General Foot Care
Our podiatrists will look after all your general podiatry needs, include the treatment of calluses, bunions, corns, ingrown nails, cracked heels and plantar warts at our St. Ives podiatry clinic.
Calluses & Corns
Calluses are thickened outer layers of skin caused by increased pressure or friction on the affected area. The callus is the body's defence mechanism to protect underlying tissues that are predisposed to excessive frictions . A corn is essentially a callus where a hard plug of skin forms from increased pressure and pushes deeper into the skin. Corns will usually cause more pain than a callus.
Podiatrists treat corns and calluses by debriding the callus and removing the centre of the corn. Pads are often used to reduce the friction and pressure of the corn.
Our podiatrist's will also discuss the type of footwear most likely to cause corns or calluses and in some cases prescribe orthotics to reduce excessive weight bearing forces on the foot.
If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease or any condition that causes peripheral neuropathy, it is important to have corns and calluses treated by a podiatrist to minimise the chance of wound formation due to subcallucal breakdown.
An ingrown toe nail occurs when the nail penetrates or presses against the skin adjacent to the toenail and is most common on the big toe. Pain and inflammation are usually the first symptoms, and further infection may follow.
Ingrown nails are usually caused by incorrect cutting techniques, handpicking of the nail, acute injuries or wearing shoes that are too tight, short or narrow at the toe box.
Many ingrown toenails can be treated without surgical intervention, but conservative treatment may mean a continuous visit to a podiatrist at regular time intervals. If surgery is required, it can be done at the podiatry clinic and post operative ambulatory is usually unaffected. Refer to the page about "Nail Procedure" for more information.
Cracked Heels (Fissures)
Cracked heels are usually caused by dried skin around the heels. Cracked heels can also further thicken with additional build up of callosities. They are referred to as heel fissures when they are cracked too deep and can potentially become infected. It is usually painful when weigh-bearing on the affected areas.
Some people who have relatively dried skin are predisposed to having cracked heels. However, mechanical factors, for example, the way you walk, may also put excessive pressure on the dry, thickened skin around the heel.
To help reduce the dryness, oil based moisturising cream may be recommended. The thickness of the callus needs to be reduced but this should not be attempted at home with razor blades or scissors due to the risk of infection and the danger of removing too much skin.
Our podiatrists can reduce the hard and thickened skin for you in a safe and aseptic environment. Regular treatment may be the best way to manage heel fissures. We will also investigate the problem the cause and provide advice on self-care techniques. Orthotics may be recommended to change the way you walk to prevent build-up of the callosities.
Plantar warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The virus usually infect the subepidermal area by penetrating through small openings in the top layer of our skin. Warts are usually found in the bottom of our foot. Warts can be painful on weigh bearing because they commonly found in anatomic locations on the foot that is exposed to pressure and friction. Morphologically, warts appear to be a small lump of hard skin with black dots and are usually painful when pinched.
Warts may disappear in a few weeks but can also last for years. They should be treated if they are spreading or painful. Treatment options used to treat warts include:-
Chemical treatment i.e. Salicylic Acid, which is a mild acid and may be applied topically to the wart which kills the viral cells.
Cryotherapy works by freezing the wart with a very cold substance (usually liquid nitrogen).
Most warts require multiple treatments, with 1-3 weeks followup between each treatment.
Ways to prevent plantar warts from occurring include the wearing of protective footwear in public places such as pools, gyms, locker rooms and other wet, warm environments.