Do you have questions about foot care? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of foot pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about foot injuries and foot care. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to a doctor about your foot pain, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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Is athlete's foot caused by toenail fungus?
Athlete's foot and toenail fungus are caused by the same type of fungus: dermatophytes. While both are contagious, it is more likely for a toenail fungus to be caused by Athlete's foot, a fungal infection of the skin, than the other way around.
While toenail fungus is contagious, it is encapsulated beneath the nail. In essence, the toenail protects the surrounding tissue from the infection spreading. The opposite is not true. A fungal infection of the skin, Athlete's foot, can easily spread to the toenails. For this reason, it is vital to treat Athlete's foot until it is completely resolved
Is athlete's foot contagious?
Athlete's foot is contagious. In fact it is known as athlete's foot because it is often spread by walking barefoot on locker room floors. The fungus is resilient and can infest floors, showers, and carpeting. It is found in health clubs, YMCA's, pool decks, and hotels. Any high traffic public place is where you will find fungus.
Fungus is an opportunist, meaning it will infect if given the opportunity. Lucky for fungus, the opportunity is ever-present. The skin on the feet have a tendency to dry and crack. This provides an easy entrance for that fungus to infect. This is true whether the fungus is living in the shoe or if it from the floor of the gym locker room. By wearing protective footwear in such places, and keeping your feet moisturizer and healthy, you can drastically reduce the possibility of catching an Athlete's foot infection.
What causes athlete's foot?
Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is an infection of the skin of the foot. This infection is most commonly fungal, but a bacterial infection can also cause athletes foot to form. The fungus and bacteria normally live on our feet, but are opportunists. Unfortunately, we all to often give them the opportunity to infect.
One common cause of athlete's foot is moisture between the toes. This happens because of excessive perspiration, which is common here in Houston. It also happens when you don't dry well enough between your toes after you bathe. Athlete's foot can also affect the skin beneath the foot. This is primarily due to dry skin which can crack and allow the fungus to infect. Conditioning the skin with a good moisturizing cream is the best defense against developing this sort of fungus infection.
What is a soft corn?
A soft corn is when a corn forms between the toes. The bones in two adjacent toes push against one another. The pressure on the skin causes a corn to form. The corn is a plug of hard, dead skin between the toes. The pressure causes pain between the toes. The tissue can also become inflamed or infected beneath the corn.
The reason this corn is called a soft corn is because of the maceration that occurs between the toes due to perspiration and moisture. For the same reason, these corns are more susceptible to infection, due to the prevalence of bacteria between the toes. For this reason, and to make sure the pain is resolved quickly, you should contact Houston Podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for immediate treatment
Does a corn grow from a seed?
Unless in a garden or farm, corns do not grow from seeds. Joking aside, corns on feet do not grow from a seed or root. A corn is a thickening of skin in response to pressure. For instance, a shoe that is too narrow can press against a toe, resulting in pressure which causes the skin to react by thickening and forming a corn.
Many corns occur regardless of how "good" a shoe is. A bone in the toe is often causing pressure internally. This could be from arthritis, bone spurs, or a contracture of the joint known as a hammertoe. The pressure from the bone also forms the conical area of hard, dead skin called a corn. Treatment for this includes padding and wearing shoes with more room inside. Surgery to remove the pressure from the bone is often the best definitive treatment for a persistent corn.
Can you stop a corn from coming back by getting the root?
A misconception of the treatment of a corn is that if you get the "root" or "seed" out, the corn will not return. This is absolutely untrue. A corn is indeed conical in shape, widest at top and narrow at the bottom, which gives the appearance of a root being present. The corn does not grow from the root, however, but responds to the degree of pressure on it. The most narrow or defined area will be closest to the cause of the pressure, the bone. It widens as it reaches the surface of the skin.
Removing the corn, no matter how deep, will only treat the pain that you are currently feeling. The pressure that causes the corn remains and will likely cause the corn to eventually return. To prevent a corn from returning, something that causes the pressure must change. That often means changing your shoes to those that better accommodates the foot and reduces pressure on the bone. Also, the bone that is causing the corn to form can be addressed with foot surgery. This would most definitively treat and eliminate the corn.
Why does my callus keep coming back?
A callus forms due to areas of high pressure beneath the foot. While a callus may be removed by a Houston podiatrist, the pressure that initially formed the callus remains. Unless the pressures of walking are changed, the callus will return.
The pressure created by walking that causes the callus to form can be changed in two ways. A custom orthotic is an insole that addresses the mechanics of the foot and ankle. In doing so, the pressure that causes the callus to form may be changed and cause the callus to lessen or resolve. Another way to redistribute the pressures that cause a callus is the use of a foot pad. A pad made from felt or gel works best to alleviate the pressure that causes the callus to form.
What's the difference between a corn and a callus?
A corn and a callus both are an area of thickened, dead skin corresponding to areas of pressure on the foot. While they are composed of the same material, they are indeed two different things.
A callus is found on the bottom of the foot. It is generally superficial and doesn't often cause pain. It occurs from the twisting, shear forces of the foot on the ground. The skin thickens with callus to add protection to these forces. You may feel some numbness in the area of the callus. Occasionally a callus is painful, feeling like their are pebbles embedded in it. This happens if callus tissue fills up pores and sweat glands on the sole of the foot.
A corn is caused by a more direct source of pressure. It is smaller in breadth but often goes deeper, which causes a corn to be particularly painful. Corns are often found on top of the toes. They also can occur between the toes, where they're known as soft corns. A corn can also be found beneath the foot, usually in instances where the natural fat pad has worn away. This is quite painful and should be taken care of by a podiatrist in Houston, TX.
Can you do anything for a broken toe?
There is a great misconception that there is nothing to do for a broken toe. This probably started because broken toes are not casted like other broken bones are. There are very good reasons, however, as to why an injured toe be examined by a podiatrist in Houston.
It is important to ensure that a broken toe is in good position. If left to heal in an incorrect position, the toe will heal in a way that may cause pain in the future. You may have ongoing trouble with shoes and could develop a painful corn between the toes. If the toe is not in a suitable position, your Houston podiatrist will discuss how to get it corrected. Don't worry, surgery for a broken toe is rarely necessary.
If the broken toe is in good position, Dr. Andrew Schneider will discuss with you what you must do to keep it that way and ensure that the toe continues to heal properly.
Do I need to wear a special shoe for my broken toe?
A broken toe can be very painful. Depending on where the toe is broken, which toe is broken, if it is in a good position, and how stable the bones appear are all factors as to whether a surgical shoe must be worn. This special shoe, if necessary, will allow you to bear weight in the foot while providing a stable sole which prevents excessive motion. There are times, however, where you can continue to wear your regular shoes. If this is the case, a low heeled or tennis shoe is preferred.
If the great toe is broken, your Houston Podiatrist may treat it differently. Because of the amount of pressure that the great toe must bear, it may be necessary to wear a surgical shoe, or even a fracture walking boot, to ensure it heals properly. The key to properly treating a broken toe is to get it evaluated as soon as possible.