Are you suffering from any foot problems?
Assessment of Foot Conditions
Podiatrists assess, diagnose and treat foot and foot related problems. The numbers of conditions that a podiatrist is able to help with are many and varied. People are often quite surprised at the breadth of a podiatrists caseload.
Many of the conditions that I see on a regular basis are discussed in more detail below. If you have a problem with your foot, or lower limb that you feel is foot related and this is not mentioned below, then please contact me and I will be glad to liaise with you further.
Blisters are fluid filled sacs which develop beneath the surface layer of the skin. They are usually caused by friction or extremes of temperature such as a scald or a freeze. There are also some dermatological reasons why some people develop blisters such as infection.
Blisters can be subdivided into categories such as bullae, vesicles, or pustules. Bullae are large blister sites filled with following excessive skin trauma. Vesicles are small blisters which often appear in clusters and usually indicate a dermatological problem or infection such as tinea pedis (athletes foot). Pustules are pus filled blisters which may be associated with specific conditions such as psoriasis / palmoplantar pustulosis.
A bunion – called Hallux Abductovalgus – is the common name for a protruding big toe joint on the side of the foot which can cause difficulty finding shoes of sufficient width and can cause pain and rubbing.
A bunion is caused by a displacement of the first metatarsal bone (the long bone in the arch) and its connecting toe bone (called the phalanx). This displacement is oftentimes a result of poor footwear including fashion shoes, court shoes or pointed shoes.
The abnormal foot posture is also sometimes an underlying factor therefore a podiatrist may sometimes suggest correcting foot position or foot posture using orthoses (special insoles) as an adjunct to improving styles of footwear. Also there is often a tendency for bunions to run in families. For some bunions I may suggest onward referral to a Podiatric Surgeon for advice on bunion surgery.
Corns are dense local areas of hard skin which are caused due to recurrent pressure on the same area of skin. This is often caused due to abnormal biomechanics, foot deformities (such as hammer toes or bunions) or ill-fitting footwear.
Corns have a central core called a nucleus which under pressure is often very painful and requires treatment by a podiatrist. Treatment of corns will include the removal of the corn and will help address the abnormal pressure that is causing the corn to develop.
Hard skin, or callus, is caused by frictional forces or a more diffuse pressure area. Hard skin can often be managed through filing or using a pumice stone and by using a foot moisturiser daily, however callus often requires removing painlessly by a podiatrist with a scalpel.
Commonly, toenails curl as they grow – this over-curvature is called involution. Involution is not a true ingrown nail, however they can be very painful, especially if hard or dry skin builds up down the side.
If a toenail penetrates the skin this is called onychocryptosis – a true ingrowing toenail. This is usually extremely painful and will cause localised swelling and redness in the area next to the nail sometimes accompanied by a discharge or pus.
Both involuted nails and ingrowing can be dealt with by your podiatrist. Conservative management is often sufficient. Some nails benefit from toenail surgery performed by a podiatrist under local anaesthesia, whereby a more long term solution can be offered.
Heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
Pain under the heel or arch
The plantar fascia is a fibrous band of tissue anchoring from the heel up along the arch to the toe joints. This commonly becomes inflamed – a condition known as plantar fasciitis. This is often due to the repetitive strain, called microtrauma, taken through this tissue over a period of time, which in turn causes long term damage and inflammation.
This condition can be treated by improving the biomechanics of the way you walk or run – thereby improving the way in which the foot and this tissue bears the strain placed upon it. Foot orthoses are specialised insoles that podiatrists often use in the treatment of this condition as well as addressing any muscle imbalances contributing to it. Or strapping in a figure of 8 is another alternative and a cheaper method.
Trim, cut and nail filling
Pain and wound management
Swelling of the lower limbs
Care of the ageing and diabetic foot
Dopler testing to evaluate the blood flow
Orthoptics, padding and dressing
Strapping and props