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Corns and Callouses, Diabetic Foot Care, Footwear Problems, Fungal Nail Infections, and Painful Heels

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are areas of hard, thickened skin that develop when the skin is exposed to excessive pressure or friction. They commonly occur on the feet and can cause pain and discomfort when you walk.

Corns are small circles of thick skin that usually develop on the tops and sides of toes or on the sole of the foot. However, they can occur anywhere, and are often caused by wearing shoes that fit poorly or have certain designs that place excessive pressure on an area of the foot. They often occur on bony feet as there's a lack of natural cushioning. They can also develop as a symptom of another foot problem, such as:
• A Bunion – Where the joint of the big toe sticks outwards as the big toe begins to point towards the other toes on the same foot.
• Hammer Toe – Where the toe is bent at the middle joint.

Calluses are hard, rough areas of skin that are often yellowish in colour. They can develop on your foot, most often around the heel area or on the skin under the ball of the foot, and can also develop on the palms of the hands and knuckles. Calluses are larger than corns and do not have such a well-defined edge. As callused skin is thick, it is often less sensitive to touch than the surrounding skin.

Calluses develop when the skin rubs against something, such as a bone, a shoe, or the ground. They often form over the ball of your foot because this area takes most of your weight when you walk. This is particularly the case when high heels are worn regularly. Excessive pressure on bony areas of the foot, badly fitting shoes, dry skin, and reduced fatty padding are all possible causes of calluses.

Diabetic Foot Care

People with diabetes can experience a number of potentially serious problems affecting their feet, some of which can be very painful. This is because the condition can damage nerves and blood vessels in your feet. Foot problems that can affect people with diabetes include:

• Nerve Damage (Peripheral Neuropathy) – This can cause numbness, burning, or stabbing or shooting pains in your feet.
• Poor Circulation (Ischaemia) – This may result in your feet becoming painful, cold, red, and swollen.
• Skin Ulcers - Painful sores that take a very long time to heal.
• Skin Infections – The infections may be harboured as ulcers that become red and swollen, and may produce a foul-smelling odour and green discharge.

Contact your GP or diabetes care team immediately if you have diabetes and think you have developed a problem with one or both of your feet.

Footwear Problems

Party shoes could be killing your feet; the wrong footwear can cause short-term pain and long-term problems. Poorly fitting shoes are also a common cause of blisters – small pockets of fluid that form in the upper layers of the skin. You might be looking forward to donning heels for a party soon, but what may seem like minor pain now could lead to a much severer foot problem later on in life, and place a strain on your joints. So, wearing sensible shoes as much as possible could prevent this from happening.

Fungal Nail Infections

Many people develop a fungal nail infection at some point in their life. It's not usually serious, but can be unpleasant and difficult to treat. The infection develops slowly and causes the nail to become discoloured, thickened, and distorted. Medically named onychomycosis, the infections are more frequently found on toenails than fingernails. A fungal nail infection may not cause any obvious symptoms at first, but as it progresses, the infection can cause:

• Discolouration of the Nail – It may turn white, black, yellow, or green.
• Thickening and Distortion of the Nail – It may become an unusual shape or texture and be difficult to trim.
• Pain or Discomfort – Particularly when using or placing pressure on the affected toe or finger.
• Brittle or Crumbly Nails – Pieces may break off and come away completely.

Most fungal nail infections occur as a result of the fungi that cause athlete's foot infecting the nails. They often live harmlessly on your skin, but they can sometimes multiply and lead to infections. The fungi prefer warm, dark, and moist places like the feet. You're more likely to get a fungal nail infection if you:

• Don't Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry
• Wear Shoes That Cause Your Feet to Get Hot and Sweaty
• Walk around Barefoot in Places Where Fungal Infections Can Spread Easily, Such as Communal Showers, Locker Rooms, and Gyms
• Have Damaged Your Nails
• Have a Weakened Immune System
• Have Certain Other Health Conditions, Such as Diabetes, Psoriasis, or Peripheral Arterial Disease

Fungal nail infections can be spread to other people, so it is important that you take the necessary steps to avoid this. Call to book an appointment today! For treatment and advice. 

Painful Feet!

Contact our professionals now, in Romford, Essex, to schedule an appointment at our foot clinic.

Painful Heels

Heel pain is a common foot condition which is usually felt as an intense pain when using the affected heel. Usually, it builds up gradually and gets worse over time. The pain is often severe and occurs when you place weight on your heel. In most cases, only one heel is affected, although estimates suggest that around a third of people have pain in both heels.

The pain is usually worse first thing in the morning, or when you first take a step after a period of inactivity. Walking usually improves the pain, but it often gets worse again after walking or standing for a long time. Some people may limp or develop an abnormal walking style as they try to avoid placing weight on the affected heel.

Most cases of heel pain are caused when a band of tissue in the foot, known as the plantar fascia, becomes damaged and thickens. Plantar fasciitis is the medical term for the thickening of the plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a tough and flexible band of tissue that runs under the sole of the foot. It connects the heel bone with the bones of the foot, and acts as a shock absorber to the foot. Sudden damage, or damage that occurs over many months or years, can cause tiny tears (micro-tears) to develop inside the tissue of the plantar fascia. This often causes the plantar fascia to thicken, resulting in heel pain.

The surrounding tissue and the heel bone can also sometimes become inflamed. This most commonly affects people aged between 40 and 60 who are overweight or on their feet for long periods of time. That pain tends to develop gradually over time and is at its worst when you wake up in the morning and at the end of the day.