The New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep All Year Long
Last year, did you notice any issues with your feet? Did you put off going to the doctor, hoping they’d clear up on their own?
It’s easy to ignore foot problems, or hope they’ll go away. Most seem too minor to see a doctor about. But if you’ve noticed any changes in your feet, it’s wise to let your doctor know—and set up an appointment with a podiatrist.
January is a great time to make resolutions—it’s a New Year’s tradition, after all! So this year, why not make a resolution to stop ignoring your foot issues?
Here’s a list of some foot problems you can’t afford to ignore:
- Itchy Feet
- Thick or Splitting Toenails
- Tingling & Burning Sensations
- Infected Ingrown Toenails
- Numb Toes Or Feet
- Pain That Isn’t Going Away
Winter weather brings drier air, which can lead to dry, itchy skin. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can also cause your feet to itch. With over-the-counter lotions or prescription ointments, you can help keep your skin moisturized and reduce itchiness.
Fungal skin infections, such as athlete’s foot, are also a common cause of itchy feet. If over-the-counter treatments aren’t clearing up a fungal infection, it’s time to see a podiatrist.
You should never ignore itchy feet—it can be a sign of several serious health problems! Make sure your doctor knows you’re experiencing this symptom. Diseases such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease (PAD) can cause itching, if the underlying conditions are untreated or poorly controlled.
Changes to the shape of your foot, along with gradually-increasing pain, can be easy to ignore. However, if left untreated, bunions can get worse and lead to deformities that require surgery to correct.
Over-the-counter treatment options are widely available and can provide some relief, but don’t put off seeing a podiatrist. Podiatrists offer many conservative treatments for bunions that can help you avoid permanent damage. If you’re experiencing constant pain and difficulty walking, a surgical treatment can remove the bunion, correct deformities, and provide relief.
Discolored or Brittle Toenails
Toenails that are yellowed, chalky, or brittle are unattractive—and simply covering them up with socks and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away! If you’ve noticed your toenails have streaks of discoloration, or seem weaker or tougher than they used to, you should talk to your podiatrist.
Toenail fungus is a common issue, with many possible causes. Poor fitting shoes, walking outdoors in damp areas, broken nails, or unsanitized pedicure tools can all give fungus a chance to form in the nail bed.
Toenail fungus infections can develop very slowly, so many people put off seeing a doctor until the issue becomes more serious. This makes the infection harder to treat, and sometimes requires surgical removal of the toenail. If you have a fungal infection, your podiatrist can identify the best medicine to treat it—from oral antifungal medicine to medicated nail polish—and provide tips for preventing further infections.
Tingling & Burning Sensations
Damaged or pinched nerves in your foot can cause a variety of sensations, from tingling and numbness (“pins and needles”) to pain that feels like electric shocks!
If your feet are tingling, burning, or numb, there are a wide variety of causes. A foot & ankle specialist can identify the source of nerve pain—whether it’s diabetes, tendonitis, poor circulation, or a bone deformity—and provide you with treatment options.
Some of the conditions that cause tingling, like tarsal tunnel syndrome, may be easily treated with orthotic inserts or injections. Other situations could require surgery to correct. While foot surgery may seem scary, you shouldn’t put off treating the underlying cause of your pain. After a brief recovery period, you’ll be back on your feet!
Infected Ingrown Toenails
Don’t wait to have your podiatrist look at an ingrown toenail. If it’s infected, the infection can get worse and spread deeper into the toe, where it can affect bone and nerve tissue.
A podiatrist knows how to safely and effectively take care of your ingrown toenail and stop the infection. They can also give you advice for how to avoid ingrown toenails in the future.
Numb Toes Or Feet
If you have numb toes or feet, the cause could be anything from improper footwear to poor circulation. It’s important to mention this symptom to your doctor, so they can determine if you have an undiagnosed or under-treated condition that’s causing numbness.
If you experience numbness in your feet, it’s important to visually check your feet every day. Some people don’t realize their feet are injured, because they can’t feel any pain from the injury. If these toe or foot injuries are left untreated, this can lead to serious infections, or even require amputation.
A podiatrist can provide a wide array of solutions to keep your feet happy and safe!
Pain That Isn’t Going Away
Some people put off seeing a doctor until they’re experiencing extreme pain. Some of these patients had been experiencing mild or moderate pain for months—even years—before they finally made an appointment!
A constant or recurring pain in your foot or ankle is your body telling you, “something’s not right.” Minor injuries can become major problems if left untreated. If you’re experiencing foot pain that doesn’t go away—or keeps coming back—make seeing a podiatrist your #1 New Year’s Resolution.
Even if your foot or ankle pain seems minor, it could be affecting your mobility and health more than you realize. Everyone deserves happy feet—and your podiatrist may have a simple treatment option that will make this year better than ever!