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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Friday, August 29, 2008

Home Remedies For Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown toenails can be extremely painful. The big toe is usually affected. Toenails that are curved are more prone to developing ingrown toenails. Cutting toenails straight across and avoiding cutting them too short will help prevent ingrown toenails.

If an ingrown toenail develops, there are some home remedies that provide relief for some sufferers. One home remedy starts by soaking the foot in salt water for half an hour. After the soak, gently use a tweezers to pry the nail over the skin in which it is embedded. A small piece of gauze or cotton should be wedged between the nail and the broken skin so that about a third of the gauze or cotton extends beyond the injury.

This process should be repeated every day until the nail is safely growing over the skin. The cotton or gauze should be changed frequently, as leaving such a bandage in place for an extended period of time could cause a bacterial infection.

Some home remedies for ingrown toenails involve lemons. Applying a small wedge of lemon against the toe, securing it with a bandage or medical tape, and covering it with a sock overnight is said to make the nail pliable enough to allow the person to free the nail from the skin. Another lemon remedy is to submerge the toe in half a lemon overnight before attempting to free the toenail from the skin.

Some suggest keeping a strip of waxed dental floss between the toenail and the affected skin. Remember to change it frequently to reduce the risk of infection. Smoothing the edges of the toenail with a file is mentioned in some home remedy. The idea is to make the nail less sharp and somewhat less likely to cut into the skin of the toe. If home remedies fail to provide relief, seek medical attention.

Recommended: Ingrown Toenail Clipper, Ingrown Toenail File And Ingrown Toenails Treatment

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bovine DNA Treatment Tested For Diabetic Foot Ulcers

A new treatment for the troublesome diabetic foot is being tested in Las Vegas, Nevada. The treatment is a topical gel that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and tissue. The gel is called Excellarate.

People with diabetes are prone to developing foot ulcers. Due to the loss of sensation that often accompanies diabetes, the ulcer or sore may get bad before it is even noticed. The poor circulation that diabetics often experience makes the healing process slow. Ulcers that fail to heal leave the wound susceptible to infection.

In cases where the infection becomes severe, the foot has to be amputated. Up to twenty-five percent of diabetics who develop foot ulcers will have to have the foot amputated. Therefore, regular inspections of the foot to check for sores are extremely important for diabetics. If a sore is noticed and treated early, it is less likely to cause significant problems than those sore that go unnoticed and become infected.

Excellarate is on clinical trial to test the effectiveness it has in promoting healing for diabetics with foot sores. Excellarate is made from bovine DNA attached to a form of the flu virus. Bovine refers to originating from cows or oxen. Excellarate is also called GAM501. GAM stands for gene activated matrix. The DNA in the medication activates cell growth which would aid the healing process for diabetics with foot ulcers.

It could take four more years for clinical trials to be complete. Diabetic patients who are at least eighteen years old and have had a foot ulcer for six weeks or more may be eligible to participate in the clinical trial. Participants in the clinical study must also be taking insulin or other medication to control their diabetes and be willing to wear a protective shoe during the clinical trial.

Recommended: Peripheral Neuropathy Footwear, Diabetic Foot Cream, Other Diabetic Foot Supplies And Special Diabetic Socks

Friday, August 15, 2008

Salon Pedicure Safety

Pedicures should not lead to health problems, but unsanitary conditions can expose a salon client to infection. The possible diseases that a salon client can be exposed to include nail fungus, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and staph infection. Most infections acquired from pedicures are due to contaminated foot baths.

In the United States, states regulate the sanitation practices of nail salons. Some previously used practices are now banned by government regulations. The use of razors during pedicures is now considered too risky. Cutting cuticles is also considered a high risk practice as it can expose the client to infections.

A new client should consider asking the staff of the salon to disclose their sanitation practices. If the salon practices fail to meet the client’s expectations, a client should search for a salon that meets those expectations.

When entering a nail salon, there are some clues about the sanitation that are readily apparent. Though a dirty nail salon is a clear warning sign, overall cleanliness does not guarantee that the salon is safe.

A responsible nail salon disinfects the tools and the foot tubs and their filtering components between clients. Recommended sanitary practices for nail salons include the use of hospital-grade disinfectants. Filters for whirlpool foot tubs are typically recommended to be soaked in disinfectant for ten minutes after each use.

Items that are disposable should be thrown away after use. Nail files, foot files, and pumice stones should never be used on more than one client. Towels should never be reused on different clients without being washed. If a client witnesses the reuse of these items or signs of intention of reuse such as placing a used nail file in the drawer, they should deem the salon unsanitary and go elsewhere for their pedicures.

