Nail and skin issues aren’t just cosmetic. Ingrown toenails, corns, and other common foot conditions can make you embarrassed to wear shoes that show off your feet—but they can also cause pain that interferes with your day-to-day routine. With proper treatment, however, you can ensure that your feet look and feel their best.
Common Nail and Skin Conditions Affecting the Feet
Grandville Foot and Ankle treats patients who are struggling with a wide range of nail and skin conditions affecting their overall foot health. Some of the most common include:
- Athlete’s foot. Despite the name, you don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from this common fungal infection. The itchy, scaly rash can spread to infect your toenails if it is left untreated.
- Blisters. Although they are most often viewed as a minor inconvenience, blisters can become infected and cause significant pain. If a blister is bleeding, oozing pus, emitting a foul smell, or failing to heal, it is most likely infected. An untreated infection can lead to cellulitis, which can be life-threatening if it is allowed to spread to the lymph nodes and vital organs.
- Calluses. A callus occurs when the body attempts to protect the issue under the foot from the effects of friction and pressure by building up the skin on the surface. Calluses are rarely painful, but they can be unsightly.
- Corns. Many people struggle to tell the difference between corns and calluses, but corns are generally smaller and typically form on the toes. They have a hard center that is surrounded by inflamed skin that is painful when pressed.
- Dry skin. Excessively dry skin on the feet can be the result of taking hot showers or baths and using harsh soaps, but it can also be a concern for people with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. When the skin is dry enough to start cracking, this can lead to infection.
- Black toenails. There are several things that can cause a black toenail, but the most common is a hematoma. This occurs when blood pools beneath the toenail due to injury or trauma to the foot. The resulting pressure can lead to significant pain in the affected area.
- Ingrown toenails. When a toenail starts to curve downward and grow into the skin at the sides of the nail, this causes pain, redness, and swelling. Sometimes, an infection can result if the ingrown toenail breaks the skin and harmful bacteria are allowed to enter.
- Plantar warts. Warts on the sole of the foot can make walking and standing painful. Often, people describe the feeling as similar to having a rock or pebble in your shoe.
- Sweaty feet. Excessively sweaty feet are more than just an embarrassment. Hyperhidrosis can increase your risk of injury by causing your feet to shift around in your shoes throughout the day. Sweat can also increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infection.
- Toenail fungus. Thick or yellowing toenails are a common sign of a toenail fungus known as onychomycosis. In most cases, only one nail is affected. However, the condition can spread if it is left untreated.
How a Podiatrist Can Help
Treatment for nail and skin issues affecting the feet depends on the specifics of your condition, as well as whether or not you are experiencing any pain. In many cases, conservative treatments such as medication and padding to protect the affected area are sufficient. However, a change in footwear or the addition of shoe inserts can often prevent problems from reoccurring.
Keep in mind that diabetes can affect the body’s ability to heal from many common skin and nail conditions. Issues that would be considered minor in a healthy adult can lead to infections and foot ulcers in a person with diabetes. If you are being treated for diabetes, any changes in the appearance of your feet—even if you aren’t experiencing pain—should be addressed immediately.
Request an Appointment Today
Grandville Foot and Ankle serves patients from Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville, Georgetown, Zeeland, Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Kentwood, Lowell, and throughout Michigan. Contact us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sarah Stewart.