Diabetic Foot Care Advice

The aim of this blog is to help members of the public to understand their feet better. However the information on this blog should never be regarded as medical advice. Readers with foot problems are strongly encouraged to visit their GP if not the podiatrist for further medical assessment and treatment.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Plantar Fasciitis Surgery

If plantar fasciitis fails to improve after six months of using nonsurgical treatment methods, the doctor may recommend surgery. Plantar fasciotomy is a surgical intervention for plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciotomy is also called plantar fascia release surgery.

Plantar fasciotomy can be performed as open surgery or as an endoscopic procedure. The open surgery involves making a large incision. With the endoscopic procedure, two tiny incisions are made. One incision is for the camera that the doctor uses to view the plantar fascia. The other incision is for surgical instruments.

Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy (EPF) can be completed in a shorter time than open surgery. The surgery only takes about fifteen minutes. The endoscopic procedure has a faster recovery time and lower risk of complications. There is less postoperative pain associated with the endoscopic plantar fasciotomy. Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy has a success rate of up to ninety-five percent.

During a plantar fasciotomy, the plantar fascia is cut to relieve the tension or pressure associated with plantar fasciitis. Either a part of the plantar fascia that connects to the heel is removed or incisions are made on the sides of the plantar fascia.

Any heel spurs that have developed are often removed during a plantar fasciotomy. Heels spurs are small pieces of bone that have formed at the site of the injured plantar fascia. Doctors previously thought that the heel pain was caused by heel spurs. Now it is known that heel spurs are a symptom of plantar fasciitis. Seventy percent of people with plantar fasciitis also develop heel spurs.

A plantar fasciotomy can cause a fallen arch in the foot. This causes other foot problems. Another complication is a deep, thickened scar. The scar can be treated by deep tissue massage and physical therapy. Possible complications are numbness and infection. Numbness could be due to nerve damage sustained during the surgery. Patients should contact their doctor if they experience signs of infection such as fever, chills, or redness near the incision.

A compression bandage worn after surgery helps control swelling. The surgeon may prescribe the use of a postoperative shoe or short leg brace to protect the healing foot. The surgeon may recommend the application of ice packs. Patients can usually resume normal activities within six weeks. The patient should refrain from running or jumping for at least three months after surgery. People receiving the endoscopic fasciotomy recovery faster and can often walk without pain on the same day as the surgery.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Burns To The Foot

Burns can be caused by hot water, chemicals, electricity, radiation, friction, or exposure to a heat such as an oven or fire. If the burn was caused by chemicals or electricity, emergency medical services should be called immediately. A burn can cause redness, blistering, and severe damage to skin and deep tissue. Burns to the feet can be serious and require special care.

The first step to first aid for burns is determining the severity of the burn. Burns are classified as either first, second, or third degree burns. First degree burns are mild burns. They cause redness, swelling, and pain. A first degree burn only affects the outer layer of skin.

First degree burns can be treated at home. Run cool water over a first degree burn for five minutes. After the burned area is cooled with water, pat dry and cover with a sterile bandage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be taken to treat pain.

Second degree burns affect more layers of skin than just the outer layer. Second degree burns cause pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. If the burn was caused by dropped boiling water, remove the wet shoes and socks.

Third degree burns cause the skin to turn black or white. Because of damage to nerves, it is likely to cause numbness. Third degree burns affect the tissue below the skin. Third degree burns require immediate medical attention. If a third degree burn is suspected, burned clothing should not be removed.

If the toes are burned, separate them with a sterile dressing such as sterile gauze pads. Never apply butter, ice, or oil spray to a burn. A burn to the foot can cause challenges to healing as a shoe is not likely to be able to be worn. Care needs to be taken to prevent friction against the burn.

A burn to the foot should be treated as a major burn. Major burns require immediate medical attention. The burned area can be covered with a sterile dressing while medical attention is sought. If possible, keep the burned area elevated above the level of the heart. The doctor will give instructions for care of the burn.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bunionette - Tailor's Bunion

A bunionette is a small bunion occurring on the outside of the foot. They are also called tailor’s bunions, often misspelled as taylor’s bunion. Regular bunions affect the big toe, while a bunionette is a bunion on the pinky toes. A bunionette is a visible bump along the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe.

