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Chilblains

It’s that time of year when the weather turns cold that we see more of these on feet.

Some people are more prone to these than others and indeed suffer from them in milder conditions too.

The cause is blood moving away from the extremities towards the organs in the body as these are more important to keep at an ideal temperature.

If the chill remains for too long then blood vessels are damaged and less able to contract and expand.

If warming occurs too quickly, the sudden burst of blood can also damage vessels and feel painful.

Recommended are double layers of socks, (silk as a first layer to insulate then wool over the top).  Plastizote insoles are helpful.  Balmosa cream is good on skin which is not broken and can help keep the area warm. A good waterproof pair of shoes with thick soles is also a good idea if you are going to be outdoors.

 

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CORNS

There are 3 types of corn found on the foot; hard, soft and seed

Hard corns,  (heloma durum).  These are found in pressure areas and boney prominences.  These are painful and can feel like you are walking on a small stone.  There is no ‘root’ but the corn is hard skin in a conical shape.  Podiatrists can remove these with a scalpel blade and they can be reduced in forming by filing them down and using a good emolient.

Soft corns, (heloma molle).  These are found in-between toes and are caused by the adjacent toe bone rubbing against the soft area of the other toe.  These can be painful and are difficult to prevent although wearing wider shoes can help. Podiatrists can reduce this type of corn by using a scalpel blade.

Seed corns, (heloma mille).  These are found on the bottom of the foot, generally in the heel area.  These are caused by friction and shearing forces in the foot.  Often these are not painful but if they are, the Podiatrist can remove these using a scalpel blade.  These can be helped by using a good emolient.

The picture below shows a toe which had a corn removed from under the corner of the nail.  This was a high pressure area and causing a great deal of discomfort.  The corn was successfully removed and a small slice of nail taken away to give longer-term relief.

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Orthotics & Insoles

We sometimes call Orthotics insoles

We describe excessive Pronation as when the foot rolls inwards too much.  You are likely to see this in a ‘flat foot’ (pes planus).

We describe excessive Supination as when the foot rolls outwards too much. You are likely to see this in a ‘high arch’ (pes cavus) foot.

Orthotics are used in feet that are painful or not moving in the way that they should. They are also used in flat feet or high-arched feet when that condition is causing a problem.

The orthotic or insole is adjusted for each individual.

The theory is that due to the angles placed on the insole, when the foot hits the ground, the forces acting on the foot will act in a different direction so that the foot will have better mechanical function.

A range of orthotics is offered to provide different levels of ‘correction’

 

 

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Nail Surgery

Nail surgery is what we do for ingrowing toe nails or for very damaged nails.

For ingrowing nails, we remove the side section which is causing the pain.

For damaged nails often we will remove the whole nail.

 The procedure involves local anaesthetic, similar to the dentist, we make the area numb which allows us to remove the problem without pain. We apply a chemical that stops the nail from growing again.

A dressing is applied and a follow up appointment is booked usually 2 days post surgery.

You will be given instructions on how to care for your wound.

Typically, the toe will no longer require a dressing after about 5 or 6 weeks. Dressings after the initial dressing are a simple plaster.

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Cracked Heels

Cracked heels can be very painful and are also unsightly.

These are caused by dry skin and can be caused by footwear such as flip-flops which constantly slap against the heel area.

When the heel is cracked, it can bleed and become an area where bacteria can enter the blood system.

It is important to file the area and apply emolient daily.

If the heels have got very bad, a Podiatrist/Chiropodist can help reduce the hard skin and cracks and advise you on the best way to keep your feet looking and feeling great.