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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How long do I have to wait for my toenails to look better?
No matter how you treat your fungal toenails, you are treating the new growth of the toenail. The existing thick and discolored nail plate will not change. Instead it will grow out as the nail is treated.
Toenails do not grow quickly. It takes approximately 9-12 months for a great toenail to fully grow out and 6-9 months for the nails on the other toes to progress. Not realizing this, many people are disappointed to learn in the spring that their infected toenails will not be completely clear for summer. At least they'll be clear for next year!
If you don't want to go through another summer with thick and discolored toenails, we provide a service called KeryFlex. Keryflex is a healthy, flexible, natural appearing artificial toenail that can cover a nail damaged from fungus infection or trauma. This non-invasive procedure has provided both women and men a healthier appearing toenail while the nail improves with treatment for the fungal infection.
To learn about your options to get your toenails clear of fungus and ready for sandal season (which here in Houston is most of the year), contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider.
Does topical antifungal medicine need to get beneath my nail?
Any topical medication used to treat fungal toenails does need to get beneath the toenail in sufficient amounts to treat your fungus. This is usually the reason that topical medications fail. The active antifungal can eliminate the fungus, but the "vehicle" doesn't succeed in moving the medicine through the toenail. Different vehicles for topical antifungal medication include cream, ointment, gel, lacquer, and oil. The topical that is recommended in our Houston podiatry office, Tolcylen Nail Solution, does penetrate the toenail in sufficient amounts to treat the fungus appropriately, due to the oil that the medicine is dissolved in.
Topical medication is designed to penetrate the nail plate when applied. In fact the better the medication penetrates the nail plate, the more effective the medication is in resolving the nail fungus. A common error is to try to push the medicine under the nail manually. This causes trauma and can separate the nail from the nail bed. This is counterproductive, since trauma allows the fungal infection to spread or worsen. You should not poke anything under the toenail in any circumstance.
If you have used an over the counter topical antifungal medication to treat your fungal toenails and have found them not to be effective, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will recommend the best treatment to cure your fungal toenails.
Can I polish my toenails during treatment for fungal toenails?
Most women enjoy polishing their toenails in order to cover the unpleasant appearance during treatment for fungal toenails. Depending on how the toenail fungus is being treated, this could be okay. If the oral medication is being used to treat the toenails, the nail polish will not interfere with the treatment. If a topical antifungal medication is being used, such as Formula 3, it is best to not use toenail polish at all, since it is difficult for the medication to penetrate the polish and does not reach the toenail. If you must polish your nail, it is important that you choose a healthy, enriched nail polish.
It must be said that most nail polish is damaging to the toenails. Nail polish has a consistency similar to liquid plastic and suffocates the toenail. In addition polish uses caustic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and toluene, that damage the nail. Using a "healthy" toenail polish, such as Dr's Remedy Enriched nail polish, prevents that damage by not including those chemicals and adding natural antifungals and vitamins. Even the polish remover does not have acetone, which is also damaging to the toenails.
If you are concerned that you might have a fungal infection in your toenails, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. Dr's Remedy enriched nail polish is available in our Houston office.
Why does my toenail fungus keep coming back?
Toenail fungus is often treated and resolved completely. With time, however, you may notice the return of the fungal infection in the toenails. This is not due to a failure in the treatment, but rather the toneail becomes reinfected.
One of the most common causes for the return of fungal toenails is the continued presence of fungus in the shoes. Fungus thrives in a warm, dark, moist environment, which is what is found in a shoe. Add to that the heat and humidity of Houston and you have a perfect storm for fungus forming and reinfecting your toenail.
There are ways to disinfect shoes. Using an antifungal treatment for the shoes, such as Mycomist, in conjunction with treatment for the toenails is ideal. Even after the toenail treatment is complete, and the the nails are clear, it is worthwhile to keep disinfecting your shoes to do what you can to prevent the fungus from returing.
If you have been treated for fungal toenails and are noticing that the thickness and discoloration is returning, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an evaluation. We'll treat the new infection and take measures to prevent the situation from occurring yet again.
How can you be sure it is fungus in the toenail?
Fungal toenails are often easily diagnosed in the office based on their clinical presentation. They often appear thickened and discolored with loose material beneath them. There are also times when we can clinically tell that a toenail is not infected.
When a toenail is questionable as to whether it is infected or not, a simple test can be performed to diagnose the nail. A biopsy is performed on the toenail and sent to a lab for examination. This biopsy is usually not painful and no anesthesia is required. The results from the biopsy are returned in approximately one week. This test is often necessary when there is associated trauma to the toenail, which also can thicken the nail when fungus is not necessarily present.
Prior to starting definitive treatment for toenail fungus, it is important to know that there is a fungal infection present. Visit Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to evaluate your toenails. If the examination is inconclusive, the biopsy can be done that same day. The longer you wait, the worse the nails can become. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists today!
Is there a way to cure fungal toenail infection without medication?