During the development of a bunionette, the little toe is being pushed over towards the other toes. Over time, this causes the joint at the base of the little toe to protrude. Without treatment, bunions and bunionettes get worse. A painful callous, foot corn, or other abnormality may form at the site of the bunionette.

Tailor’s bunions often happen to people who have regular bunions. These smaller bunions are a result of footwear that doesn’t fit properly. A rare cause of bunionettes is a genetic predisposition towards bunions. A doctor will rule out other causes for the pain and swelling, such as arthritis or joint infection.

Another cause, as the pseudonym “tailor’s bunion” implies, could be related to occupational or habitual pressure on the outside of the foot. The name comes from the fact that tailor’s were prone to these small, external bunions due to the position they kept their feet in while working.

Though it is a possible cause, bunionettes are almost always caused by footwear. Ballet dancers are prone to bunionettes due to the tight ballet shoes.
Bunionettes can be painful, especially when irritated by friction from footwear. A non-surgical treatment option for a bunionette involves buying shoes that allow more room for the toes.

Someone with tailor’s bunions may choose to go barefoot or wear sandals to stop this irritation. A shoe repair shop may be able to stretch shoes that are uncomfortable. In some cases, wearing footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the foot is the only treatment needed.

Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may help relieve any pain or discomfort. Elevating the foot and applying ice to the affected area can give some relief. Any bunions occurring in children require medical attention.

Using bunionette pads can help alleviate the pain. A bunionette pad cushions the affected area and stops friction from footwear. Bunionette pads are available at most drug stores. Moleskin or felt patches can be used to stop the bunionette from rubbing against the shoes.

Tailor’s bunion surgery is an option if the bunionette is problematic. Bunion foot surgery should only be considered if the non-surgical bunion treatments fail to provide relief. The surgeon will order tailor’s bunion x ray to check the degree of damage to the foot. The surgeon will consider this and other factors to decide which bunion removal procedures will be the most effective.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Foot Problems During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes many changes to a woman’s body. The feet are not exempt from these changes. The weight change during pregnancy and possible retention of fluids can cause problems or changes in her feet.

The pressure from added weight can cause the feet to expand slightly. Many pregnant women find the need to buy shoes in a larger size. Gradually after delivery, a woman’s feet may return to their normal, pre-pregnancy size. It is important for a pregnant woman to buy larger shoes if her feet become larger. Continuing to use her shoes that have become too tight can lead to foot problems, such as bunions, corns, and blisters. Some woman’s feet do not return to their pre-pregnancy size after pregnancy.

The added weight can also put excess pressure on the arch of the foot. Over-pronation, or flatfoot, can occur. This can cause the woman’s feet to roll inward as she walks. The plantar fascia may experience inflammation or extreme stress from the over-pronation. The plantar fascia is the fibrous tissue that runs from the heel to the forefoot.

The over-pronation can cause strain on the foot. It can affect not only the feet, but cause pain in the calves and back as well. Over-pronation can often be treated conservatively with over-the-counter orthotics. Orthotics that provide arch support should help alleviate mild pain due to over-pronation.

Shoes worn during pregnancy should provide extra support. Footwear that provides shock absorption is ideal. Athletic shoes with supportive soles are a good choice during pregnancy. All shoes worn should fit properly for the current condition and size of the feet.

Edema, or swelling in the feet, is common during pregnancy. A pregnant woman should contact her physician or obstetrician if she experiences swelling of the feet or ankles to make sure it is not a symptom of a potentially serious condition such as preeclampsia. Elevating the feet can help reduce edema. If the pregnant woman has to sit for extended periods of time, she should take frequent breaks and walk for a few minutes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Taming Foot Odor

Foot odor is caused by excessive perspiration. There are more than a quarter of a million sweat glands in the foot. There are things that can be done to help eliminate foot odor. Feet should be washed daily with antibacterial soap and water. Feet should be thoroughly dried after being washed.

