What is Athlete’s Foot and how can it be treated?

Athlete’s Foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects about 12% of the population. Contrary to its name, Athlete’s Foot can strike anyone. It is common in both adults and children.

Athlete’s Foot may appear on any part of the foot but is most common between the toes (especially between the 4th and 5th toes) and on the bottom of the foot.  The skin can appear to look moist or dry with redness, scaling, and blisters.  The skin can also become very itchy and in some cases cause burning.  The skin can also have a shine to it underneath the dryness or moisture.  Athlete’s foot can affect one or both feet.  It can start on one foot and easily spread to the other if not contained.  Those who are susceptible to athlete’s foot often have recurring episodes.

What you can do:
It is important to wash and dry your feet thoroughly on a daily basis.  Once you have dried your feet you can apply some foot power to help absorb moisture.  There are over-the-counter anti-fungal medications that are effective when used according to the manufactures’ instructions.  If these products fail to work, there are prescription anti-fungal medications that can be prescribed by your foot specialist.

It is important to wear shoes that are made out of natural materials such as leather or canvas.  This allows moisture to escape from the shoes.  Running shoes with a mesh upper also help the foot breath better.  Wearing socks made out of cotton or bamboo also helps to absorb moisture from the feet.

Changing shoes and socks regularly helps to prevent athlete’s foot.   Spraying the inside of the shoes with an anti-fungal spray will help to get rid of fungus inside the shoe and prevent the spread from the shoes on to the skin.  Lastly, avoid walking barefoot in public places.  Keeping your feet protected will reduce the risk of contracting athlete’s foot.

If you have any further questions regarding athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.

Can a Chiropodist help with arthritis in the feet?

There is a lot of information out there about arthritis and its causes but what about treatment options? Utilizing painkillers to deal with arthritis can be a part of the treatment but doesn’t address the main problems that cause pain as a result of arthritis.

There are two major types of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a result of slowly decreasing amount of cartilage in joints and is more common in athletes or as people age.

The second type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. That means the body is mistaking healthy tissues for external threats and attacking itself, which can break down joints over time and eventually cause joints to start to change shape and become deformed. This often affects the feet and toes, causing painful rubbing of the toes and in some cases overlapping of the toes. The stress of walking with rheumatoid arthritis can cause calluses, painful corns or infection of the feet but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Customized orthotics can be created to help alleviate the stress put on the joints of the feet. Toe spacers and props can help and custom shoes go a long way to make certain conditions more comfortable.  Laser treatment is also available to help reduce inflammation of the joints and to help increase range of motion in the joint if possible.

A Chiropodist can also recommend exercises that will help take pressure off specific points that are causing pain.  These exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home.

For more information on how to manage with arthritis in your feet please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton or visit www.ontariofoot.ca.

How can diabetes affect the feet?

With diabetes, the whole body is affected, including the feet. As diabetes affects blood circulation and increases nerve sensitivity, feet are particularly prone to problems. It is very important for diabetics to clean their feet daily, to do a daily foot check and to have them checked regularly by a chiropodist, even though there may not be any problems obvious to you. For example, some signs to watch out for and to act upon are itchiness, redness, bruising, burning, blisters, coolness, roughened areas, lack of sensitivity to temperature and of course any pain in the feet.

There are many complications that can arise due to diabetes.  One of the complications that can lead to foot problems for people with diabetes is peripheral or diabetic neuropathy.  This type of neuropathy causes nerve damage in the feet causing you to lose feeling in your feet or may cause a burning or tingling sensation.  When this occurs, you start to lose sensation and you are not able to feel things like a pebble in your shoes or socks, a blister caused by poor fitting shoes, changes in temperature, etc.   These injuries can lead to ulcers that can eventually lead to amputation.

All people with diabetes are at risk for foot problems.  Certain warning signs can put one at a higher risk for developing ulcers (foot sores).  These signs include calluses or corns, numbness or tingling in the feet, loss of feeling in your feet, poor circulation in your legs or feet, foot deformity such as bunions and hammer toes, etc. It is also important to check your blood sugars daily and have your hemoglobin A1c monitored by your physician.  Normal blood sugar values should be between 4-6 mmol/L and hemoglobin A1c should be kept under 7.

If you are diabetic, visit Ontario Foot and Orthoitcs for a full diabetic screen and for any questions you may having regarding diabetes and your feet.  To arrange an assessment, contact Ontario Foot & Orthotics at one of our two locations: 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. You can also visit us at www.ontariofoot.ca.