Skin & Toenail Conditions

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At Premier Podiatry Group, P.C., we perform treatment for many different foot and ankle issues. Most of the problems that our patients need help with can be broken up into various categories, like heel pain and sports injuries. When it comes to skin and toenail conditions, some people might be quick to dismiss them as being either purely superficial or simply not a big deal.

This mindset can allow minor issues to become major ones. When you or a loved one develops a skin or toenail condition, remember that best practice is to address these problems at the earliest possible stages.

Common Toenail Problems

Toenails might not serve as much actual use as they did once upon a time, but these biological features still exist and, unfortunately, can be the source of several potential problems, including:

  • Ingrown toenails – When nails become ingrown, it is often the result of tight shoes, improper nail trimming practices, physical trauma, or an unusually curved nail structure. Most cases are treated with conservative practices, but nails that continually become ingrown may need to be partially removed.
  • Toenail fungus – Fungal toenails are easily recognized as being abnormally brittle, thickened, and discolored. The offensive fungus thrives in damp environments and is often found in gym locker rooms, pool decks, and showering areas.
  • Black toenails – This particular condition can be quite common for long-distance runners, especially those who wear shoes that are too tight. Often, but not always, black toenails develop when the nailbed bruises or blood pools between it and the nail. In rare cases, a black toenail is an indication of malignant melanoma.

The good news about these toenail issues is that simple prevention methods can greatly lower the risk of them. These include keeping feet dry, wearing sandals or shower shoes on pool decks and in locker rooms, and wearing shoes that fit correctly.

Skin Conditions That Affect Feet

Several possible problems can arise with the skin on your feet. A key reason behind this is the tremendous amounts of pressure and force placed upon them on a daily basis. Another is the fact that feet do not have oil glands to provide moisture. Instead, they rely on hundreds of thousands of sweat glands. This is important because it not only provides a reason for foot odor, but also creates an essential component (moisture) that allows bacteria, fungi, and viruses to thrive.

  • Corns and calluses – These are related skin conditions, but quickly distinguished based on physical characteristics. Calluses are flattened patches of thickened skin (usually on your sole), while corns are usually conical and feature a center that is either softer or harder than the surrounding skin.
  • Blisters – Much like corns, blisters develop in response to friction. In this instance, though, the top layers of skin become separated from bottom ones. The space between then fills up with fluid as the body tries to protect itself so the skin can be adequately repaired.
  • Athlete’s foot – This is one of the most common fungal infections, but it is also one of the easiest to treat. Antifungal products that can be bought at the store usually do an effective job of treating mild to moderate cases. More severe infections may require professional care, however.
  • Cracked heels – When the skin on the bottom of the foot becomes excessively dry, it can respond by cracking. This can not only be painful and a source of discomfort, it also creates an opening for microorganisms to infect the body.
  • Plantar warts – There are many myths regarding the origins of warts, but the reality is simply that they develop in response to a viral infection. The responsible virus is the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has over 100 different types (but only a few actually cause these bumpy growths).

Skin and Toenail Care in Ebensburg, PA

Feet are susceptible to a wide range of potential issues, including skin and toenail conditions. If you or any of your loved ones are having any of these common problems, come see us at Premier Podiatry Group, P.C. and we will provide the effective care needed. Contact our Ebensburg, PA office by calling (814) 472-2660 for more information. You can also request an appointment online today.