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Why does my toe hurt?

There are several reasons why your toe may be painful. The important thing to do is not ignore it, especially if the pain is accompanied with redness and swelling. Keep reading to find out what your next steps should be to find out the culprit to your pain.

  1. Ingrown toenail

An ingrown toenail is when the sides of your toenail grow into the surrounding skin. Once the nail pierces the skin, your body reacts by creating an inflammatory response to this, which leads to redness, swelling, warmth, and pain in the area. The longer the toe is left in this condition, the higher the risk of infection. How can you tell if you have an infection? The signs of an infection are somewhat similar to those of the body’s natural inflammatory response to a cut or wound, but greater in a sense. For instance, an infected ingrown toenail will increase in redness, swelling, pain, and warmth in addition to being accompanied by any of the following: a foul odor, maceration (moisture), pus (cloudy, creamy liquid), blood.

To find out more about ingrown toenails, such as what causes them and how they can be managed, click the link here

  1. Paronychia

Paronychia is the medical term to describe an infection of the hand or the foot at the location where the skin meets the nail, either on the sides of the nail or along its base. This infection can be bacterial or fungal in nature and is usually the result of damage to the skin (via biting or picking or any other physical trauma). Excessive and chronic moisture can also make the skin more vulnerable to these infections.

Similar to an ingrown toenail, paronychia will also present as a red, swollen, warm, and tender digit.

  1. Tinea Pedis

Although Tinea pedis also known as Athlete’s Foot, usually presents as itchy, dry, and flaky skin on the bottom of the foot, it can also be localized between the digits or along the sides of a single or multiple digit(s). Sometimes, Tinea Pedis features a cluster of small red vesicles, along a digit and may spread to adjacent digits. When left untreated, the toe may become red, swollen, and tender to the touch.

If you have a red, swollen, painful toe, regardless of the cause, book an appointment with a chiropodist today! Your chiropodist will be able to determine the cause of your pain and provide the necessary treatments to get you back on the path to good foot health. All the above conditions require medical attention, including a prescription for an oral or topical antibiotic or anti-fungal. In the meantime, as you wait for your appointment, try soaking your feet in a salt water bath for 5-10 minutes.

When you’re not soaking your feet, practice good hygiene and keep your feet clean and dry. Wear a new pair of clean socks everyday and let your feet breathe at home. Most microorganisms thrive in moist, dark environments.

Are Your Shoes Too Small? Here Are the Warning Signs

A “bad fit” doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to slip the shoe onto your foot. It could mean that the toe box is too close to the tips of your toes, the heel notch is digging into your skin, or the top is pressing into the bridge of the foot. If you don’t notice these discomforts, here are some warning signs that your shoes are too small:

Blisters

Unless they are caused by a sunburn, an infection or an allergy, foot blisters are caused by friction from the shoe material repeatedly rubbing against your skin. If you’ve noticed the fluid-filled pockets appearing on your feet, your shoes are probably too small.  

Bruised Toenails

Toenail bruises come from impact. The impact could be stubbing your toe on a step. Or the impact could be knocking your toenails on the edge of the toe box over and over — this is why runners often have bruised toenails.

The blood trapped under the nail makes it change colour. The nail goes from red to brown to purple and then black. It will stay that colour until it grows out after 6 to 9 months or until the nail falls off.

Hot Foot

You may recognize a sensation commonly called hot foot, where your feet are incredibly hot after going for a walk or finishing a workout. Friction from too-tight shoes will make your feet swell and feel like they’re burning.

 

Calluses

A foot callus is a rough and dry patch of skin on the sole. When the area is dealing with too much friction or pressure, the skin thickens and develops a callus.

Normally, you can try to get rid of your callus by doing a foot soak and removing the dry skin with a callus shaver. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, you should make an appointment with a chiropodist for foot callus removal because you don’t want to risk a foot infection.

Corns

Corns are similar to calluses. They are hardened, raised bumps that form because of too much friction or pressure on the area. They tend to appear on top or between toes. They can be painful to the touch. You can make an appointment with the experts at Feet First clinic to undergo a safe and effective corn removal procedure.

