Toenail Disorders May Be More Serious Than Many People Realize

Discolored-ToenailsWhen Americans think of toenail disorders, cancer is typically the last thing that comes to their minds. However, it is not uncommon for cancer to show up on the feet and underneath of a person’s toenails. Unfortunately, many people often mistake the signs of toenail bed cancer as blood blisters from impact injuries or other toenail disorders.

Toenail disorders that tend to mimic the outward signs of subungual melanomas include, but are not confined to the following:

  • Longitudinal Linear Lesions
  • Splinter Hemorrhages
  • Melanonychia Striata
  • Fungal Infections

They typically involve a black or brown discoloration that forms underneath of the toenail. Cancer presents itself the same way with a few key, and often subtle, differences. It too will show up underneath the toenail as a discolored spot or line. The spot or line will usually have an irregular border, asymmetrical shape and variations in shading or coloration.

As time goes on, the spot or line may change shape, spread throughout the nail bed and possibly to the surrounding soft tissue. If it spreads too much, surgical amputation will most likely be ordered, as well as chemotherapy and skin grafting. Therefore, Boston podiatrists typically order biopsies to determine whether or not a patient has cancer, or one of the other toenail disorders mentioned earlier.

The biopsy generally involves removing the toenail so a proper tissue sample may be obtained. If the discolored area is rather large, the podiatrist or attending physician may need to repair the hole made by the tissue sampling process with sutures and order post-opt wound care. The length of healing time involved will vary based on how well the patient follows the podiatrist’s wound care recommendations, the wound’s initial size, and the patient’s overall health.

After the biopsy procedure is complete, the tissue sample is usually tested in-house or at a local lab. If cancerous cells are detected, additional treatment, as mentioned above, may be needed. To speak with a podiatrist about this and other serious toenail disorders, please call our office today.

Foot Ulcers May Create Problems for More Than Just Diabetics

Foot-UlcersWhen many people think of foot ulcers, thoughts of uncontrolled diabetes often come to mind. Although there is a strong connection between diabetes and foot ulcer formation, it is not the only health condition associated with such problems. That’s partially because there are more than one type of foot ulcer.

The ones that typically befall diabetic foot care patients are known as neurotrophic ulcers. They are called that because they often form due to nerve damage. The nerve damage causes the feet to become desensitized, which in turn allow everyday lacerations and puncture wounds to enlarge and become grossly infected.

For diabetics, their nerve damage is caused by chronic, elevated blood sugar levels. However, there are additional medical conditions that are affiliated with nerve damage. They include, but are not confined to traumatic spinal injuries, syphilitic myelopathy, transverse myelitis and certain forms of spina bifida.

The other two types of foot ulcers that Boston podiatrists often treat at their podiatry offices are arterial and venous stasis ulcers. Both are associated with an interruption in blood supply. The first one concerns itself with arterial blood flow and the second one is affiliated with the blood that courses through a human’s veins.

Diabetics are prone to have circulation problems too, hence why they often end up with venous stasis and arterial foot ulcers as well. The list of additional comorbidities that may lead to such foot ulcers includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Lymphedema and Inflammatory Diseases
  • Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease
  • Renal Disease and Kidney Failure
  • Hypertension and Heart Disease
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Unresolved Varicose Veins
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis

Thankfully, whether podiatrists in Boston, MA specialize in diabetic foot care or not, they are capable of treating all three types of foot ulcers. To learn more about those various treatments and how to reduce one’s risk of developing foot ulcers in the first place, please contact a podiatrist today.

Debunking Podiatry-Related Myths About Barefoot Running

Barefoot-Running“Minimalist Style” or barefoot running is an increasingly popular trend among active adults today. Along with its growing popularity comes a surging debate: Does minimalist running cause or prevent injuries for running enthusiasts?

Podiatry experts around the world have weighed in on this topic, and an overwhelming majority of them have encountered a series of myths, both good and bad, about barefoot running that they would like to officially debunk. A few of these mistruths follow in the list below:

  • Stress Fractures – This is the number one public concern regarding the trend of barefoot running. Does it really cause stress fractures? The prevailing opinion is that stress fractures are a result of a change in activity without gradual adaptation. Therefore, they are not directly related to the concept of minimalist shoes or barefoot running.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – Some sufferers of this condition believe that the idea of barefoot running would be impossible for them because it would be too painful. Actually, just the opposite may be true. Many podiatrists have reported that some patients with plantar fasciitis have seen their symptoms dissipate by adopting a minimalist running technique.
  • Flat Feet – If you think that you have been cursed by your genetics and given flat feet your whole life, making it virtually impossible for you to run without hugely beneficial arch support and/or orthotics in your shoes, think again. The concept of barefoot running actually encourages a more natural pronation with the forefoot or mid-foot areas of your feet striking the ground first, resulting in better shock absorption. Therefore, flat footed people of the world should rejoice because they can now save some money on a pair of really supportive running shoes by simply letting their flat feet do the running for them all on their own.

