Posts for tag: infection
During winter time we don’t spend a lot of time looking at our feet, as they are usually bundled up in thick socks and warm shoes, but there are certain things we always need to pay attention to. One of those things is our toenails. Ingrown toenails occur when the toenail grows down into the skin, rather than outward as it’s supposed to. This condition is easily diagnosable since you can clearly see the skin growing over the nail. This may be accompanied by pain, redness, swelling, or even pus if infection is present.
Ingrown toenails occur on the big toe in nine out of ten cases, but other toes may be affected or even fingernails. Unfortunately, the majority of ingrown nails occur due to simple genetics. If you have larger-than-average toenails, but average size toes, this can lead to your nails growing down into the skin of your toe. People with particularly thick toenails or naturally curved nails may also be at higher risk of ingrown toenails. Although some ingrown nails may not be bothersome, secondary factors can exacerbate your condition to the point where you need to see a podiatrist.
READ MORE: Say Goodbye to Ingrown Toenails
One of the most common culprits of painful or infected ingrown toenails is improper nail cutting. Don’t cut your toenails too short, as this increases the chance they will grow into the skin. Nails should always be cut into a straight line, not a curve, to avoid edges progressing into the sides of your toe. Acute nail damage, such as stubbing your toe forcefully, can lead to misshapen nails that become ingrown. Ingrown nails may also develop if your toes are constantly squeezed together, either by tight shoes or conditions such as bunions that turn the toes toward each other.
Although cutting your toenail away from the skin might temporarily solve your problem, it will simply grow back the same way unless a surgical correction is made. Surgery is a scary word for most people, but fixing an ingrown toenail is a breeze and the procedure can actually be completed in a single office visit. First, a local anesthetic is applied, numbing the area so you remain blissfully ignorant to any feeling.
Next, the nail borders are removed; a fancy way of saying your nail is cut into a narrower shape and the folded skin is disconnected. In some cases, the entire toenail may be removed. Lastly, the nail matrix is chemically cauterized to eliminate the offending nail from growing back improperly. The matrix of your nail is the tissue it forms on and it is responsible for the length, size, and shape of the nail. The “cauterization” is actually just the application of a strong chemical that prevents the nail from growing back.
Almost all of our ingrown toenail treatments are done right in our office in a single visit (even if it’s your first visit). With a proper dressing and a loose (though protective!) shoe, most patients are able to resume normal activity within 24 hours, though extra care should be taken for several weeks while the toe heals. These procedures boast a 99% success rate with no ingrown toenail reoccurrence. Stop cutting away your painful ingrown nail and come see your podiatrist for a lasting solution. It’s really as simple as that.
READ MORE: Choosing Shoes to Avoid Foot Issues
Summer is in full swing and the Fourth of July brought out the festivities in everyone. Whether you spent the day hiking, fishing, boating, partying, or just hanging out on the couch, you should make sure to protect yourself from insect-carried diseases. Ok, so maybe the people on the couch don’t have to worry…
Everyone knows about mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry – West Nile virus, yellow fever, zika, and even malaria – and we all know to use bug spray and wear long loose clothing, but there’s one more critter you have to keep an eye out for: the tick. Ticks, although commonly labeled as insects, are actually a type of mite closer in form to a spider and they like to suck blood just like mosquitoes and thus can transmit diseases to humans and animals. The black legged tick and the deer tick can both carry Lyme disease.
A very specific type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease. Ticks do not fly or jump so they “hunt” by latching on to clothing and skin as you brush by. This is why you should always wear high socks, long pants, and long sleeves when walking in any wooded areas. If you’re reading this from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, or Wisconsin then congratulations – you win the prize of having about 95% of all Lyme disease cases reported from your states. That doesn’t mean we’re in the clear my fellow Ohioans. Reforestation efforts over the past several decades have succeeded in increasing deer populations, which is the favorite taxi cab of black legged and deer ticks. Cases have been steadily on the rise in recent years.
Unfortunately it’s hard to say exactly how many cases of Lyme disease occur each year. Approximately 30,000 cases are reported to and confirmed by the CDC, but since only a fraction of data actually makes it back to the CDC, medical experts suggest the annual number of cases may be closer to 300,000. This makes it the most prevalent vectorborne (animal carried) disease in the United States.
Symptoms of Lyme disease occur in 70-80% of patients within 3 to 30 days after the initial bite and infection. The most common symptom is a rash, warm to the touch though not itchy, spreading from the bite outward and sometimes becoming a “bull’s eye” shape as it expands. This can happen on any part of the body since a tick bite may be anywhere. Other symptoms may show a more gradual onset, but can also be much more severe, including migraines, neck pain, arthritis with joint pain and swelling, heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, shortness of breath, and even short-term memory loss.
Patients treated in the early stages of the disease will generally recover fully with a 2 to 4 week run of antibiotics. Patients with more progressed symptoms will also most likely benefit from antibiotics, but may have suffered long term damage before the disease can be eradicated. It is a common misconception that Lyme disease “lasts forever” and that one you have it, it never really goes away. This is false, but symptoms may persist for weeks or even months after the bacteria are all gone.
If you think you have a symptom of Lyme disease, consult a physician. A simple blood test is used to diagnose Lyme disease, but don’t be surprised if it comes back negative at first, your body can take up to two weeks to start producing antibodies to the bacteria. Your doctor will most likely ask you questions about your recent outdoor activities and do a visual examination of the rash and site of infection. Many times, these are sufficient for a positive diagnosis and treatment.
When you go outside this summer, make sure you are always wearing the proper clothing for your activity and don’t forget to use insect repellant!