If your shoes don’t fit properly, you shouldn’t wear them. You should get a new pair of shoes as soon as possible. When you’re buying a replacement pair, you should follow these steps to guarantee a proper shoe fit:

  • Have your feet measured to determine the accurate size.
  • Try on the shoe with the laces tied up.
  • Walk around in the shoes to test if your heel slips, your toes hit the toe box or the material pinches.

Consider getting custom orthotics to give your feet additional comfort and support. These specialized accessories will help counteract the effects of standing all day and walking all day, like soreness, calluses and corns.

Whatever you do, don’t ascribe to the mentality of breaking in your shoes. The method is reserved for leather dress shoes, which can be stretched to prevent any aches and pains. It was never meant for running shoes, sneakers or sandals.

If your shoe doesn’t fit properly in the store, it won’t fit when you get home. Don’t bear through discomfort in hopes that your footwear will eventually mold to your feet. Getting the right size and fit should be your number one priority.

 

3 Toenail Problems That We Can Help you With

You’ve pulled off your sock and noticed that something is wrong with your big toe. Maybe it’s swollen and sends a sharp twinge up your foot with each step, or maybe the nail has changed from its normal clear shade into a completely different colour. There’s no need to panic. Read this brief list of common toenail problems, and what steps you should take to resolve them.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail is when the side of the toenail cuts into the nailbed and causes the area to become swollen and painful. Sometimes the weight of a bedsheet or a sock will be too much to handle. Common causes of ingrown toenails are inadequate footwear, ill-fitting socks and cutting the nails too short.

 

For an at-home treatment, you can soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt to reduce inflammation. Keep the affected area clean and place antibiotic cream over it to fight off infection. When appropriate, wear open-toed sandals to avoid putting pressure on the area. These steps could be enough to resolve the issue.

 

If you have diabetes or circulation problems, you should contact licensed chiropodists in Toronto to take care of your ingrown immediately because the area will be vulnerable to infection. Ignoring the toenail problem or trying to fix it on your own could put your health at risk. At Feet First Clinic, you can get your nail treated safely.

 

Common signs of this problem are hardened brittle nails, build-up beneath the surface, and discoloration (usually white or yellow). You can catch a toenail fungal infection from walking around barefoot in public areas with lots of moisture like swimming pools, locker rooms and gym showers. People who are elderly, who have diabetes or who have weakened immune systems will be more susceptible to fungal nail infection.   

 

You should schedule a nail fungus treatment appointment with a chiropodist when you spot any of the symptoms. Since there are different types of fungi, you will want to get a professional opinion before you try to get rid of your own.  

 

Bruised Toenails

When shoes are too small, the toes hit the edge of the toe box over and over again, resulting in black toenails that never seem to go away. Make sure that there is enough space for your toes to wiggle in the toe box.

If you’re a runner or jogger, you’ll also notice that you get black toenails whenever you’re stepping up your training for endurance goals like half-marathons and full marathons. The repetitive friction from running will hurt your toenails.

When you notice a black toenail, soak your feet in a bath of warm water and Epsom salt. If your shoes don’t fit, get a new pair that offers enough room and support. The best way to heal a bruised toenail is to give it time to recover.

If the nail falls off, try to keep the area clean and see your doctor right away. Whatever you do, do not remove the nail on your own.

Sometimes you can’t fix a toenail problem on your own. Trying to DIY your treatment could accidentally cause more damage and expose yourself to harmful bacteria. When Epsom salt soaks and rest can’t fix the issue, seeking help from a professional is your best bet for a cure.

 

 

Foot Pain is Real: Benefits of Visiting a Chiropodist

As silly as it sounds, we don’t tend to think about our feet and their health simply because they are the farthest body part from our eyes. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind”. However, foot pain, whether you are experiencing pain at the nails, skin, heel, or ball of your foot, should not be ignored. Your foot health is an integral determinant of the quality of your life. Just think about how many steps you take in a day and how much your life would change if your feet were compromised. Pain is a good indicator that something is not normal and should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further complications down the road.

A Registered Chiropodist is a primary health care professional who specializes in the assessment, management, and prevention of dysfunctions, disorders, and diseases of the foot. Here are a few benefits of visiting a chiropodist for a foot check.

