Our Houston podiatrist office is proud to offer many important services for our patients. We provide effective treatment for heel pain, arthritic conditions, and toe deformities. If you need a diabetic foot care plan, come and see us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Those are all essential parts of foot care, but there’s an area we haven’t even touched on yet – caring for the skin on your feet.
Some people are too quick to dismiss skin problems as being merely superficial concerns, but it can be a mistake to leave these unaddressed. Sure, they may be able to take away from your quality of life—which is certainly an important consideration—but there are other reasons you need to have certain skin problems treated by a professional.
One reason is the simple fact that most skin conditions will not improve on their own. In fact, an untreated case of athlete’s foot, for example, will continue to spread across the foot. Another reason to have skin conditions treated is if diabetes is in your health picture.
Diabetes can take away your ability to feel pain and other sensations that let you know an issue is present. This is important to know because untreated skin conditions can break down and become dangerous diabetic foot ulcers. Impaired immune and circulatory systems take away your body’s ability to fight back against infection, which means foot ulcers can become gangrenous and increase your risk of amputation (or even threaten your life!).
We want you to stay safe and healthy, and have the quality of life you deserve. To do so, you can keep skin problems from becoming a concern by taking the following measures:
- Wash your feet daily. Keeping your feet and toes clean by washing them every day with soap and warm—not hot if you have diabetes!—water is a good practice for reducing your risk of bacterial or fungal infections. For optimal skin protection, you may want to use an antibacterial soap. If you do, be sure to pick one that isn’t harsh and could dry out your skin.
- Keep your feet from being too wet… Microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) thrive in warm, damp environments. Further, they do not require a lot of sunlight to survive. The reason we are mentioning all of that is because feet use hundreds of thousand sweat glands to keep the skin moist and as cool as possible (when they are encased in socks and shoes). As such, the conditions can be ripe for a bacterial or fungal infection, especially one that starts between the toes. Keep feet dry with moisture-wicking socks, breathable shoes, and by drying feet completely after your bath or shower.
- And too dry! Moisture can obviously be bad, but excessive dryness is also a problem. (Yes, it’s a bit of a delicate balance.) Overly dry feet callus easily and can become cracked or fissured. Sure, this might not seem like a big concern, but these cracks are painful and increase the risk of infection (since they provide a pathway into the body).
- Protect your feet. The bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause infections are sometimes picked up in places where people often walk barefoot – like gym locker rooms, communal showering areas, and indoor pool decks. You can protect your feet by wearing clean sandals or shower shoes.
- Wear shoes that fit. Properly-fitting shoes—ones that are neither too tight nor too loose—prevent skin problems like blisters, corns, and calluses.
These are all great tactics to keep feet safe from various skin conditions. Sometimes, however, you will need professional care. When you do, remember that our team at Parker Foot & Ankle is here for you!
Call us today at (281) 497-2850 for more information or to request your appointment with our Houston office.