A pedicure should not risk the clients’ health. With proper sanitation practices, the risk of infection is minimal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recovery From Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe occurs when the joints of the toe become abnormally contracted. The toes become bent and deformed. This deformed position often starts with some flexibility remaining. Over time, the bent toes may become rigid. Though noninvasive treatments are normally attempted first, sometimes surgery is necessary to correct hammertoe.

Following surgery, the patient may be fitted with a post-operative shoe. The post-operative shoe is an orthotic device that has a stiff sole to protect the toes by restricting any bending movement of the foot. The foot should remain bandaged for about a week following the procedure.

The surgeon is likely to instruct the patient to restrict activity during the first two weeks of recovery. The use of crutches may be recommended to reduce the amount of pressure on the healing toes. Some pain and swelling is common following hammertoe surgery. The surgeon may prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help alleviate pain and swelling. Elevating the foot is commonly recommended.

If stitches have to be removed, the removal usually occurs between ten and fourteen days after the hammertoe surgery. This is unnecessary if the surgeon used dissolvable stitches. Any metal pins that were used to realign the toes and hold them in their new position are usually removed after three or four weeks following the procedure.

The swelling gradually subsides. More than half of the patients recovering from hammertoe surgery are able to wear regular, wide shoes within six weeks after surgery. The feet often begin to feel normal three months after surgery. If a surgical pin was used, it may take longer to be able to wear shoes as shoes cannot be worn until after the pin is removed.

As with most surgeries, infection and complications can happen. The surgeon will provide instructions on what to do if the patient experiences any symptoms of infection.

Orthotics for hammertoes

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Complications Of Hammertoe Surgery

Hammertoe is a condition in which the toes become deformed, becoming abnormally bent. Hammertoe surgery is a common treatment method for hammertoe. It rarely causes complications. As with any surgery, it is important for the patient to follow the postoperative instructions given by the surgeon. Pain and some swelling is common following surgery, but it gradually subsides after the first night following surgery. Sometimes, the patient’s treated toes develop more severe effects from the surgery.

Swollen toe, sometimes called “sausage toe,” is the most common complication from hammertoe surgery. This swelling is often caused by damage to the lymphatic or circulatory system during surgery. Some swelling can be expected following surgery. The physician may suggest taping or strapping to prevent or control troublesome swelling. The swelling usually subsides on its own within six months following surgery.

Malpositioning of the toes is another complication of hammertoe surgery. Unlike swelling, malpositioning often causes long-term problems. Malpositioning of the toes during hammertoe surgery can be caused by excessive shortening or excessive straightening of one or more toes.

Excessive straightening is the most common malpositioning complication. Excessive straightening of the toe can cause that toe to become irritated by the other toes. The straightened toe can develop mallet toe or a reverse swan neck deformity.

Another complication is referred to as “floppy toe.” In the case of floppy toe, the patient experiences discomfort especially when putting on socks. It causes a feeling of a loss of function of the toe. Floppy toe is caused by excessive bony resection. Floppy toe may be able to be corrected with surgery. In some cases, the floppy toe may need to be amputated.

Infection can occur at the surgical site. Common signs of infection include fever and inflammation. The patient should notify the physician if they experience signs of infection or if they experience any other complications.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Soft Corns

Corns are a buildup of hardened skin that forms as a protection from friction or pressure. Hard corns and soft corns are two types of corns. Hard corns are most common. Hard corns often form on the tops or tips of the toes and are usually due to ill-fitting shoes. Soft corns usually form between the toes.

Soft corns are sometimes called “kissing corns” or heloma molle. Unlike hard corns, soft corns consist of whitish, moist skin and may be pea-sized. These usually form between the fourth and fifth toes. Soft corns can be caused by an abnormality of the toe bones. If left untreated, soft corns are at risk of infection and can form small, open sores.

Both hard and soft corns are painful. They can be treated by over-the-counter corn treatments. Some people find relief by placing a foam wedge or small piece of lamb’s wool between the fourth and fifth toes to alleviate some of the pressure. Arch supports may help alleviate some of the pressure between the toes by shifting the distribution of pressure on the foot. If a soft corn is caused by an irregularity of the toe bones, this cause needs to be addressed with a podiatrist in order to stop soft corns from recurring.

Shoes that are too narrow or have pointy toes may aggravate the condition. Wearing shoes with wide toe boxes and cotton socks is recommended. Some people suggest the application of antibiotic ointment to the area of the soft corn.

It can be difficult to tell if the painful white skin is a soft corn or a symptom of severe athlete’s foot. A physician needs to examine a soft corn to determine the underlying cause and the best treatment for the soft corn. The over-the-counter corn treatments will often remove the corn, but if there if the cause is not addressed, it will return.

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