Skin and nails
Purely on the basis of aesthetics, there are compelling reasons to have a podiatrist check out a concerning skin or nail problem. Who doesn’t want smooth, clear, healthy-looking skin and nails?
And there’s more to it than just health and beauty, too. Skin and nails are, after all, your foot’s first line of defense against cuts, injuries, and all kinds of infection-causing micro-organisms. They’re not just there to look good—they keep the germs out, too!
Never be shy about asking our office for help about a skin or nail concern. These problems are very common and very treatable, and we love helping our patients look great, feel great, and stay healthy thanks to attentive skin and nail care!
Common Skin Conditions that Affect the Feet
pAt our podiatry office in Lee’s Summit, Dr. Joel Foster provides effective and compassionate treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including:
- Athlete’s foot. This scaly, reddish rash is caused by the same fungi that also cause fungal toenails (so you can actually get one condition from the other). Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home using over-the-counter topical antifungal medications. However, if your case is especially painful or keeps coming back, we can help you with stronger treatments.
- Blisters. Blisters often form in spots on the feet where the skin is subjected to a large amount of pressure and friction in a short period of time. This can often happen if your shoes don’t fit properly, or you wear shoes without socks. We generally recommend against draining blisters unless you absolutely must. If you have diabetes, it may be safer to have us do the draining for you.
- Calluses. These are thick patches of built-up skin that develop as a way to protect your feet from sources of long-term friction or pressure. They are usually wide, flat, and located along weight-bearing areas of the foot. Calluses typically disappear over time if you remove the source of the friction (such as a tight pair of shoes). They usually don’t cause pain, but if they are bothering you, you should seek professional help instead of trying to cut them yourself.
- Corns. Corns are very similar to calluses. The main differences are that they tend to be more cone-shaped and located in non-weight-bearing areas, like toes. They also tend to be surrounded by inflamed skin and are more likely to be painful. As with calluses, you should never attempt to cut them or treat them on your own.
- Cracked heels. If your skin becomes excessively dry, it can start to split and crack when pressure is applied. This commonly affects the heels, and in some cases, the fissures can be so deep that bleeding occurs. At the very least, cracked heels are unsightly, but they can also pose a risk of infection if they are severe or you have diabetes.
- Ulcers. Even small cuts or burst blisters can develop into sores and ulcers on the feet and legs that won’t heal if you don’t care for them properly. This is especially true if you have diabetes, neuropathy, venous insufficiency, or other circulatory problems. Prompt treatment is extremely important if you want to avoid the worst possible outcomes, including infection or even amputation.
- Plantar warts. These viral growths can technically appear anywhere on the body, although the feet are one of the most common targets. Warts can be embarrassing, and depending on where they are located they can also be painful. They may also last for years unless you seek treatment. We are the only office in Lee’s Summit and the surrounding area to offer Swift Microwave Therapy as a revolutionary treatment option for plantar warts.
Common Toenail Conditions
Some of the most common toenail problems we see include:
- Ingrown toenails. If you have this condition, an edge or corner of your toenail has begun to dig inward into your flesh. It’s as painful as it sounds, and can also lead to a dangerous infection if not treated promptly and correctly. Although some people prefer to handle treatment of a minor ingrown toenail at home, our office can provide rapid, effective, and in many cases permanent relief.
- Fungal toenails. Caused by the same fungi that also lead to athlete’s foot, fungal toenails can be very unsightly. The nails often appear thickened, yellowish or grayish, ridged and deformed, crumbly, and brittle. Traditionally, this has been a very tough condition to treat, and it can take many months to see results. Fortunately, we are pleased to offer combination therapy using state-of-the-art laser technology, which has a much higher success rate (and is safer and more convenient) than older remedies.
- Black toenails. Usually, blackened toenails are the result of bruising or bleeding under the nail. They are very common in runners and athletes, especially those who wear shoes that don’t fit correctly. However, in very rare cases there could be a more serious problem, including melanoma. If pain is severe, or you can’t remember an obvious injury or incident that might have caused it, seek professional attention.
Comprehensive Skin & Nail Care in Lee’s Summit
Whether you have any of the conditions listed above, or any other problem with your skin or nails, Dr. Joel Foster in Lee’s Summit can help.
We said it already, but we’re saying it again: never be too shy or embarrassed to ask for our help about a skin or nail problem! These problems are very common, and you definitely don’t want things to get out of hand before you get the care you need. Prompt, effective, and compassionate care today will help ensure you get healthy, clear skin and nails back as soon as possible.
You can request an appointment online or give us a call at (816) 246-4222.