Foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. But summer’s here and it is when people tend to be most concerned with what their toes look like. Artesia General Hospital treats more bunions, ingrown toenails, and hammertoes during summer months, so doctors recommend periodic visits to keep these conditions in check while avoiding the need for surgery.
Podiatrist Joseph Mariano, DPM, treats bunions, hammertoes, deformity correction, heel and arch pain, heel spurs, fractures, wounds, diabetic foot care, skin lesions, flat foot, corns, calluses, warts, and more.
The most common complaint treated is heel pain, followed by ingrown toenails or infection, The third most common visit is for some type of injury.
Fungal nails are known to be very uncomfortable when wearing shoes, so patients are encouraged to come in every few months to get the nails down and decrease the pain.
PUT YOUR FEET FIRST
Being proactive about caring for your feet, especially if you have diabetes, can make a big difference in your quality of life, and the key is awareness every day. The following tips can help keep your feet healthy:
- Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails. If you see a wound or sore, try to stop further irritation to the area and see your doctor. He or she can provide additional care if the wound is infected or requires special attention.
- Wash your feet every day in warm water. Make sure the water temperature is not too hot by testing with your elbow, and always dry your feet well after washing, especially in between your toes.
- Apply lotion after washing if your feet are dry. Dry, cracked skin allows infection to get under the skin, so it helps to stay moisturized.
- File corns and calluses gently after a bath or shower. Filing too harshly or cutting at corns and calluses can harm your skin and feet.
- Keep toenails trimmed, but not too short. Cut toenails when they are soft from washing.
- Always wear shoes or slippers – even around the house – to protect your feet from injury. Wear socks with shoes to prevent blisters, but don’t wear tight socks that may cut off circulation.
- Wear shoes that fit will and are supportive. Check the insides of your shoes for sharp edges or objects before putting them on.
SPECIAL CARE FOR PATIENTS WITH DIABETES
AGH also provides diabetic wound care. According to the American Diabetes Association, people who have diabetes can develop a variety of foot problems, including nerve damage, also known as neuropathy. Symptoms can include weakness, tingling, or pain in the foot. Patients may also lose feeling in the foot, which can prevent them from realizing the foot is injured. Dry feet, foot ulcers, poor circulation, and calluses are also common in people with diabetes. It’s important that patients follow their treatment plan, because if they have their blood sugar under control, they’ll have enough blood flow to heal the wound and the infection should be able to be controlled with antibiotics.
Regardless of the foot problem, AGH offers great modalities to help people.