A routine chiropody appointment will care for the skin and nails of your feet. The podiatrist provides advice and treatment if you have;
- painful feet
- ingrown thickened or discoloured toenails
- corns or callous on the skin
- growths such as verruca
- scaling or peeling on the soles
or any other foot-related problem. You can also be given general foot care and footwear advice
Even if your feet are generally in good condition, you might consider having a single session of podiatry to have the hard skin on your feet removed or toenails clipped, to find out if you’re wearing the right shoes or just to check that you’re looking after your feet properly.
Read on to find out a bit more about some of the most common nail and skin conditions of the feet.
Fungal Nail Infection can be difficult to treat yourself as the fungus lies under the nail. A fungal nail is usually discoloured and has a crumbling texture. As part of treatment the podiatrist/chiropodist will file down the thickened nail. This will reduce and soften the nail so that an anti-fungal treatment can penetrate through the nail to clear the infection. It’s important to also treat footwear, socks, bed sheets etc. to kill any fungal particles and prevent re-infection. It can take a year for the toenail to grow out clear so be persistent with treatment.
Onychauxic Nail are thickened, sometimes discoloured nails that are difficult to clip yourself. Nails can become thickened as you get older. This is usually due to poor circulation or trauma to the nails growth plate such as dropping an object on the toe or continual wearing of tight fitting shoes. The podiatrist/chiropodist uses a nail drill to reduce down the thickened nail painlessly making it easier to clip your nails.
Ingrown Nail can be very painful and are usually caused by cutting the toenail too short or by wearing shoes that are too tight. They can also be genetic or as a result of your particular nail shape. The podiatrist/chiropodist can treat the ingrown nail and manage any infection that may be present. You will be given advice on how to manage the condition. Never attempt to treat ingrowing toenails yourself.
Callus are plaques of hard yellowish skin that develop on the soles of the feet and sometimes the toes. They are rarely painful but can cause discomfort. The podiatrist/chiropodist is very skilled at removing callus safely and efficiently. There are plenty of gadgets and “home-remedies” that claim to give you “soft beautiful skin” but many of them do not work and can sometimes cause more problems.
Corns are smaller than calluses and have a hard center surrounded by inflamed skin. Corns tend to develop on parts of your feet that don’t bear weight, such as the tops and sides of your toes and even between your toes. They can also be found in weight-bearing areas. Corns can be painful when pressed. It is best not treat corns yourself. Avoid using corn plaster preparations as they may contain acid and often cause more harm than good. A podiatrist/chiropodist can remove the corn safely and give advice on how to prevent them.
Verruca or warts on the feet are caused by benign types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) group, commonly the subtypes HVP-1, HPV-2 and HPV-4. Verruca may present as a single lesion, overlapping/scaling, or numerous small lesions. In most individuals the verruca will heal themselves with time. However if you find the verruca painful or unsightly you may wish to treat it. There are various methods to treat verruca and the podiatrist/chiropodist will advise and provide a treatment plan to suit your needs.