The most common way to treat toenail fungus is with medication. An oral antifungal medication, such as Lamisil, or a topical antifungal treatment, such as Tolcylen, is often recommended. Both of these medications are effective and safe, however there are ways to treat a fungal toenail without medication.
There are some patients who elect to have to infected toenails surgically removed and then treat the nail beds with antifungal cream. I generally do not recommend this method except when the toenail is so thick and deformed that it causes pain. Also, if multiple toenails are infected, removal can become very painful.
A newer treatment for fungal toenails involves laser therapy. This treatment entails one to three treatments, depending on the laser, and is generally not painful. Treatment with the laser is not uncomfortable and initial results show an improved appearance of the toenail. There are also natural antifungal therapies, such as tea tree oil and garlic, which are used in topical preparations with limited success.
If you are noticing your toenails are becoming thick and discolored, be sure to get them checked before they become worse. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
Will a night splint help relieve my heel pain?
If you feel severe pain in your heel when you step out of bed in the morning, you are suffering from one of two serious foot conditions: Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles Tendonitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament where it attaches to the bottom of the heel bone. Similarly, Achilles tendonitis is when the Achilles tendon is inflamed at its attachment on the back of the heel bone.
While there are many treatments for both types of heel pain, one that works well for both types is the use of a night splint. While there are many types of night splints for heel pain, I have found the most effective and comfortable type to be when the support is in the front of the foot and ankle. This type of night splint is light and the most comfortable to wear and sleep in.
Night splints work by providing a constant stretch to the plantar fascia ligament and Achilles tendon overnight. This has been proven to be an effective way to treat heel pain. You will especially notice the relief of pain that you feel when you first step out of bed in the morning. This relief will carry over throughout your day and you will notice a progressive relief of heel pain as you continue to wear the night splint each night.
At Tanglewood Foot Specialists, we stock this type of night splint. The good news is that this night splint is covered by health insurance in most cases. Regardless, if you have heel pain it is important to visit your Houston podiatrist to have your heel pain evaluated and treated to get you out of pain as efficiently as possible.
How should I shop for new shoes that won't hurt my neuroma?
If you have a Morton's neuroma that causes pain in the ball of your foot or numbness in your toes, you know that the discomfort can be better or worse depending on the shoes you are wearing. Shoes can certainly effect the pain caused by a Morton's neuroma. If your shoe is too narrow, it will compress the metatarsal bones and increase the pressure on the neuroma. This added pressure will increase the pain that your neuroma is causing.
For this reason, if you are suffering from a Morton's neuroma try to purchase the widest shoes that will fit you. You don't want it to purchase a shoe that is so wide that you slip around in it, but the widest shoe that will still provide a good fit. Also, consider lowering your heel height, which will reduce the pressure on the ball of your foot.
If you do change the shoes you are wearing but continue to feel the pain from the Morton's neuroma, don't wait any longer. Contact Dr. Andrew Schneider at Tanglewood Foot Specialists of Houston, TX for an evaluation. Pain relief can be found much easier if you come in soon!
Many people who read this also wondered Why Do I Have a Bump On Top of My Foot?
How long should I wait before getting a neuroma checked?
In my Houston podiatry practice, I see many people who have suffered with ball of foot pain due to a Morton's neuroma for weeks, months, and even years. A Morton's neuroma does not usually improve on it's own. While your pain from a neuroma can start off coming and going, and even dependant on the shoes you are wearing, it very rapidly can become more consistently and intensely painful. Your neuroma can stop you from wearing your favorite shoes and may even force you to only wear flats.
The ideal time to treat your neuroma is as early as possible. If you are treated when the pain is minor and inconsistent, there is a much greater chance that conservative measures can be effective. As the pain from your neuroma increases, it becomes more difficult to control the inflammation and manage your pain. When non-surgical treatment, such as anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections, and custom orthotics, do not adequately eliminate your pain, surgery to treat the neuroma may be necessary.
If you are beginning to feel pain in the ball of your foot or numbness in your toes, be sure to schedule an appointment with Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to see if your pain is due to a Morton's neuroma.
Will I need to wear a special shoe or boot after neuroma surgery?
A postoperative shoe is typically worn after your neuroma surgery. After surgery for a Morton's neuroma, a surgical dressing is applied to your foot. The bulk of this dressing makes the surgical shoe necessary. The shoe is open and will accommodate the dressing comfortably and easily. It also helps to keep the pressure off of the incision site and provides room for any swelling that may occur.
The surgical shoe also has a stiff sole. This restricts the motion of your foot when walking and allows for the soft tissue and skin to heal properly and quickly. In most cases, you could expect to stay in a postoperative shoe for approximately three weeks after surgery.
A surgical shoe is only a temporary necessity. You'll find that healing from your neuroma surgery will be faster if you wear the shoe diligently. You should NOT make your surgery decision based on the shoe. Look past the appearance of the shoe and keep your eye on the prize...wearing your favorite shoes without pain. To learn more about treating your neuroma with both conservative and surgical treatment, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider.