Posts for: October, 2018

This Halloween, all manner of elaborate and scary costumes will hit the streets and parties to show off their creativity and spook other trick-or-treaters. Those with webbed toes will have no trouble pulling off their creature from the black lagoon costume, but webbed toes aren’t as “scary” a condition as many people believe.

Webbed toes are common among birds, amphibians, and some mammals, such as kangaroos. In humans, this condition affects approximately 1 in 2500 live births. Webbed toes are also sometimes referred to as “twin toes,” “duck toes,” “turkey toes,” and “tiger toes,” though the official name is Syndactyly.

Syndactyly is a condition in which two adjacent digits are fused together. In simple syndactyly, the digits are connected only by skin or soft tissue. In complex syndactyly, the bones are fused together. Fusion may be partial, with only a small portion of the toes webbed, or it can be complete with even the nails fusing together.

Webbed toes are primarily a cosmetic concern and generally do not adversely affect walking, running, or swimming. Since your big toe controls the power and balance of your gait, a fused second and third toe can function as a second big toe, providing an athletic advantage (albeit a small one). On the other hand, movement of the fused toes may be limited, impacting balance and causing problems with activities needing prehensile toes.

While there are few adverse side effects, minor consequences can result from syndactyly. People with webbed toes may have trouble wearing flip flops, toe socks, and “finger shoes.” They may also struggle with activities requiring flexibility and gripping of the toes (such as walking over uneven surfaces). If the toes grow at different rates or to different lengths, this can cause bending and cramping.

While the majority of people with webbed toes simply live with the condition, corrective surgery to separate the digits is available. Some famous people with webbed toes include Ashton Kutcher, Dan Aykroyd, and Joseph Stalin.

Many people suffer from arachnophobia or fear of spiders. But do you fear spider veins? Known clinically as telangiectasia, spider veins occur in over 15% of men and 60% of women. These statistics increase as you age.

Spider veins appear in a branching or webbed pattern and usually occur on the legs or face. Spider veins are small and red. If you see large, twisted, purple or blue veins that bulge out from the skin, these are varicose veins, a more severe form of the same issue. Both are caused by a backup of blood, a result of venous insufficiency. However, hormone changes, exposure to sunlight, and various injuries can also cause spider veins to appear.

Spider veins rarely cause issues themselves but can be indicative of a greater overall health problem. Symptoms of spider veins may include swelling, dull and achy pain, or an itchy rash. The biggest side effect is simply their unappealing look.

You can reduce your chances of developing or worsening spider veins by:

  • Standing up every 30 minutes if you work sitting down
  • Sitting down every 30 minutes if you work standing up
  • Exercising to improve blood flow in the legs
  • Elevating your legs regularly
  • Using compression socks and stockings as directed by a physician
  • Controlling your bodyweight to put less pressure on the legs

You may not be able to completely avoid developing spider veins as genetics and age have much to do with it. However, the great news is, existing spider veins are completely treatable with painless laser therapy. Small veins may resolve within one treatment, but larger spider veins will darken for 1-3 months before disappearing. Fall and winter are the perfect times for treatment, so your legs are shorts-ready come spring. Ask your podiatrist about our laser therapy treatments for spider veins and more!

If you feel something brewing this season and it isn’t a witch’s cauldron, it could be a wart forming on your foot. Warts get a bad rap, often being associated with toads and frogs, but in fact, warts have nothing to do with our amphibious friends.

Warts are caused by a virus infecting the top layer of the skin. When they appear on the feet, they are called plantar warts. These can either appear singularly or in groupings, called mosaic warts. Warts spread through direct contact with the virus. When someone with a plantar wart walks barefoot, they leave the virus behind where you can pick it up easily through any cut, break, or weak area in the skin.

Plantar warts like to form around the weight-bearing portions of the foot—usually the bottom of the heel or at the base of the toes. They appear as small lesions or calluses over a defined dot. This dot is sometimes referred to as a “wart seed” but is really just a clotted capillary. Since you are constantly putting pressure on the wart, it grows into the skin, rather than outward as a bump. This may cause pain or discomfort.

Warts are not dangerous. If left untreated, the wart will generally disappear in one to two years. If you experience discomfort when walking on your wart, there are professional treatment options available. (Traditional home remedies are generally not effective at removing warts.)

Your podiatrist may offer a topical solution, using a chemical dressing to cover and treat the wart. This treatment option takes several weeks for results. Freezing a wart away is another option, though again, it may take several treatments before the wart is fully eradicated.

One more painless and effective option for treating warts is laser therapy. The laser slowly closes the blood vessels under the wart. Without this nutrient source, the wart will shrink and eventually die before falling off the foot completely. If all other treatment methods have failed, your podiatrist may choose to excise the wart surgically from the foot.

There is evidence that purposefully exposing your body to the virus (autoimplantation) will create an autoimmune response that helps treat and prevent future plantar warts, but more research on this option is needed before it becomes the primary choice of treatment.

If you are experiencing a painful wart on the bottom of your foot, stop blaming the frogs and come see your podiatrist instead.

There are many types of corns: white corn, Indian corn, popcorn, candy corn–and, of course, foot corns. That last one isn’t exactly a popular option, but they occur nonetheless. One type of corn that can develop is called a “kissing corn.” This is a type of soft corn (heloma molles), meaning it develops in between the toes because of a bone abnormality.

Your bones are shaped like an hourglass, getting smaller in the middle and wider at the ends. When the ends of your bones are wider than average, they may rub together, causing friction and result in corns. This most often happens between the fourth and fifth (pinky) toes.

While it typically occurs in people with bone abnormalities, kissing corns can also result from wearing tight shoes that squeeze the toes together. This could be a specialty athletic shoe (like climbing or ballet shoes), a pair of pointed-toed high heels, or just a basic shoe that happens to be too small. Anything that presses your toes together can lead to a soft corn.

A corn is a thick buildup of skin resulting from friction. A soft corn is essentially the same, but due to its positioning, the skin remains thinner and partially moist due to sweat between toes. This gives it a spongy texture. Most often it will be whitish but can also be yellow.

For most people, the only symptom of a corn is discomfort and pain, but if you leave it alone, the corn can become an open sore and become infected. This can be particularly dangerous for diabetic patients.

Treatment goals include controlling pain and reducing corn size. There are both conservative and surgical solutions for kissing corns. The non-surgical option includes shaving down the corn and using pads and wide shoes to reduce rubbing and allow healing. Surgical solutions are recommended for people with bone abnormalities whose corns will reoccur if the underlying problem isn’t corrected. During the surgery, the inside ends of the bones are shaved down to eliminate touching of the toes.

If you are suffering from kissing corns, a solution is in sight. Call the FAAWC today to discuss your options.