58 Station Road, Wallsend NE28 6TB Tel. 0191 236 9933
Foot Conditions and Treatments
YOUR INITIAL APPOINTMENT
When you first attend the clinic we aim to put you at ease. We will carry out a full foot health and medical history assessment before deciding on the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Treatment and advice is available for all common foot problems. These may include problems associated with the skin such as corns, calluses, verruca(e) and athletes foot, and nail problems such as thickened nails, ingrown nails and fungal nails.
We can also look at the structure and/or posture of the feet. The shape of your feet and the way you walk can cause or exacerbate certain foot problems or conditions.
Footwear advice also plays a very important role in any treatment regime.
Common skin conditions
Corns are areas of hardened skin on the feet which have a harder central core.
They are usually painful and occur due to pressure and friction on certain areas of the feet. They can be caused by footwear and/or by the structure or posture of the feet.
Corns can be easily removed in the clinic.
We can look at the cause and help to prevent recurrence of the problem by advising on footwear, foot care, specialist padding, orthotics, insoles and exercises.
Calluses are areas of hardened and thickened skin on the feet.
They may or may not be painful. Causes and treatments are similar to those for corns.
A Verruca is caused by a viral infection of the skin.
They can look similar to a corn, but are totally different. Their size can vary from a millimetre in diameter to several millimetres.
Verruca(e) may or may not be painful. They can be picked up in communal areas such as swimming pools, changing rooms/showers.
Treatments include the use of freezing (Cryotherapy) and Salicylic acid based treatments. . Verruca(e) can be quite resistant to treatment.
This is a fungal condition usually associated with feet which sweat a lot.
It commonly occurs between the toes or on the soles of the feet. The skin can be itchy, broken, inflamed and sore.
Sporting activities and wearing synthetic footwear or hosiery can make the condition worse.
Athletes foot can spread to the toenails where the nails become thickened and discoloured. Treatments include footwear advice, foot care advice, use of antifungal and antiperspirant agents.
Common toenail conditions
An “Ingrown” toenail occurs where part of a toenail actually penetrates the skin at the side of the nail.
They can be extremely painful and the toe may become inflamed, infected and swollen.
Causes include nail shape, poor nail cutting, sporting activities, footwear, injury, sweaty feet.
Treatments include careful removal of the ingrown portion of nail, nail cutting advice, dressings, footwear advice, nail surgery.
Nail surgery is a minor procedure that can be performed under local anaesthetic.
Nail surgery is carried out when an Ingrown toenail keeps recurring or is so bad that is does not respond to conservative treatment.
The ingrown side(s) of the nail can be removed so you will then have a narrower nail. In more severe cases the whole nail can be removed. A chemical is applied to the nail bed after removal of the nail or parts of the nail. This stops recurrence of the problem.
FUNGAL NAIL INFECTIONS
Fungal Nail infections are a form of athletes foot. These nails can appear discoloured (white / yellow / orange / brown). They can also be thickened, rough and/or loose.
Causes can be athletes foot, sweaty feet, synthetic footwear and hosiery, injury to the nail.
Treatments include the use of antifungal treatments applied to the nail and/or antifungal oral medication. Footwear and foot care advice is vital in treatment of fungal nail infection. Patience is required in treatment as this condition can take some time to resolve and it can reoccur.
Common Biomechanical Problems (E.G., Over Pronation, Over Supination)
Biomechanics is the science of how we move. A Biomechanical examination will look at how the feet and lower limbs function.
Common biomechanical problems occur where the structure and/or posture of the foot is not ideal in gait (walking).
The height of the arch of the foot can affect the way the foot functions. There are three main foot types based on arch height. These are a low, medium and high arched foot.
A low arched foot (over pronation) can cause the individual to tend to walk on the inner border of the foot and the foot will roll inward. This can cause problems such as “Bunions”, clawed toes, corns and callus, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis.
A medium arched foot is thought to be the ideal for foot function.
A high arched foot (over supination) can cause the individual to walk more on the outer border of the foot. The foot will tend to roll outward. This type of foot places increased pressure on the forefoot and heel. It can cause problems such as ankle sprains, clawed toes, corns and callus, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis.
The posture of the foot can also affect the joints above it such as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
Specialist orthotics, insoles and exercises can be used to improve the foot posture.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS – WHAT IS IT?
This is a commonly seen condition in the clinic. It is an inflammation of the “plantar fascia”. The plantar fascia are structures on the sole of the foot which run from the heel to the ball of the foot. Pain is usually felt in the heel area, especially after periods of inactivity - such as first thing in the morning when weight is initially placed on the foot.
Causes can be foot type (over pronation, over supination), overweight individuals, people who are on their feet a lot.
Treatment includes footwear advice, exercises, use of cold, strapping and orthotics.
INSOLES AND ORTHOTICS
Specialist insoles and orthotics can be prescribed by the Podiatrist to improve the foot posture when walking. These can either be “off the shelf” or specially made.
Common Foot Deformities
BUNIONS (HALLUX VALGUS)
A “Bunion” is a deformity at the base of the big toe where the joint is prominent and the forefoot therefore becomes broader.
Causes include foot type, hereditary factors, certain types of arthritis, injury, footwear. Treatments include footwear advice, orthotics for certain foot types, surgery.
HAMMER AND CLAWED TOES
These are where the lesser toes are bent and pressure may occur on the joints causing soreness, corns and/or calluses.
Causes can be Bunions (Hallux Valgus), injury, footwear, a high arched (Cavus) type foot.
Treatments include footwear advice, custom made toe props, orthotics, exercises, surgery
Diabetic Foot Treatment
Diabetics are advised to take extra special care of their feet as they can be more prone to developing foot infections. They also may have impaired sensation and circulation in their feet. Regular foot checks, treatment and advice are therefore essential to maintain optimal foot health.
Treatment And Advice For Other Conditions
Other common foot conditions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, neuroma, gout, chilblains, blisters.