Deodorizing foot powders may be applied to help control the foot odor. Antiperspirants that are used under the arms can also help cut down on the sweating that causes foot odor. Make sure to use antiperspirants, not deodorant. Soaking the feet in a mixture of water and vinegar or Epsom salts can help reduce foot odor. This soak can be done daily if necessary.

Clean socks should be worn every day. Socks that are made from natural materials such as cotton are less likely to cause foot odor, because the natural fiber allows air to reach the feet. Socks made of synthetic material can trap moisture and contribute to foot odor. If foot odor is a persistent problem, changing socks more frequently could be helpful.

Shoes should be allowed to air out thoroughly before wearing them again. Alternating shoes can be helpful. Shoes that are worn without socks may become contaminated by the foot odor. Athletic shoes should not be worn without socks. It may be helpful to sprinkle cornstarch into shoes to absorb some of the moisturizer.

Check feet for infected sores. People with diabetes may not feel the injury. Infected sores can cause odor and can become a serious health problem. People with diabetes should check their feet daily for sores and cuts.

Pungent foods and spices can cause more odor in perspiration. Garlic, onion, peppers, scallions, and curry should be avoided or used in moderation if foot odor is a troublesome problem. Stress can cause the body to perspire more than usual. Relaxation techniques can help reduce the effects of stress.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Blisters are pockets of fluid in the upper layers of the skin. Blisters on the feet are commonly caused by friction with footwear. People who do a lot of walking, hiking, or participate in sports should take care to choose shoes that do not rub against the skin. Shoes with rigid backs like high heels can cause blisters on the back of the foot.

Most blisters can be successfully treated without medical care. The blister should be left intact and not opened. A blister should be left uncovered unless it will rub against a shoe. In those cases, it can be protected from further damage by applying a loose bandage. Do not apply tape directly to the blister. The shoes that caused the injury should be avoided. Minimize activity that could cause irritation to the blister.

Most blisters will drain and heal on their own. You may choose to drain large blisters that are over an inch wide. This should be done with care as blisters can become easily infected. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling the blister. Sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol. Prick the side of the blister with the needle. Gently press the liquid in the blister towards the hole. After drained, wash the blister with soap and water and pat dry.

The flap of skin should be left to protect the blistered area. The skin covering the blister should not be removed unless dirt or pus becomes trapped in it. If you drain the blister or the skin tears, apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and apply a loose bandage. The bandage should be changed daily.

Seek medical attention if the blister becomes infected. Symptoms of infection include redness, increased pain, warmth at area of the blister, pus, fever, or swollen lymph nodes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ingrown Toenails And Its Specifics

Ingrown toenails are also known scientifically as “unguis incarnates”. In the medical world, it is commonly referred to as, “onychocryptosis”.
Ingrown toenails are actually a type of disease occurring within the nails. This is very painful and oftentimes unbearable since it involves the actual nails themselves. The nail grows uncontrollably into the nail bed and ends up cutting through the skin and then hurting the nail’s fleshy area during the entire process. This condition happens on both the hands and feet, particularly on every fingernail area. However, it often occurs within toenails.

If ingrown toenails are left untreated, the circumstances may become severe. From a simple type of inflammation, it can become a fatal infection, which can eventually lead to ulceration and then into an abscess which would ultimately need surgery for it to be completely removed.

There are actually several factors which can cause this nail disease. Some of them are as follows:

- wearing tightly-fitted and enclosed footwear
- rounded trimming of nails especially on corners
- fungal infection
- nail or finger injury
- nail biting
- trauma experienced by the toe nail
- diseases causing nail deformity
- hereditary factors

It is easy to spot symptoms of ingrown toenails. The signs and symptoms are very obvious and really painful. At its earliest stage, an ingrown toenail will exhibit some form of redness combined with lengthened pain and just a mild swelling within the affected area. It does not necessarily follow that you will most likely observe pus coming out from it. However, as the condition progresses, an infection can develop when it remains untreated. The swelling will become severe until a colored drainage can be observed forming from the area. In severe cases, ingrown toenails can also cause fever.

Read more on Treatments of Ingrown Toenails

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