Common Conditions

Sometimes it's not so easy to address the causes of concerns such as corns or calluses. You may have gait issues caused by a variety of factors (causing pressure to be unevenly distributed) or you may have no choice but to wear safety shoes for work.

 
That's why our focus is as much on management as it is on treatment. Below we examine the most common conditions we see at our Clinic.

Corns

What are they? 

Corns are painful, hard round areas of skin mostly found in non-weightbearing areas of the foot. Placing pressure on them can be quite painful, and it often feels like you have a small stone or hard seed digging into your skin.

What causes them? 

Repeated pressure and friction on an unprotected area of skin that isn't designed to take it. The most common cause is usually biomechanical, caused by an abnormaility in gait. If you're a diabetic, you may be at greater risk of corns.

How do you treat them? 

Careful removal using a scalpel. It's generally quite painless, and patients often report an immediate sense of relief once it's out. Do bear in mind that if you don't follow your Podiatrist's guidance, they may return.

 

Calluses

What are they? 

Larger areas of hard, yellowing skin that are rarely painful but prone to splitting or cracking. Left untreated they can become painful or inflamed, particularly where pressure from the shoe rubs over the hard edge of a callus onto softer, unprotected skin. Diabetics are often at greater risk of calluses.

What causes them?

Reapeated pressure and friction, uusually biomechanical in origin and made worse by wearing tight shoes, high-impact activities and not wearing socks.

How do you manage them? 

Careful removal using a scalpel or a file. However, if the underlying cause of the friction isn't addressed (you keep wearing tight shoes or avoid wearing socks) calluses will easily return.

Ingrown Toenails

What are they? 

Sometimes the side or corner of the nail grows into the flesh of the toe. It can be caused by an accident, by tight shoes or most commonly by poor cutting of the nail or using curved nailcutters rather than nippers. What's left is a sharp spike or piece of nail in the corner that cuts or pinches the skin.

What happens? 

Left untreated, the leftover nail spike digs into the flesh and infection can quickly follow. If you notice that your toe is painful and there's a redness or swelling around the nail you should contact your GP.

How do you manage them? 

Careful cutting out of the spike, along with management of the contributing factors.In the most severe cases partial or full removal might be necessary but we generally explore the most conservative methods before discussing surgery

Cracked Heels

What are they? 

Extremely dry skin around the heels that appears cracked or 'fissured'. Left untreated they can often bleed and can be extremely painful, while providing an effective portal of entry for infection.

What causes them? 

Lack of moisture causing the heel to lose it's suppleness. This can be caused by the natural effects of aging, poor dietary habits causing a deficiency of Vitamin C, D, and E & Zinc. Eczema and severe athelete's foot  can also cause this problem.

How do you manage them? 

We'd look for health issues such as obesity, psoriasis or even thyroid disease as well as lifestyle factors such as footwear choice or prolonged exposure to water or damp conditions. The questions may sound off-topic, but often a small detail you take for granted may be the vital link in identifying the underlying causes, rather than just treating the symptoms.

Athlete's Foot (aka Tinea Pedis)

What is it?

A fungal infection that usually begins between the toes.​ It can look like a red rash, dry scaly skin with a flaky appearance or even blisters or open red wounds. The area feels extremely itchy, often with a burning or stinging sensation.

What causes it? 

Prolonged exposure to damp conditions. This could be from running in damp conditions or wearing tight shoes and allowing a good deal of sweat to build up. Because it's fungal in nature it's also contagious, and can pass from socks to towels, or even damp gym or shower floors.

How do you manage it? 

Making sure that it is athlete's foot and not eczema or dry skin is the first step. Depending on the severity and with the correct medical advice it can still take several weeks to resolve.

 
 
 
 

Soft Corns

What are they? 

Rubbery, round whitish bumps that are found inbetween the toes. These are far nastier than regular corns as they're particularly difficult to excise, and given the extremely thin skin between the toes, far more painful.

What causes them?

Typically tight, pointed shoes causing the toes to rub against one another. Excess moisture from sweat makes it more likely for infection to develop as the skin begins to break down. Ulceration can develop if allowed to progress.

How do you manage them? 

Careful excision using a scalpel. Soft corns will require multiple treatments as they come back and need to be regularly removed as the management plan continues. If you follow the plan there are very few soft corns that can't be treated within a few appointments.

 

Fungal Nail

What is it?

A highly contagious infection most commonly found under the toenail, between the nail bed and the nail or 'plate'.

What causes it? 

A class of fungus that's also responsible for athlete's foot, and similarly transmitted through touch by foot-to-hand contact, damp floors or shoes and even from towels and bedsheets. One of the more common methods of cross-infection comes from unsanitised equipment used in nail salons, which are usually just washed in disnfectant rather than autoclaved.

How do you manage it? 

We perform a mycology test to determine the exact type of fungus; the sample is taken at the Clinic before being sent to our accredited, independent lab. Once the results are back we can determine if it can bet treated solely by cutting, topical treatment, antibiotics or onward referral to a specialist.

 
Reach out to us!