Five Little Piggies FAQs

Athlete’s foot is a skin fungal infection. It is often picked up in places where bare feet congregate like swimming pool changing rooms and gym showers. It can cause intense itching with blistered or peeling skin, redness and scaling. It can occur anywhere on the foot but most often on the moist skin between the toes, or on dry, flaky skin around the arches and heels. Large painful fissures/cracks can also develop. The infection can spread across the foot and eventually into the nails if left untreated. Treatment depends on the type of athlete’s foot infection. Your podiatrist can tell you which treatment will suit best.

These infections end up in the nails and either come from prolonged exposure from athlete’s foot or after trauma to the nail or nail bed. The infected nail usually thickens, changes colour and can detach itself from the nail bed. They’re not usually painful although sometimes the thickness of the nail can be uncomfortable. Treatments include tablets, paints and lacquers and take a long time to work. Your podiatrist can advise on which treatment would suit you best.

Blisters are fluid filled pockets in the skin that are often painful. They are caused by too much friction. You can get a blister when sand gets in your shoes at the beach, or when your feet get wet on a long walk or run, or when you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes.

Blisters can become serious when they get infected. Diabetics and others with healing impairments are most at risk from an infected blister.

Your podiatrist can help you figure out why you got the blister and what you can do about it but in the main, you can avoid them by making sure your feet are dry, your socks and shoes fit well and there is nothing inside your shoe that shouldn’t be there. If you have a tendency to blister in a certain place, a blister plaster can be placed on that area to protect the skin and prevent the blister from forming.

A bunion (fancy name Hallux Valgus) is when the big toe angles towards the second toe leading to a bony lump on the side of the foot. There’s often some arthritis in the big toe joint and sometimes the skin around it can become sore where shoes and slippers press on it.

There are a lot of reasons why bunions occur. Many years of research into the condition tells us that high heels don’t cause bunions but they will make the condition worse if you have a certain foot type that is prone to it.

There are a few things we can do to make bunions more comfortable, like making sure your shoes have enough room in them, and exercises to keep the foot and leg supple.

The only way to cure a bunion is surgery. The operations are rarely, if ever, carried out to make a foot look nicer. Podiatric surgeons have a range of procedures available to correct the alignment of the toes, making life more comfortable.

Hard skin, or callous,is a thickening of the outer, dead layer of your skin. It can range from slightly annoying to really painful and can be found on the tops of toes, the balls of the feet, around the heels and anywhere there’s too much pressure and friction on an area of skin.

Your podiatrist can remove the patch of callous by painlessly scraping it away and let you know what caused it, and what can be done to keep it away. Your treatment will leave your feet with smoother, more comfortable skin.

Corns are little lumps of hard skin that can sometimes cause a lot of pain. They’re usually found in areas where there is excessive pressure, like the tops of toes where the shoes and slippers press or the ball of the foot where the skin is compressed between the weight of the body and the ground.

People with impaired circulation or poor healing (e.g. diabetics and sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis) need to be particularly careful because these little pests can cause problems if left untreated. Your podiatrist can remove them, look at what caused them, and talk with you about how to avoid them coming back.

Chilblains are little areas of skin that get painful, inflamed, they swell, dry out and sometimes crack. In the worst cases they can become infected.

They are caused by the skin over reacting to the cold – the tiny blood vessels just under the skin shut down in the cold. When the skin heats back up again, blood rushes in and some fluid leaks out into the tissues. They occur commonly on the feet, hands, and face.

Chilblains can become complicated in the feet when they are subjected to pressure from footwear, further slowing down the flow of blood and inevitably the skin’s ability to heal.

They can be prevented and managed by making sure the toes have plenty of room in your shoes. Make sure the feet stay warm by wearing two layers of thin socks or have shoes with thick (more insulating) soles; allow the feet to warm up gradually when you get back home on a cold day; use a warming salicylate cream, like Balmosa, every morning through the winter to promote the circulation of blood through the day.

If you are worried or your chilblains become increasingly painful, see your podiatrist.

Diabetes can show symptoms in your feet in several ways. The loss of sensation (neuropathy) is a common sign to first appear and is caused by damage done to the nerves by high blood glucose.

High levels of blood glucose can also affect the circulation and with the feet being furthest from the heart, they are often first and worst affected.

A diabetic foot is more likely to suffer an injury or excessive pressure due to lack of feeling. Then, because of poor circulation, the healing process is slow, and infection is more likely leading to cellulitis, sepsis and amputation.

Cuts, abrasions and blisters should be treated with great care to avoid infection.

Shoes must fit well and have plenty of room for the toes. Check your footwear before you put them on (just in case the kids have left a toy in there or a coin has fallen in – with poor sensation you won’t know it’s there). Wash and dry the feet every day especially between the toes, checking for lumps, colour changes or painful areas. Pop some cream round your feet but NOT between the toes (between the toes can get really moist and this causes problems too). Your podiatrist can assess your feet, looking at circulation, skin condition, deformities, pressure areas and sensation. This information will give us an idea of how at risk you are from developing diabetic foot complications.

This is the perfect treatment for anyone with thick, uneven, unsightly nails. Whether your nails have been damaged or ravaged by infection, this treatment will make you feel good about your feet again.

To reconstruct the nail, your podiatrist will use a buffer thin down the thick nail and then cleaned to prepare for the gel. The gel polymer is applied and cured with a UV lamp. The gel is then sculpted into a normal nail shape and sealed to prevent discolouration. How long the nail lasts depends on how much of your own nail is available to anchor the gel onto (the gel sticks better to nail than to skin), but patients have reported various times from two weeks to three months. In some cases you may be able to reattach the gel nail with false nail glue. Your new gel nail can also be painted with your own nail varnish.

For a long-lasting get nail, avoid: soaking too much, tight shoes, picking at it, and when needed, file gently with a good quality file.

There are three types of arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Gout.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the body’s own immune system attacks itself, in this case the tissue within the joints, causing swelling stiffness and pain.

Osteoarthritis is a ‘wear and tear’ condition of the joints, where years of use have caused the cartilage in the joint to become damaged. The bone underneath thickens and causes swelling stiffness and pain.

Gout is when small crystals, from too much uric acid in the blood, form in the joints and cause severe pain and redness and swelling.

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When your ingrowing or painful nail becomes impossible to treat conservatively, or you’re just fed up with the discomfort of the ongoing problem, you can opt to have all or part of your nail removed permanently.

After a local anaesthetic to numb your toe, the nail is removed and the nail bed destroyed so the nail won’t grow back. We like to see you back for a check-up at least once a week until fully healed.

Caused by a virus, a verruca is just a lumpy overgrowth of your own skin which can be painful if it’s on a part of your foot that you walk on. They don’t have roots but they sometimes have little black dots in the middle and they bleed easily when you treat them. We can offer a variety of treatments depending on the type and severity of your verruca.

If your feet are causing you pain and discomfort call 0141 613 1113 or contact us us to arrange an appointment.

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