Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
Posts for category: foot care
Dry, Cracked Feet
If it looks like a winter snow storm upon removal of your socks due to dead dry skin particles or your partner tells you to stop rubbing your rough feet against him/her in bed, chances are the arid winter air has probably got the best of your feet. Winter is notorious for causing dry skin and cracks in your heels. Not only can cracks in the heels/skin be painful, but can also be hazardous for some folks. Any break in the skin, including cracks in the heels can become infected with bacteria or even a virus. This can potentially be detrimental in a healthy individual, let alone someone that has a harder time fighting off infection such as a diabetic.
Other than the dry winter weather, there are numerous other things that can contribute to dry skin, for example;
1. Going barefoot or consistently wearing sandals can be a contributing factor.
2. Another thing that influences dry skin is either not using a skin moisturizer or using one that has alcohol as one of the main ingredients. Alcohol is a drying agent and is contained within many of those pretty smelling lotions that we are more apt to use because of their scent.
3. Body wash can also be another instigator for drying out the skin. A harsh body wash removes the natural oils from the skin that help keep it hydrated.
4. Nothing feels better than a hot shower/bath during the dead of winter, but is also another culprit for drying out the skin.
The best time to work on dead skin, particularly the heels, is after bathing when the skin is at its softest. Use a pumice stone to gently remove dead skin and apply moisturizer after this. Another tip is to wear socks to bed after using a moisturizer to help lock moisture into the feet. Consistency and massaging into the feet is also key to regaining your soft, silky skin. And if you’re lucky your partner will volunteer to massage your feet during your lotion application…hey, we all can dream, right?
Diagnosis and Treatment of Bunions
A person can usually tell they have a bunion by looking at their feet. There will usually be a bump on the side of the big toe. However, it is best to have x-rays taken to determine what has all changed in the structure of your foot. Bunions do not go away and usually get worse over time. After you see a podiatrist a treatment plan can be put in place that is best suited to your needs.
Sometimes it is best to just have your bunion evaluated periodically along with x-rays to find out if your deformity is worsening. It is best to have periodic evaluations so that no irreversible damage is caused to the joint. There are a few options to help ease the pain, even though they won’t reverse the bunion.
-Change up the shoes. Choose a shoe with a wide toe box and try to avoid anything with a pointed toe or high heels. These may aggravate the bunion.
-Bunion pads. They are placed over the bunion and sometimes help minimize the pain.
-Modify activities. Standing for a long period of time and other activities may irritate the bunion and cause pain. These types of activities should be avoided in uncomfortable shoes.
-Medications. Over the counter medication may help relieve the pain.
-Icing. Placing an ice pack on the bunion a few times a day may help reduce the inflammation and pain.
-Injection therapy. This is rarely used, but sometimes a corticosteroid injection may be used to treat an inflamed bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that is located in the toe joint.
-Orthotic devices. A custom orthotic may be provided by a podiatrist to treat the functional foot problems.
There are some cases of bunions that will need surgery. If the pain from a bunion is interfering with your daily activities this may be a case that needs surgery, but should be talked over with your podiatrist.
If you are having pain from a bunion it is best to make an appointment with Dr. Brian Gale, DPM, FACFAS to see what treatment options are best for you. Call Our Bismarck Office today at 701-255-3338 or go online to request an appointment
Everyone should be caring for their feet. Here are a few steps to take to help prevent foot problems
· If you have any foot pain, don’t ignore it! If you are experiencing any type of pain call us to set up an appointment with Dr. Gale.
· Check your feet on a regular basis. Look for any changes especially in the color and temperature. Look for changes in the nails. Do they look thick or discolored? This could be fungus developing. Check for cracks, cuts or peeling skin. Peeling or scaling skin can be an indication of Athlete’s Foot. If there is a growth on your foot this is not normal and should be checked by Dr. Gale.
· Make sure to wash your feet regularly and drying them completely. Always make sure to clean in between your toes.
· Toenails should be trimmed straight across and not too short. Do not trim the nails in the corners or on the sides. This could cause ingrown nails. Anyone with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should have someone else treat their feet to help reduce the chance of getting an infection.
· Get shoes that fit properly. When purchasing shoes make sure it is at the end of the day when feet tend to be swollen and are the largest. Make sure to replace your shoes as they wear out.
· Get shoes for the right type of activity or sport. If you are a runner make sure you have the proper running shoes.
· Don’t wear the same shoes every day.
· Don’t go barefoot if at all possible. When you are barefoot you are more likely to get an injury or infection. If you are barefoot or wearing sandals outside make sure to use sunblock on your feet.
· Diabetics should have their feet checked by Dr. Gale at least once a year.