This is the One TV Show I DON'T Want You to Star In

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Hey guys, if you haven't already visited the blog this year (or this decade!) I want to personally welcome you to the first full week of 2020. I'm hoping all of you will walk comfortably this year. And, if you don't, please go see your podiatrist as soon as possible so your foot problems don't get worse...and, while we're on that subject, I have a super-important question. Who else watched the new TLC show, "My Feet are Killing Me?

The network is billing the show as the newest gross-out viewing for those of you who loved watching Dr. Pimple Popper perform procedures like this one.  

And, I have to say: the first episode, which premiered last week, certainly delivered. Especially on the early warning that viewer discretion is advised!!! While the whole episode was a study in grossology, the patients who really got to me were David and his crazy-awful foot fungus; and Stacy, with her bone-baring infected foot wound

Now, when it comes to TV, these patients' advanced conditions made for good viewing (and allowed the starring podiatrists to make extra-daring saves.) But, for me, the cases were more sad than entertaining. Want to know why? Because. with early intervention, both of those people could have avoided becoming worst-case scenario test cases. And the preventative care would have been extremely easy, too!

How an Ounce of Prevention can Keep Your Feet off Scary TV Shows Don't let foot or nail fungus progress to the point where they literally stink: seek early intervention, instead!

Let's look at the two conditions treated last week. First, toenail fungus. In it's early stages, a fungal toenail will look thick. It may be yellow or crumbly. But it probably won't be so disgusting that even your podiatrist starts to gag when he or she gives you an examination. Over time, however, the fungus can spread: to other toenails or even to your feet. You may start to notice an odor coming off of your nail. And open-toed shoes will certainly be out of the question. 

This, however, is only the case when you ignore the problem. If, instead, you seek treatment early on, we have very effective anti-fungals that can help restore the health of your nail. We even offer Keryflex, a product that allows your nail to look healthy while you treat the underlying infection. So, you see, it's pretty easy not to let fungal nails make your feet become gag-inducing. You just have to start treatment early-on, since fungal toenails can be slow to heal. An the same can be said for wound care.

Anyone can develop an infected foot wound, but diabetics or people with impaired circulation or sensation face the highest risk. Why? When you have diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage your nerves. And this can make you lose sensation in your feet (neuropathy), so you may not notice when you sustain a cut or blister. 

Now, if your feet have less feeling and less blood flow, big problems can set it (as they did for Stacy.) You could be oblivious to a foot wound, and that wound could take forever to heal without the appropriate flow of oxygen-rich blood. In combination, this tag-team can deliver scary results like a gaping ulcer, which could ultimately threaten the health of your entire limb. But that doesn't have to happen, if you follow a proper foot-care plan. 

And, what does that plan look like? Regular foot exams with your podiatrist (at least twice a year for diabetics, or as often as recommended by your diabetic care team.) But you can't rely solely on your doctors: you have to step up and take action at home. With daily self-foot exams, you can catch wounds as soon as they appear. Well before they become infected and land you on a TV show. Ulcers truly are a problem that are almost entirely preventable. Good news, right?

Keep Close to Your Podiatrist So You Aren't a Cautionary Tale

Ok, so there you have it. I'm as susceptible to gross-out TV as the next person. And I can't help catching a glimpse of shows like "My Feet are Killing Me." They are oddly entertaining, I must admit. Still, I'd be devastated if one of my former patients landed on a show like this. That's because my philosopy of foot care involves early intervention, so that I can provide my patients with the least invasive treatment plan available. I like to keep you walking comfortably, prevent complications and, most of all, make sure your feet are NEVER the topic of cringeworthy water-cooler conversations! 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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