What can I do at home to manage my skin & nail conditions?
Once you understand the likely cause of your conditions, and have been treated for them in clinic, there are often a number of vital steps for you to take at home. These treatments & home remedies can determine whether or not full recovery is seen, and how quickly this happens.
Here are just some of the general treatments & methods we advise patients between and after consultations:
Callus & Corns
Keeping pressure of these areas and keeping the skin as soft as possible are the keys to slowing down (or stopping) these annoying layers of skin. Avoiding bare feet & bad shoes (as advised by your podiatrist) tend to make the biggest difference, while applying chemist-grade moisturisers can also reduce the hardness.
Wart treatment is mainly performed in clinic. The key to home management is cleaning or clearing every area of the home that may have come into contact with the wart and still be carrying some of the infection – thereby stopping it re-infecting the skin of anyone else at home. This involves cleaning the shower floors, wearing thongs in the shower, and sometimes even changing all of your current socks!
Cracked Heels & Dry Skin
Similar to calluses, the cracked & hard skin need to be removed and the hard edges redefined into smooth surfaces – helping eliminate the dry, painful skin that hurts when standing. This can be finished with moisturisers or even protective bandages where needed.
Tinea / Fungal skin infection
There are a number of antifungal creams, gels & sprays, all of which are beneficial and are recommended to different amounts depending on how bad the infection is. Once clear of obvious signs of infection, it is crucial to still maintain treatment (as directed by your podiatrist, at least once per week to prevent reinfection. The same home & socks hygiene tips apply as with wart prevention.
Home care of ulcers can be managed by the patient, to relatives, carers and district nursing services depending on the level of ulceration present and other health conditions which affect your healing ability. This will be advised by both your podiatrist and GP.
Where possible, basic nail care at home may be approved by your podiatrist, however for patients presenting for this type of care – it is usually due to the nails being too difficult for them to treat in the first place.
These pains-in-the-toeside are often not recommended to be taken on at home as this can usually make things worse. Education is provided on the proper way to cut nails, avoid ingrowns and knowing when it’s time for professional assistance.
Oddly Shaped or Coloured nails / Fungal nails
Where treatments can help cure the conditions (as with nail fungus), daily or weekly application of relevant ointments are the key to improvement. Changes to lifestyle and shoes (which may be causing pressure on the nails) is also important.
How common are these problems? Any interesting cases?
While most of the conditions noted above are very common and seen many times each day in our clinic, there are some cases which are either rare or just a little bit ‘different’ to what would normally walk through the door.
Mysterious dark nails…!
When a patient presents with pain-free, darkened nails which have been there as long as they can remember, and their father shares the same nail appearance – it’s a matter of beginning the treatments for all possible causes and working through them, from genetic, to footwear, infections and more!
Bleeding from tinea?
While skin can break between the toes when left too wet and infected by fungus/tinea, it can sometimes get so bad that rubbing or scratching of the toes also causes a break/bleed of the skin. Careful to avoid the mosquitos too!
Callus or… what?
This thick ring of what appears to be callus was seen on the front of someone’s ankle – not a typical place to get large amounts of pressure. While the patient believes they do kneel onto the ankle in a flat position at work, a bit of detective work is necessary.