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Checking for nail abnormalities

Your toenails are much more susceptible to changes and infections than your fingernails, mainly due to their vulnerability to damage or trauma. Toenails can become thickened, discoloured, curved, and painful. If you start noticing these changes, book an appointment with your local foot specialist to help safely manage these changes and determine the cause, ruling out fungus or an ingrown toenail.

Checking for skin disorders

For the most part, your feet spend a lot of time in a closed space either in a pair of shoes or a pair of socks. If you exercise regularly or if your feet are naturally sweaty, this introduces another factor: moisture. All these things increase the chance of getting Athlete’s foot or a plantar wart. Hard callus and deep corns can also cause pain and can easily be treated.

Correcting foot function

If you have foot pain, the chances are, the underlying cause is due to how your foot moves through your gait. With time, these abnormal movements can cause strain and sometimes even permanent damages in the soft tissues and joints. Addressing the issue sooner than later through proper footwear advice, stretches, taping, and/or custom foot orthotics, will work out to your benefit.

A foot specialist knows the ins and outs of foot health and is able to treat a very wide spectrum of foot problems with various treatment options. Get your feet on the path of good health today. Call Feet First Clinic to book an appointment with one of our Registered Chiropodists.

What Do Your Toenails Say About Your Health?

Most people don’t think to look at their toes but it may be a good idea to start paying attention! Read below to find out how your toenails can change and what these changes may be indicating.

 

Thickened Nails

Abnormally thickened nails, also called onychauxis, is caused by trauma or repetitive microtrauma to the cells at the base of the nail. This thickening is irreversible, however easily managed by regular visits to your local Chiropodist, who has special tools to reduce the nail’s thickness and remove pressure and pain to the area.

Yellow, Crumbly Nails

Typically, toenails that are discoloured, crumbly, and are accompanied with a significant amount of debris under the nail can be indicative of a fungal infection. This infection is actually in the nail bed (the skin underneath the nail) and is most commonly caused by trauma to the area. Treatment for this may include a prescription for an oral or topical antifungal.

Curved Nails

Curved nails, usually caused by tight footwear or due to genetics, can be difficult to cut on your own. They also have a tendency to become ingrown toenails if cut too short. An ingrown toenail is when the nail pierces the skin causing pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes even a localized infection.

Ridged Nails

Brittle nails with superficial ridges are often initiated by rheumatoid arthritis or peripheral vascular disorders.

Terry’s Half and Half

This nail presents as half white and half dark in colour. The white portion is related to anemia and this nail presentation generally implies either renal or liver disease. If there is a brown band just before the free edge of the nail, the condition is renal in nature.

Hippocratic Nails

Hippocratic nails, also known as clubbed nails, is when the nails start to grow curved, resembling the shape of an upside-down spoon. These nails are associated with chronic lung disease, heart disease, thyroid disease, liver issues, and digestive tract problems.

Spoon Shaped Nails

As the name suggest, this is when the nail resembles the shape of a spoon and becomes concave. Spoon shaped nails are associated with iron deficiency anemia.

Black Nails

Black toenails can be indicative of a number of things. In some cases, it can simply be due to trauma causing bleeding and consequently a bruise under the nail. In other cases, the dark pigmentation in the nail can be the result of a malignant melanoma. Malignant melanomas are suspected when a mole underneath the nail increases in size or elevation, becomes inflamed, bleeds following minor trauma, or if the pigmentation spreads into the surrounding skin around the nail.

 

If you notice any changes to your toenails, before diagnosing yourself, let a Registered Chiropodist examine your feet to determine what is really going on and what treatment options there are to help.

Self Test: Do You Have A Common Foot Condition?

When it comes to common foot problems, it’s not just the classic sources of pain – plantar fasciitis, athlete’s foot or shin splints – that can persist, over and over. Have you ever experienced a black toenail? Or a toenail that fell off? It’s more common than you may have originally thought.

