We all strive for beautiful, healthy skin. The market is full of thousands of skin products and moisturizers focusing on maintaining healthy skin for our faces and bodies. What about issues that affect the skin of our feet? Since our feet sustain our entire body weight when we walk, the skin on our feet may become rough and tough over time. Similarly, our feet may be susceptible to viral, fungal and bacterial skin infections. That means skin disorders of the feet may require special attention. Here are some common conditions that frequent my office.
Everybody has heard of athlete’s foot, but it’s not only specific to athletes. Athlete’s foot is caused by different strains of fungal infection of the skin. Frequently it appears in a “moccasin” formation around the foot, in severe cases with blistering. It may also appear in between the toes. Redness, itchiness and pain may all be associated with this condition. Keeping your feet clean and dry is essential in avoiding these infections. Changing socks and shoes regularly, as well as drying in between the toes, are also helpful. Once the infection is fully underway, though, a prescription from your podiatrist may be necessary.
Dry heels are extremely common and usually worsen during the cold winter months. When cracks in the heels deepen, they can form fissures that can be painful and bleed. Ouch! Moisturizing your feet regularly and keeping hydrated are essential for healthy skin. Since the feet are the furthest from the heart they receive the least blood flow, which can make healing of cracks more difficult. That means our feet need a little extra TLC. There are some great prescriptive topical medications that contain products like urea and lactic acid that are effective in softening that tough hard skin.
I know. Nobody wants to talk about warts on their feet, but this condition is extremely common. “Plantar” refers to the soles of our feet. Therefore, plantar warts are specific to the bottom of the foot. Warts in this area may differ from those elsewhere on the body because they typically grow “inward” due to body weight from standing. Because of this and the fact that warts are caused by a virus, they may be difficult to treat with just over-the-counter medications. Typically your podiatrist will use several modalities including shaving, freezing and chemical burning to kill the virus. Sometimes the warts will resolve on their own, but they can also spread. As a result, early treatment is always recommended.
Other skin conditions include calluses, dry skin and ulcers. Smokers, diabetics and other people with weakened immunity may be even more susceptible to these sorts of problems. If you suspect any of the above conditions, it’s best to get it checked out right away. Seeking professional medical attention for any skin disorder is always recommended in keeping those feet healthy and beautiful.