Skin and General Footcare

Taking care of your feet is an essential part of staying healthy and active, and it is something that is often overlooked.

It goes without saying that your feet need to support your entire body weight throughout the day, and they are therefore subject to all sorts of pressures, stresses and strains. For men and women alike, most common foot problems can be treated and indeed prevented by a regular routine of proper hygiene and skin care to address irritated, infected, dry or cracked skin.

At Footprints Surgery, we can provide advice and treatment – either as a one-off, or as ongoing consultations – to deal with these common issues.

Other specific foot complaints will often be triggered by your particular lifestyle. For those with active lifestyles, blisters and fungal skin infections are a common result of high impact exercise and hot, sweaty environments. For those who enjoy a slower pace of life, especially for older people, the challenges of thinning skin, corns and bunions can become an issue.

Hard Skin / Calluses

Sometimes referred to as callus or calluses, these are areas of thick hard skin, can be yellowish and are generally found on pressure sites. Pressure sites could be on the ball of the foot, the back of the heel, top and outer edges of toes.

Calluses/hard skin are caused by on-going stress and pressure on foot. They tend to cause a widespread feeling of burning rather than the acute pain caused by corns.

How will your Podiatrist deal with it?

If you come to Footprints, Priti will first identify the areas of callus/hard skin and proceed to physically remove it with the aid a scalpel. This is not a painful procedure as podiatrist are fully trained to undertake this work.

Priti will also discuss with you the types of footwear that maybe appropriate to help you reduce the future development of calluses.

Cracked Heels & Skin

Cracked heels and skin are little splits in the skin very often in the area of the heel they can be referred to as heel fissures, often caused by dry skin.

Damage can occur (the skin can split) when the skin is dry and the skin surface is not able to stretch or spread to absorb pressure as a result of our bodyweight when standing, walking or running.

Patients can find this to be a nuisance or unsightly and when the fissures are deep they can be painful and can result in bleeding. Depending upon your skin type they can appear yellow or dark brown. Similar fissure can occur in the toe areas which can be just as painful when walking or running.

Priti can provide advice on how to resolve this. A range of creams are available from the surgery.

Skin infections

Common skin infections affecting the foot include fungal infections, bacterial infections (for example due to sweaty feet), verrucas and cellulitis, which can start from the feet.

Symptoms of fungal / athlete’s foot include skin which itchy, peeling, possible redness, sometimes scaly and with a burning sensation. The fungus grows best in a warm, moist environment such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers.

Athlete’s foot is caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers. There are at least four kinds of fungus that can cause athlete’s foot. The most common of these fungi is trichophyton rubrum.

Types of Athlete’s Foot

Interdigital: Also called toe web infection, this is the most common kind of athlete’s foot. It usually occurs between the two smallest toes. This form of athlete’s foot can cause itching, burning, and scaling and the infection can spread to the sole of the foot.

Moccasin: A moccasin-type infection of athlete’s foot can begin with a minor irritation, dryness, itching, or scaly skin. As it develops, the skin may thicken and crack. This infection can involve the entire sole of the foot and extend onto the sides of the foot.

Vesicular: This is the least common kind of athlete’s foot. The condition usually begins with a sudden outbreak of fluid-filled blisters under the skin. Most often, the blisters develop on the underside of the foot. However, they also can appear between the toes, on the heel, or on the top of the foot.

Perspiration

Skin that perspires a lot will encourage bacterial and fungal growth leading to bad odours. Good foot hygiene is essential to prevent this.

Cellulitis

Is an infection of the deeper layers of the skin and the underlying tissues. The affected area will turn red, become painful, swollen and hot due to a streptococcal or staphylococcal infections.
Having a skin condition such as eczema or a fungal infection of the foot or toe nails can cause small breaks and cracks to develop in the surface of the skin. This makes a person more vulnerable to cellulitis.

Verruca / plantar warts

Warts are localised thickening of the skin caused by infection in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) by a virus called the human papiloma virus (hpv).

They can vary in appearance and may develop singly or in clusters. Most people will have warts at some point in their life. They tend to affect children and teenagers more than adults.

The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer. The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.

Are warts contagious?

Warts aren’t considered very contagious, but they can be caught by close skin-to-skin contact. The infection can also be transmitted indirectly from contaminated objects or surfaces, such as the area surrounding a swimming pools and communal areas.

You are more likely to get infected if your skin is wet or damaged. After you become infected, it can take weeks or even months for a wart or verruca to appear. The length of time it takes a wart to disappear will vary from person to person.

You might decide to treat your wart if it is painful, or in an area that is causing discomfort or embarrassment.

Common methods of treatment include:

  • salicylic acid
  • cryotherapy (freezing the skin cells)

Whichever method of treatment is used for warts it is not always completely effective, and a wart will sometimes return following treatment.

At Footprints Priti treats using cryo-pen (nitrous oxide). Following treatment the area treated may blister and discolour.

Making an appointment

Footprint Surgery is open 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday. We will always do our best to accommodate urgent or short-notice appointments.