Black toenails especially when exercise-induced are often rooted in the blistering, bleeding or bruising underneath your toenail(s) and can be attributed to a number of factors. Sometimes, the discolouring is localized to one area of the nail, and the bleeding is minor, while other times, the entire toenail is discoloured. In the latter case, it’s not uncommon for the nail, now dead, to fall off, with a new one eventually to take its place, which can take several months.

Yes, black toenails can hurt. Yes, they look rather unsettling. And yes, they can happen. So, here’s what to know about – and what to do when you get – black toenails and how to prevent them from happening again.

Repeated use

First, repetitive trauma can result in black toenails. In other words, repeated friction or rubbing of the area can lead to blisters forming underneath the toenail. Often, ill-fitting shoes are the cause of this, due to either reduced or excess area in the toe box. Alternatively, moisture on your feet and in the shoes can cause excessive movement meaning additional friction is occurring. This can be from running, or even walking, especially if you have a high daily step count. Runners are particularly susceptible to getting black toenails, especially those who run longer distances and train for marathons and ultra marathons due to higher volume and increased intensity, because of the forward pressure applied to the feet on impact and takeoff.

Alternatively, the underlying problem may not be your shoes at all. The fit of the shoe could be fine, but rather the excessive pressure is caused by other variables. What about socks? The thicker the socks, the more moisture they’re going to absorb, and the less room your feet will have in shoes, increasing the likelihood of friction between your toes and the shoe’s outer material and toe box. All major sportswear brands manufacture moisture-wicking socks since the socks are performance-based.

Or, it may be the way you tie your shoelaces, which may cause undue stress on certain parts of your foot. Different lacing techniques include diagonal lacing, loop lacing, cross-over lacing, skip lacing, speed lacing and extra eyelet lacing, all of which serve different purposes and vary in pressure across the foot. In case you’re unsure of the size, or type, of shoe to buy, come visit us in-person.

Keeping your toenails clipped to a safe-but-not-too-short length (which in and of itself can be a problem if your nails are trimmed improperly, or too short), dry and clean can also help reduce the frequency of blisters and ultimately black toenails. For more tips and an in-person consultation, visit a foot specialist at Toronto’s Feet First Clinic.

One-time trauma

Second, there’s one-time impact, which can be from something as simple as dropping an object on your foot. Blood vessels can break, causing bleeding underneath your toe, thus turning your toenail black. This is referred to as subungual hematoma.

Fortunately, if the underlying problem is from one of the above two scenarios, time will allow for the toenail to grow out, and you can clip them every so often and take a fraction off the nail each time. Eventually, the blackened portion of the toenail will be reduced, until the area returns to pre-existing condition. Generally, one-time trauma (if minor) and repetitive use do not require medical attention, unless you want to drain the blood pooled underneath the toenail, then it’s best for a chiropodist to do so. This is to relieve the pressure between the nail and the underlying area. (Some decide to drain the blood at home, but you should proceed with caution when draining blood from beneath the nail. Others recommend using a tiny drill-bit, if you feel so inclined to take matters into your own hands. If you do end up draining the blood yourself, ensure the sharp object is sterile.)

 

Red Nail Polish On Foot

 

In general, it’s recommended that you limit the amount of nail polish you apply to the toenail, even if you want to cover up the discolouring, because it limits the breathing the nail can do. Toenail condition can deteriorate quickly if it’s not given the proper treatment, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re concerned about the aesthetic. (Oddly enough, some runners consider black toenails as a sort of right of passage, given that it may mean they’re training harder than they ever have before.)

However, if the trauma is serious enough, the toenail may fall off entirely. Reminder: toenails take weeks, not days, to grow back. If there’s no bleeding involved, it’s safe to leave it be. If the toenail is only partially off, clip it down so it doesn’t get caught on a sock, and ripped off. Be patient and let your body run its course.

In any case which the pain increases, there is excessive bleeding or signs of infection, seek medical treatment from a professional.

 

Other reasons

If the discolouring of your foot ranges from more than just black, as a result of trauma, then consult a medical professional and head to your doctor for treatment. A black toenail could also be a fungal infection, and can be treated with oral medication over a period of a few months.

 

To prevent exercise-induced black toenails, consider checking out Toronto’s Feet First Clinic.