There are many forms of skin conditions in the foot and ankle. A few common skin conditions are:
Corns are small circular thickened areas of skin that often occur on the tops of toes or in between toes that rub on each-other. Corn pads can cause ulcerations or infections if not monitored by a physician. In Diabetic patients or in patients with compromised feeling in their feet it is highly recommended not to self-treat corns. It is also dangerous to cut on corns at home as it can cause infection. Filing corns can sometimes be safe and creams can soften corns safely resolving some of the pain associated with them. Do not file corns beyond pink skin. In the office there are many treatments for corns including padding, offloading, wider or taller shoes, and occasionally surgical intervention of the underlying biomechanical problem.
At Carolina Foot & Ankle, we can determine the cause of your corn and help provide you with relief.
Calluses are thickened areas of skin caused by rubbing or pressure and are often located on the soles of your feet. Cutting on these lesions at home is not recommended as it can lead to infection or ulceration. Filing these lesions is sometimes acceptable and utilizing a cream or lotion on these lesions can soften them making them less painful. Do not file calluses beyond pink skin. There are many treatments that can be performed for calluses in the office including offloading the lesions with inserts or padding. There are also specialized prescription creams specifically directed at resolving calluses and physician debridement can provide palliative relief.
Athletes foot is a fungal infection of the skin often forming in between the toes and frequently in a moccasin distribution across the soles of the feet. It can cause itchy scaly feet and occasionally redness in between the toes. It can also become superinfected with bacteria and occasionally requires treatment for both a fungal infection and a bacterial infection to resolve. Good hygiene is important when you have a fungal infection. Change your socks, do not walk barefoot in public places and use an antifungal powder in your shoes. It can be very contagious and can spread from one member of the family to another. Treatment often requires antifungal medications.
At Carolina Foot & Ankle, we can help to determine the best treatment for you.
An ulceration is an open wound that can form from pressure, poor blood flow, rubbing, or infection. Ulcerations can also occur from trauma such as a knife dropping on your foot forming a wound called a laceration. Sharp wounds like lacerations can get infected and need to be addressed early. They can frequently be closed with sutures in the office and occasionally in the operating room. Any opening in the skin can get infected and need to be evaluated. Wounds can be treated with wound care products and debridement and occasionally casting or hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Wounds complicated with diabetes or nerve damage need to be evaluated early to prevent loss of limb or infection.
Red skin an be a sign of infection in the skin. A skin infection often requires antibiotics. Eczema and psoriasis can also look like red skin. Sometimes these conditions will form raised plaques and scaly skin. Treating Eczema or psoriasis often requires a topical steroid. Athletes foot can also get infected with bacteria and may require antibiotics and antifungal treatment. It is important to be seen by your podiatrist to distinguish between these conditions given that their treatments are so different. Apply a steroid to infected skin can worsen your condition.
Dark or discolored Nails
Discolored nails can be from trauma, fungus, skin pigment growing into the nails, and melanoma. Given the different appearances of these conditions it is important for you to be evaluated to distinguish them. If there is a dark color in your nail that extends into your skin, this could be a melanoma and early evaluation is highly recommended. Thickening of the nails with accumulation of debris under the nails is often caused by fungus. This can be treated with antifungal medications. Blood under the nail can be removed in the office. If blood under the nail makes up greater than 1/3rd of the nail plate and there is a history of trauma, you may also have an underlying fracture which needs to be evaluated and treated.
There are many types of skin cancers ranging from basal cell to squamous cell and melanoma. This is by no means an exhaustive review of skin cancers. If there is even a question that you may have a skin cancer you should seek an appointment early. Skin cancers vary greatly in their appearance from having skin pigment colors to dark colors. Skin cancers that look like warts, calluses, ulcers, or moles are also possible. Skin lesions with irregular borders or multiple colors within them can also be signs of skin cancer. Deep nodules can indicate a greater depth than just the skin. Fast growing lesions should also be evaluated. Reddish irritation is also concerning for skin cancer. All irregular moles and lesions should be evaluated by a podiatrist or your dermatologist if it is on a part of the body other than the foot or ankle. Abnormal lesions will frequently require a biopsy to be evaluated further.
Warts are caused by a strain of HPV virus and can infect people of all ages. Warts can be painful, especially when they are on the soles of the feet. They do not have skin lines running through them and have black blood vessel specks in their base that have pinpoint bleeding when they are cut. It is not advisable to cut on these lesions yourself. They are contagious and appropriate hygiene is important to prevent them from spreading. Over the counter treatments are available, but are not recommended for individuals with blood flow problems, smokers, diabetics, or on people with decreased feeling in their feet. On the soles of the feet they sometimes get pushed inwards from the weightbearing surface and do not look like classic warts on the hands. There are many effective treatments for warts in the office. At Carolina Foot and Ankle, we are very familiar with treating warts and we will initiate treatments that can accelerate their removal. Surgical excision is also an option for some resistant warts.
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