The pursuit of healthy skin and nails is about more than just good looks (though that’s important, too!). As your body’s outer barrier, they also protect your bones, organs, and internal systems from injury, infection, and damage.
As they bear your full weight as you walk, run, and play every day, your feet are especially vulnerable to this kind of damage. That’s why Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center is committed to providing the highest level of skin and nail care for our patients, whether the condition is “merely” cosmetic in nature or poses more significant health risks.
Some of the more common conditions we see are described below.
This condition is one of the most common that we see in our office, and also one of the most satisfying to treat. If you’ve ever had one—or worse, tried to remove it yourself—you know how painful they can be. The procedure is quite simple and fairly painless—numb the toe, pop out the nail margin, bandage you back up and give you any antibiotics you might need. Seeing the relief on the faces of patients who’ve been struggling with ingrown toenails for months or even years is one of the best things about the job!
This unsightly infection is typically caused by exposure to damp environments and can be very tough to eradicate—your toes don’t get the kind of blood flow needed for your body to fight the infection itself. The nails may become yellowed, thickened, brittle and ragged, and can even produce an odor. Early identification and treatment will improve your odds of getting rid of the infection; treatment methods may include oral antifungal medication or laser treatment at our Wheat Ridge office.
Common among runners, black toenails are usually the result of repeated trauma. Blood pools under the nail, a phenomenon known as a subungual hematoma, and may eventually cause it to fall off. If more than a quarter of the nail is discolored, you’re experiencing significant pain, or you notice other symptoms like odor, fever, or chills, please contact us right away—you may be at increased infection risk.
A very common skin infection, athlete’s foot is caused by fungi that grow in warm, dark environments and can leave the tops of your feet and the spaces between your toes red, itchy, and cracked. Fortunately, most cases can be treated at home using topical antifungals, but if consumer products aren’t cutting it, we can prescribe stronger medication.
Corns and Calluses
These are patches of thickened skin that are typically caused by excess friction. Calluses tend to appear on load-bearing areas (like your soles or heels), while corns form on toes and the tops of your feet due to friction from shoes that don’t quite fit. Corns especially can be painful, and can pose a significant infection risk to patients with diabetes. Fortunately, we can help trim corns and calluses if necessary, and/or supply you with medicated patches, shoe inserts, or recommendations on new shoes to try.
These are quite common in children, but can appear on people of all ages. Warts are spread virally through contact with infected surfaces—usually moist, damp environments—and while they are medically non-serious, they are definitely ugly and can be painful if they appear on your soul and have to bear your full weight. See us about removal strategies such as salicylic acid or liquid nitrogen.
Also known as heel fissures, cracked heels are at best an uncomfortable, unsightly nuisance. At worst, they can lead to a serious medical issue, especially if you have diabetes or other vascular, nerve, or immunodeficiency issues. Deep fissures can cause bleeding and, if not cared for, infection. Fortunately, vigilant home care, once- or twice-daily moisturizing, and being smart about footwear choices can make a big difference, but give us a call if problems persist or if you aren’t sure how to care for your cracked heels properly.
When your skin or nails are cracked, fissured, infected, or suffering other problems, your whole body suffers. If you’re experiencing any of the above issues, or you have any other concerns with the health of your skin or nails, call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center today at (303) 423-2520 to set an appointment at one of our Denver-area offices. We hope to see you soon!