Diabetic feet need special care because of decreased circulation, neuropathy, joint deterioration, and more. While your primary care physician may guide you on blood sugar control, medications, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle, your podiatrist assesses and treats how your feet and ankles function everyday and for the long term. Enlist their help in the health maintenance of your diabetic feet.
Keeping ahead of neuropathy and avoiding amputation
Those are two key goals of diabetic foot care. Your podiatrist will want to see you regularly to assess the color, temperature, sensation, function, and shape of your feet and ankles, noting any developing problems. Early detection of circulation issues, nerve degeneration (neuropathy), and deformities, such as hammertoes, bunions, and Charcot Foot, are key.
Your podiatric foot examination will include an eye-on inspection of your skin (color, temperature, texture, and integrity). Your foot doctor also may perform gait analysis to watch for changes in how you walk. Sometimes a podiatrist orders X-ray imaging or an MRI to view the internal structure of the foot and/or ankle.
Remember, that foot ulcers are the primary threat to the overall health and well-being of the diabetic, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Untreated, they may lead to complications so severe amputation is the only option.
What can you do to treat your diabetic feet?
- Be proactive. Inspect your feet daily, looking redness or skin breakdown.
- Wash and dry your feet daily.
- Trim your toenails carefully using a clean clippers. Trim straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown toenails.
- Wear shoes at all times--even indoors--to avoid injury.
- Wear clean, well-fitting, moisture-wicking socks.
- Keep your weight and blood sugars within normal range.
- Get in-office treatment of calluses and corns, says the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Avoid all forms of tobacco.
- Report any changes to your foot doctor as soon as possible.
- See your podiatrist every six months or as he or she directs.
Healthy feet and a healthy you
Podiatric health is so important, but especially to the diabetic. So stay in touch with your foot doctor, and be routinized in your foot care for better long-term health.
Toenail fungus can be incredibly difficult to treat at home, even if you apply over-the-counter products daily. Fortunately, laser treatments from your Burlington, VT, podiatrist, Dr. Michael Guerra can help clear your nails with less effort.
Why isn't home treatment helping?
Over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments only reach the outer layers of your toenails. The fungus can lurk deep inside nails and is often present on the skin under the nail. No matter how diligently you apply the product, it may never clear your nail.
How does laser treatment work?
Laser treatment targets the yellow pigment in toenail fungus. The energy from the light beam heats the pigment to help kill the fungal spores. The laser is aimed at only the fungus and doesn't damage any of the surrounding healthy skin.
Does laser nail fungus treatment hurt?
The laser that your Burlington foot doctor uses produces short bursts of laser energy to prevent your toe from becoming too hot. Although you'll notice that your toe feels a little warm or tingles when the laser beam is activated, treatment isn't uncomfortable in the least.
Will my toe look better immediately?
Over the course of 3-4 months a new clear nail will grow out replacing the old discolored nail.
How much downtime will I need?
There is absolutely no downtime needed with laser treatment. After you leave your foot doctor's office, you can go right back to work or continue your usual daily activities!
How can I avoid fungal infections in the future?
You can reduce your risk of developing a new infection by wearing shoes and sandals in locker rooms and other public areas. If someone in your family has toenail fungus, don't share towels, washcloths, shoes or socks. Wash shared bedding often and use the hot water wash cycle.
Fungi thrive in sweaty shoes and other dark, moist environments. Choose shoes made of breathable materials, and alternate the shoes you wear. If your feet perspire heavily, wash your feet and change your socks during the day.
Give us a call!
Are you interested in laser treatment for nail fungus? Call your Burlington, VT, podiatrist, Dr. Michael Guerra, at (802) 862-8666 to schedule an appointment!
A bunion is one of the most common foot deformities, often affecting the joint at the base of the big toe. Anyone can develop this painful condition but it most often occurs in women. A bunion affects the structure of the foot, causing the joint to become enlarged, which causes the big toe to lean inward towards the other toes. In some cases, the big toe even overlaps the toes. This deformed joint may often become red or swollen, especially when wearing certain shoes or after certain physical activities.
A bunion is a gradual deformity, which means that as soon as you begin to notice changes in the joint or you start to experience symptoms you should consult a podiatrist. While the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery this is usually the last treatment option. After all, a foot doctor can often create a treatment plan that will reduce pain and prevent the deformity from progressing without needing to turn to surgery.
The first course of treatment is usually more conservative. You may be able to manage your bunion pain and swelling by:
- Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs
- Icing the bunion for up to 15 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day
- Placing orthotics into your shoes to alleviate pressure on the joint (talk to your podiatrist about creating custom orthotics)
- Splinting or taping the foot to improve the structural alignment
- Wearing appropriate and supportive footwear that doesn’t put pressure on the toes or bunion
- Applying a bunion pad over the area to prevent a callus from forming while wearing shoes
- Avoiding certain activities and sports that could exacerbate your condition
For many people, these lifestyle changes and simple at-home treatment options are all that’s needed to reduce bunion pain and discomfort, and to prevent the problem from getting worse. Of course, if you find that at-home care isn’t providing you with relief, or if bunion pain is persistent or severe, then you should turn to a podiatrist for an evaluation. Not sure if you have a bunion or not? Call your foot doctor.
When should someone consider bunion surgery?
As we mentioned earlier, bunion surgery is considered a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted and they haven’t helped get your bunion symptoms under control. You may also want to consider getting bunion surgery if:
- Your bunion is large and makes it difficult to wear shoes
- Your bunion pain is severe and chronic
- You have trouble walking or moving around because of your bunion
- Your bunion is affecting your quality of life
It can take up to 6 months to fully recover from traditional bunion surgery so it’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your podiatrist to find the most effective method for getting your bunion symptoms under control.
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Heel pain
- Ankle sprains and fractures
- Foot fractures
- Sports-related injuries
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic foot care
- Fungal infections
- Ingrown toenails
- Heel spurs
Toenail fungus can become a serious foot condition if not diagnosed and taken care of immediately.
Toenail fungus is when toenail, fingernail, or even skin under a nail, is infected. Your South Burlington, VT, podiatrist can help!
Fungi, yeasts, or molds may result in toenail infection. Fungi thrive in warm, moist places, so try taking the following precautions:
Avoid using direct contact with public showers and pools, which are great places for fungi to thrive. Avoid using nail clippers used by someone who has a toenail fungus. Take proper care of nail injury, or fungus will infect the rest of the toe with ease.
The dangers of not properly caring for your feet and already-existing toe-nail fungus are:
- Widespread infection
- Spread of fungus
- Nail loss
- Foot pain
Be sure to look out for the darkened, yellow, or white toenail, thick or brittle nail, and nails split from the nail bed. They're indicators of a more severe issue.
Treatments in South Burlington, VT
There are at-home and prescribed treatments, depending on how bad the infection. Treatments include topical and oral anti-fungal treatments that can suppress infection and symptoms.
The FDA-approved laser beams over the infected nail. The pigmentation present in the fungi absorbs the laser's light which creates heat that kills organisms in the toenail.
There aren't any studies that indicate negative side effects to laser treatment for nail fungus; it doesn’t harm soft, healthy tissue near the infected nail bed. The laser treatment for nail fungus isn't painful, takes approximately 45 minutes, the toenail takes 6 to 9 months to show results, and you can walk out easily.
Fungal treatment shouldn't be difficult but, as mentioned before, if certain sever symptoms manifest, you need to contact your podiatrist. For more information or to schedule an appointment for laser treatment for nail fungus in South Burlington, VT, call your podiatrist at (802) 862-8666 today!
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