Toenails can be very difficult to maintain for some people. This can be due to a lack of mobility or because the shape or thickness of the nails are too difficult to cut. Nail treatment involves simply reducing the length of the nails, and also the thickness (if required). Some toenails are excessively curved or “involuted” – this can cause pain on the side of the nail and care needs to be taken to ensure that the nail is not “ingrown”.
Many of us will experience small amounts of callous with no issues at all. However some of these otherwise harmless areas can lead to discomfort and pain. If callous is left for too long, it can occasionally develop in to a painful corn. If cracked heels are neglected, they can become deep, painful and expose you to infections. At All About Podiatry we will manage these issues and provide you with some advice on how you could possibly maintain happy feet for longer.
Podiatrists manage many aches and pains associated with the feet and legs. A biomechanical assessment is performed after a thorough history is taken. It involves testing joints and muscles, as well as assessing how people walk (gait analysis), their footwear and their activity. This is required for many athletes, people who work on their feet and people who find discomfort with short amounts of walking.
The aim of a biomechanical assessment is to not only identify the problematic area and provide a diagnosis, but to assess and explain the factors that are contributing to the issue. This is imperative when deciding the best way to manage each case, as some people will require different management depending on the different factors identified. This allows people to get back on their feet and back to achieving their day-day tasks or activity.
Orthotics are commonly utilised by podiatrists to address biomechanical issues that may be contributing to discomfort or injury; or as a preventative measure in those people that are deemed at risk. The level and point of support will be carefully decided by your podiatrist and tailored to your foot and specific case. Orthotics can be made from a variety of materials (firm or soft) to ensure patient comfort and support when wearing their devices.
There are many types of devices; pre-fabricated (over the counter), semi customised and fully customised. All styles are very useful clinically, and your podiatrist will discuss which options are viable for your case (if orthotics are considered an appropriate intervention).
Flat feet in children is a very common concern for parents. Many parents will seek the opinion of a podiatrist to ensure their child is going through ‘normal’ development; or if their child is experiencing pain, or is clumsy and not keeping up with their peers. Children also commonly present with pain through many areas of the foot and ankle that your podiatrist can assess, advise and manage.
In the common case of ‘flat feet’, a podiatrist will decipher whether a child will require intervention or whether it is a case of ‘normal’ development.
A very common yet painful issue podiatrists manage is ingrown toenails. They can come about for many different reasons and can commonly be removed with minimal or no discomfort by your podiatrist.
In some circumstances, the offending nail edge may cut in to the skin and cause infection. If the offending border is buried too deep, or the shape of the nail is too curved, a small procedure under local anaesthetic may be recommended. This will involve the removal of the offending nail edge and using a chemical that will cauterise the nail ‘root’ and not allow the segment of offending nail to grow back.
People are able to walk after surgery and the days after – it is advised that you do not perform high demand activity for a few days until the area heals.
Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease that has many negative affects on the body. Generally, the feet are one of the first areas of the body to present with issues as they are so far away from the body, and take a large amount of pressure all day every day.
Diabetes chiefly affects the nerves and blood vessels of people’s feet. If someone does not monitor and control their blood sugar levels over a period of time, they can potentially lose sensation in their feet, and blood supply can deteriorate. The combination of the two can be catastrophic as some people won’t feel a wound developing, and won’t manage it correctly. The lack of blood supply to the area reduces the ability to heal and fight infection. If not noticed for a period of time, the wound can become seriously infected and may deepen to the level of bone (sometimes resulting in amputation).
Annual diabetes foot checks are vital, and education from your podiatrist will be provided. This will provide important information on your foot status, and what needs to be done to prevent serious issues. At All About Podiatry, thorough testing is performed and explained to you. All findings are then put in to a report and sent to your GP for appraisal and record.
Neuromuscular dry needling is similar to acupuncture however it involves deeper structures and muscles; it is a common method used for treatment of soft tissue. Dry needling involves the use of a very fine needling that is relatively painless but may sting slightly.
When dry needling is performed, it will cause an increased blood flow to the area, and will also reduce tension through myofascial trigger points (commonly referred to as ‘knots’). This will allow a muscle to lengthen and contract more efficiently and allow rehabilitation. This will generally result in a reduction in chronic discomfort.
Neuromuscular dry needling can be used for a range of problems. In Podiatry it is used for the treatment and management of the lower limb and foot. Needling can be used as an adjunctive therapy (in conjunction with footwear, orthotics, physical therapy etc.) or as an exclusive treatment approach.
Some specific issues that can be addressed with neuromuscular dry needling are (but are not limited to):
· Shin Splints
· Tight calves
· Pain and tension through tendons and muscle bellies of the legs and feet