Know Your Nail Fungus Risk Factors
A fungal infection of the toenails may be caused by a wide variety of fungi. Additionally, there are certain factors that can raise your risk for toenail fungus. You may be at higher risk for the development of nail fungus if you have a history of athlete’s foot or have suffered an injury to a toe or nail bed. Certain sports or types of shoes can also cause injury and trauma that may raise your risk for a fungal infection. Those who suffer from excessive foot perspiration, diabetes, circulatory problems, and immune system illnesses or deficiencies can also be at higher risk for toenail infections. Your foot doctor in Sugarland can help you determine your specific risk factors, as well as provide the information you need to prevent a fungal infection.
Allowing a fungal infection to persist can lead to skin damage and even illness if the fungus enters your bloodstream. Fungus on feet will not go away on its own—you’ll need to visit your podiatrist for toenail fungus removal to ensure the issue is properly addressed.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails occur when the edge of a toenail grows into your skin, rather than over it. Podiatrists recommend a variety of foot care methods to reduce your risk of ingrown toenails and improve the overall health of your feet. Wearing well-fitting shoes is the first step in reducing your risk for ingrown toenails. Talk to your Houston foot specialist if you aren’t sure how to determine the right fit. Additionally, clip your toenails straight across and file down any edges to reduce the risk of ingrown toenails. You can get more tips for foot care and preventing ingrown toenails by watching this video.
If you do experience an ingrown toenail, it’s best to seek treatment from a podiatrist as soon as possible. Ingrown toenails can worsen with time, leading to pain and infection that require ingrown toenail surgery to address.
How To Prevent & Treat Ingrown Toenails
Examining Types of Bunion Surgery
Bunions are bony protrusions that occur on the first joint of the big toe. If you have a bunion that is large or particularly painful, your podiatrist may suggest bunion surgery to remove it. Surgery is generally not recommended unless other forms of bunion treatment have proved unsuccessful. There are a number of surgical bunion removal options your Houston podiatrist may pursue; the best treatment for you will depend upon your condition.
A bunionectomy is a surgical procedure that is generally used to treat smaller bunions and milder big toe deformations. During this form of bunion surgery, your foot and ankle specialist will shave off the excess bone of the bunion before realigning the bones and tissues of your foot to restore its natural shape. Recovery from a bunionectomy typically takes two to four weeks and requires a special post-surgical shoe to keep your foot supported and properly aligned as it heals.
An osteotomy is a more complicated surgical procedure generally reserved for mild or severe bunions. During an osteotomy, the metatarsal bone of your big toe is cut and moved into proper alignment to correct a more severe deformity. The bone is held in place with screws or pins. In cases of very severe deformities, a portion of the bone may also be removed before it is affixed in place. If the toe joint has significantly degraded due to arthritis, it may be replaced with an artificial joint. After bunion surgery to correct a mild deformity, recovery may take four to six weeks. A more involved osteotomy requires six to twelve weeks for a full recovery. After an osteotomy, you will need to wear a short cast and use crutches to allow your foot to heal.
Bunions may be due to many causes, including genetic predisposition and poorly-fitting shoes. Wearing shoes with enough room to wiggle your toes and visiting your podiatrist regularly for foot care can reduce your risk of a painful bunion or provide prompt bunion treatment before the condition progresses.
Busting Myths About Foot Health
Your foot health plays an important role in your overall health. However, podiatrists warn that some common foot health beliefs are incorrect. Understanding which recommendations are actually good for your feet and which aren’t can help you avoid painful injuries or other conditions. If you aren’t sure whether something you’ve heard is really good for your feet, your foot and ankle specialist in Sugarland can provide a professional opinion.
Myth: High Heels Are Bad—Go Barefoot
While it’s true that high heels are bad for your feet—leading to painful bunions that may require bunion surgery to address—going barefoot can also cause foot problems. Walking barefoot can lead to cuts, abrasions, and fungus on the feet, all of which can worsen without treatment from a foot specialist. Especially if you suffer from diabetes and a loss of feeling in your feet, it’s essential to wear shoes at all times, even while at home, to prevent injuring your feet.
Myth: Sunscreen Isn’t Necessary On Your Feet
While many people meticulously coat their faces and shoulders with sunscreen, the legs, ankles, and feet are often ignored. However, skin cancer can still develop on these areas—in fact, it’s more likely because the skin of your feet and legs isn’t getting the same protection as your upper body. Always apply sunscreen to your feet when swimming or at the beach, and check your skin once a month for changes. If you notice any skin changes that concern you, schedule a visit with your podiatrist.
Myth: Salon Pedicures Are Always Safe
While a salon pedicure is a wonderful treat, bacteria and fungus can be transferred to your feet through dirty instruments and basins. You can reduce your risk for infections by bringing your own instruments and asking the nail technician to use them. Request a clean bowl or basin before soaking your feet, preferably one with a disposable liner.
Knowing the truth about foot care can help you protect your feet and your health. Healthy feet will serve you well, allowing you to enjoy the activities you love for life!
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