Get Your Feet Ready for Their Day in the Sun

As the weather in Chicago heats up, and we’re all looking forward to spring and summer weather, it’s time to think about the health -- and appearance -- of our feet! If you start now, you can take care of issues that are bothering you, as well as take steps to make your feet more attractive just in time for sandal season.

Ingrown Toenails
Ingrown toenails are painful and can lead to swelling and infection if not treated. Your podiatrist can treat ingrown toenails quickly through a minor procedure, and help treat any infection that may exist. You can then work with your doctor to reduce any remaining redness and swelling.

Fungal Nails
Nail fungus is more common than you might think. If you have yellow, thickened toenails, you should be evaluated for fungal nails. There are several treatments available for fungal nails, including laser therapy and anti-fungal creams.

Athlete’s Foot
If you suspect you might have athlete’s foot, it’s important to get it treated right away. Not only is it highly contagious, the classic symptoms of itchy, scaly feet could turn into something much more disruptive, like blisters and pain.

Diabetic Feet
Diabetes is a debilitating disease if not monitored and managed. One common concern among diabetic patients is lack of circulation, foot ulcers, and other foot ailments that can occur with diabetes. Regular foot care can help prevent serious health risks, and can help keep the feet looking healthy.

Bunions
This condition appears as a bony bump at the base of your big toe. Bunions form over time when the big toe pushes toward the second toe, forcing the joint to protrude over time. It can also occur from wearing ill-fitting shoes, arthritis, and an inherited disorder. Talk to your podiatrist regarding any pain, redness, or swelling. Non-invasive surgery, taping, appropriate shoes, and injections can help treat bunions.   

Hammertoes
Do some of your toes bend at an angle (typically the middle three toes) -- possibly from arthritis, years of wearing shoes that are too small, or even a condition that was present at birth? If so, there are minimally invasive surgeries podiatrists can perform to straighten the toes back to their natural state.  

Swollen Feet
There are many conditions that can cause swollen feet. Maybe you spend a lot of time on your feet, maybe you’ve recently sprained your ankle, and maybe you are wearing ill-fitting shoes. It’s also possible that the swelling is from an injury. Regardless of the cause, you can treat the swelling in several ways. Your podiatrist can suggest treatments such as laser therapy, and check if there is a more serious underlying cause.

Calluses/Corns
While thickened skin on the foot can be unsightly, it may also point to a more serious condition such as diabetes and poor circulation. Calluses and corns can also form from repeated movements and shoes that don’t quite fit. Your podiatrist can help suggest the best treatment to treat skin issues on your feet.

Dry, Cracked Feet
Dry winter weather can lead to dry, cracked feet -- typically on the heel and ball of foot. Not only is this painful, it can limit your mobility and lead to infection. Even in minor cases, it can make the feet unsightly. A podiatrist can evaluate how serious your issue is and recommended treatments, creams, and steps you can take to improve the health and appearance of your feet.  

Visit Your Local Podiatrist
If you are in the Chicago area, visit Dr. Shermi Parikh to have a full assessment of your feet, and what you can do to treat any issues you might be having. With her help, you can ensure you’re stepping pretty, and healthy, in the coming months. After you take care of the medical issues with your doctor, you can pamper yourself with a pedicure and find that great pair of summer shoes!

About the Author—Dr. Parikh
Dr. Shermi Parikh, DPM, practices podiatry at the Family Foot and Ankle Center in Niles and Berwyn, Illinois. She has been in practice for over a decade and treats all aspects of foot and ankle pain using physical therapy, orthotics, minimally invasive surgical techniques, and laser treatment. More information about her practice and areas of specialization may be found at www.familyfootchicago.com. She believes that informed patients are best able to address podiatric conditions.