In conclusion, minimalist running, whether its with a minimalist running shoe or completely barefoot, is intended for you to use your feet the way nature intended; as a maximum shock absorber, rather than using a shoe that compromises the anatomical position of your foot and actually puts you at greater risk for injury. As with any new regimen or workout routine, do your research first, try it out, perhaps consult a podiatrist, and maybe you’ll like the way it feels and see less injury as an added benefit.

Gout: How to Deal with the Pain

Feet-tiveryluckyWhen you have gout, learning how to manage the pain associated with it is key. An attack caused by the condition causes the affected joint to become warm, red, and swollen. Luckily, the attack won’t last forever and there are things you can do to ease your pain.

  • Rest – Sleep is important for healing. While sleeping or resting, place the affected joint above your heart. Elevating the area allows your blood to flow more efficiently, helps with discomfort, and reduces the tenderness.
  • Use Ice for Swelling – A cold compress can help reduce the swelling of the joint. Use an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables and apply it to the tender spot. Allow the cold to work its magic for up to 20 minutes. Remove it for 20 minutes and repeat.
  • Add Heat for Pain – Once the swelling has gone down, add heat to lessen the hardness and pain. Be careful not to use the heat while the joint is swollen as it can cause the inflammation to worsen. Apply heat for half an hour once every 2-3 hours.
  • Stretch – To help with the inflammation and stiffness of affected joints, gradually flex the area a couple times a day. Don’t stretch to the point of pain. Yoga can benefit your condition as well since it offers you a chance to stretch on a regular basis.
  • Change Your Diet – When you have a flare-up, remove foods and liquids that are high in purines, for instance, alcohol, yeast, and organ meats.
  • Medicate – NSAIDs help with the swelling and pain of a gout attack. Before taking any medication, though, talk with your Boston foot doctor.
  • Talk With Your Podiatrist – There are medications made specifically for dealing with gout. Some work to prevent attacks and others block the uric acid that causes the attack.

You don’t have to let gout rule your life. Learn how to manage your pain by following the tips shared here.


Image courtesy of tiverylucky/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diabetic Shoes to Kick Diabetic Foot Problems to the Curb

Foot OrthoticsThe human foot really gets quite a bad rap to be honest. Not only do they take a punishment on a day-to-day basis just by bearing literally all of our weight while we run around from place to place, but they’re also sort of dismissed as being just plain ugly in most cases. With this in mind, it can be hard to remember how important to us they really are.

People living with diabetes need to be especially cognizant of how to properly take care of their feet. This is done in an effort to avoid foot ulcers and the more debilitating effects of neuropathy, a serious diabetic health complication. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase specially made diabetic shoes. The following is a brief synopsis of the important benefits of diabetic shoes:

  • Best Circulation – Improper fitting shoes can be one of the worst culprits of poor circulation, which can lead to severe problems for people with diabetes. Diabetic shoes are specially designed for a perfect fit. They will allow more air in for better breathability in your feet. Better support, more cushioning, and improved durability are some of the other benefits that will all lead to the best circulation your feet can get.
  • Foot Ulcer Prevention – Harsh callouses and foot ulcers can occur in shoes that aren’t fitting properly. If one of these nasty little nuisances becomes infected the health ramifications can be very troubling. Wearing high quality diabetic shoes will prevent an ulcer from forming in the first place, and if one already exists they will prevent it from constantly rubbing and getting worse and more painful.
  • Unknown Injuries – Because the feet of people with diabetes can become numb, they can often sustain a foot injury without even knowing it. Exercising your feet just in daily activities can cause complications of an unknown injury to become magnified, which can lead to highly problematic circumstances.

The bottom line is that if you or someone you know is living with diabetes, make sure they have all the weapons in their fight against this ruthless disease. Encourage them to purchase a good pair of diabetic shoes. In a lot of cases, health insurance will even “foot” the bill. Call your local Boston podiatrist to see if they offer diabetic shoes .

Boston Office
1153 Centre Street
Suite 5C
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 983-1900
Marlborough Office
340 Maple Street
Suite 405
Marlborough, MA 01752
(508) 303-8188
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191 South Main Street
Suite 102
Middleton, MA 01949
(978) 774-2800
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