) will go a long way to decreasing dryness and cracks. Sometimes simple cracked heels (otherwise known as fishers) are much deeper and require regular podiatry visits to help reduce the fishers; this will have your heels thanking you in no time and your beautiful feet continue dancing.
Foot odour and sweaty feet:
Anyone’s feet will be panting in their shoes on a hot day, but if you’re someone who suffers from regular sweaty feet or hyperhidrosis then you’ll be very much aware of the daily battle against the 250,000 sweat glands that live in our feet. Daily foot hygiene here is paramount to reduce any odour that may linger. This can include changing socks regularly and investing in an aluminium chloride spray for your feet and shoes. If you are unsure however a trip to your local doctor is a good idea for an ongoing treatment plan.
Corns and Callus:
Whether you got new shoes or wore your old favourite ones for slightly longer than you usually do you may start to feel like there is a small stone poking into your skin. This is most likely a pesky corn. Corns are the body’s natural response to an increase in pressure and even though your body is trying to protect that single spot by layering skin cells on top of each other it is actually making it very uncomfortable for you. Good news is that they can be easily removed in a quick session to the podiatrist who are armed with the tools to remove them.
Warts are a product of the Human Papilloma Virus (HVP) that does a very good job of hiding from the body’s natural defence mechanisms. The virus can actually remain dormant for 1 – 8 months before it can be seen on the surface of the skin. Treatment can be very frustrating for patients as no single treatment has been proven to be effective in every case. Treatment involves initiating an inflammatory response at the area of the warts so the body knows where to aim its defence warriors. Podiatrists have multiple treatments that can initiate this inflammatory response to kick start the bodies defence system and see a clearing of those annoying warts.
In-grown toe nails:
Ingrown toe nails (IGTN’s) can be nasty and extremely uncomfortable. IGTN’s occur when the outer edge of a nail curls under and grows into the skin or side of the nail bed instead of directly forwards. This can occur from shoes being too tight, trauma to the nail, incorrect cutting technique or for some unlucky people it can be genetic.
If the nail continue to grow into the surrounding skin it can cause a wound and become infected, common signs and symptoms are redness, swelling, puss, pain, odour and maybe even an overgrowth of red tissue known as “hypergranulation”.
Luckily podiatrists are well trained in the removal of these pesky beasts. Most of the time they can be quickly removed without much fuss and may need a script of antibiotics from the GP. In more serve cases a partial nail removal can be performed to remove the offending piece. Either way a trip to the podiatrist will see you running around pain free again in no time.
What about foot care for those living with diabetes?
If you are someone living with diabetes you may be all too aware of the decreased lack of sensation that can be experienced in the feet and sometimes even the lower limb. This means that the protective sensation that signals to the body when something isn’t quite right and to pay attention no longer functions how it should. This is a problem as you can’t fix something you are not aware of. This can include things such as blisters, hot spots, burns, in-grown toe nails, infections even stepping on a stone or bottle cap. For this reason, daily self-foot checks are incredibly important. This involves checking between your toes and on the bottom of your feet every day, sometimes a mirror might be helpful to get into the hard to see places. Other important things are: Wearing correctly fitting shoes – have your shoes checked by your podiatrist or have them correctly fitted by a shoe professional, applying moisturiser daily, never walking in bare feet, drying between the toes and making sure that you are having a regular neurovascular assessment. An assessment with one of our podiatrists can help you establish your foot risk status and give you all the tools and education that you need to reduce the risks of you acquiring a diabetic foot ulcer.
Remember if there is anything that seems out of the ordinary or you are experiencing pain somewhere in the foot and ankle region then it is always best to seek a professional opinion rather than self-treating to ensure you are getting the best care for yourself. Give our friendly reception staff a call today to book in with one of our podiatrists to get the professional help you need.
Podiatry appointments are available at Camberwell Sports & Spinal Medicine seven days a week.
Appointments can be made by calling the clinic on 9889 1078.
Alternatively appointments can be requested via our online portal at our website www.cssm.com.au
The running gait analysis involves 2 appointments usually a week apart.
For the full assessment and gait analysis, this takes between 1-1.5 hours for the first appointment. A follow up appointment is then scheduled to go through your results in detail with you. This follow up appointment usually takes 30 minutes.
Shorts or leggings are best to allow us to perform relevant assessments, and for us to be able to clearly see and analyse
your running technique.
Please bring in runners (old and new), as well as any other shoes you may use for different sports (e.g. football boots, netball shoes etc.). Please feel free to bring along any other shoes that you feel may be relevant to your assessment.
Not at all. Whilst we receive a lot of referrals from running coaches, personal trainers GP’s and other health professionals for this service. A referral is not necessary, if you feel that you have a running related injury – give us a call. .
If you have private health insurance these services will qualify for a rebate under your ancillary or extra’s cover. The rebate varies depending on your health insurer and level of cover so check the details of your policy.
Running Gait Analysis sessions are generally conducted for the management of running injury and pain. Therefore these sessions are covered under your podiatry allocation within your private health insurance. Please contact your health insurer to determine your eligibility and level of cover.