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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Why is the bottom of my foot dry and cracked?
If the bottom of your foot is dry and cracked, you want pain relief. But, first, you need to know what's causing the problem. Well, there are two reasons you get dry and cracked feet. And, while your local podiatrist can treat both, the treatment options are different. So you need to know what's causing your problem, to get the right solution.
Environmental Causes of Dry, Cracked Feet
The first reason your feet may crack on the bottom is dry skin. Normally, your feet should be smooth. But they can dry out because of your environment. This can also happen if you forget to moisturize your feet. Or if you have certain conditions or take medications that cause skin dryness.
Here in Houston, we have to worry about dry skin for much of the year. In the summer, or whenever it's hot, you're more likely to wear open shoes or sandals. And that's a big problem for your feet. Particularly the skin on the bottom of your feet.
You see, without the protection of closed shoes, dust and dirt can reach your skin. That can make your skin dry. And, once your skin dried out, it's more likely to crack. (The most vulnerable area is your heel, where skin is thin and delicate. And where shoes can rub against your skin, making matters worse.)
We also need to worry about dry skin in our "winter." Because even a small dip in temperature sends Houstonians running for the heat. And dry heat dries out the skin on your feet. Leading to the same type of problems we see in the summer.
Proper Moisturizing to Prevent Cracks
If dry skin is your problem, moisture is the solution. In fact, we can often treat cracked heels with an excellent moisturizing cream. BUt to get the best results, you'll need to be a supermarket sleuth.
You see, moisturizers come in two main categories: lotions and creams. Lotions are fine for every day hydration. But if your skin is already cracking, you'll need something stronger. And that's when creams come into play.
A moisturizing cream is thicker than a lotion. As such, it will do a better job at re-hydrating your dry skin. It can also help lock in moisture to your feet. In that way, you may prevent your skin from cracking again later on.
Now, fortunately, our feet give us warning signs when they're starting to dry out. Before the bottom of your feet or heel crack, the skin may get rough or thick. This is the perfect time to apply a moisturizing cream. Because, if they get worse, they may crack or even bleed. And, at that point, you're at higher risk for a foot infection. Which means your treatment will go beyond moisturizing.
Need help finding the right product? I'm a big fan of Eucerin or Cetpahil creams. But your Houston Podiatrist, Dr. Andrew Schneider can also recommend or prescribe a different product.
Athlete's Foot and Bottom of Foot Cracks
The other reason for dry and cracked feet is because of a fungal infection, such as athlete's foot. Usually, this infection is uncomfortable; it often causes itching and burning. But when the only symptom is cracked skin, it's easy to misdiagnose the problem. But if your skin is very dry, and you're moisturizing, it could be Athlete's foot. Which means moisturizing won't work. So, in that case, we'll combine moisturizing cream with an antifungal medication. With this powerful combo, we can get rid of your fungal infection. And we can heal the dry, cracked skin on the bottom of your feet. So that, in the future, those openings will disappear. Meaning invading fungus can't make it's way in and cause re-infections.
Remember, seek immediate treatment if you notice cracks on the bottom of your feet. Because, if we don't start the right treatment for your dry, cracked heels, things will get worse. That means your cracks get deeper and can even bleed.
When that happens, it will be painful for everyone. But if you have diabetes it's not just painful. It's actually dangerous! That's because the cracks can become infected and difficult to heal. In fact, a diabetic with cracked heels could get an ulcer. (This is a hard to heal infection, that can increase your risk of amputation. In other words, it's a big deal and a big problem.)
Want to avoid major issues? Treating cracks in your heel early, before they become problematic. That will ensure that your feet stay healthy, and remove the risk of infection.
And how can you know the exact cause of your dry, cracked feet? The best way to figure out your issue is to see your podiatrist right away. But here's another helpful tip.
If you've been using a moisturizing cream with poor results, your problem probably isn't environmental. And, since that means it could be fungal, you can't address the problem at home. So, do you know what that means? It's time to visit Tanglewood Foot Specialists. After a comprehensive foot exam, I can recommend the best treatment for your painful cracked heels. And, at that time, I'll assess your infection and see if you need an antifungal medicine as well.
Most people who found this helpful also wondered Why Does My Athlete's Foot Keep Coming Back?
Is toenail fungus related to Athlete's Foot?
Toenail fungus is similar to Athletes foot. Athletes foot is a fungal infection of the skin. It is a very common infection of the foot, occurring on the sole of the foot and also between the toes. The same fungus that can infect the skin also can infect the toenails, causing the nail to become discolored and thickened. In fact, many cases of toenail fungus are caused by an Athlete's foot condition.
The treatment for toenail fungus differs from athletes foot, however. Athletes foot usually responds well to topical antifungal medication. While mild cases of toenail fungus may respond to topical medication, such as Tocylen solution, most require other forms of treatment. These include a three month course of oral antifungal medication or treatment with a laser.
Why does my athlete's foot keep coming back?
One of the biggest issues with Athlete's foot is that it keeps coming back over and over again. There are two main reasons for this to be the case. Most people who use topical anti fungal medication only use it until the symptoms, such as itching and burning, are eliminated. This is not, however, when the fungus is completely gone.
It is pretty difficult to continue a course of medication after the discomfort is gone. It's all better if there's no pain or itching, right? It may be better, but it is not well! Using an anti fungal medication for a short period of time will first help the symptoms. At that point however, the fungus is not fully inhibited. Many prescription anti fungal medications for Athlete's foot should be used twice a day for two weeks. This regimen, however, may differ depending on the medication and the severity of the infection.
If you have tried everything out there to control your athlete's foot, it's time to take control. In some cases, using topical medication isn't enough to cure the fungal infection. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation.
Most people who found this helpful also wondered Is Athlete's Foot Caused By Toenail Fungus?
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.