When we think of a podiatrist, we tend to think of a doctor that treats broken ankles, hang nails, neuroma and performs foot surgery. But did you know, podiatrists can also treat several dermatology issues related to your feet?
Common issues treated include: Dermatitis, Athlete's Foot, Melanomas, Warts and Venous Stasis Dermatitis.
What is it? Dermatitis is a very common condition resulting in inflammation of the skin.
Causes/Symptoms: Dermatitis can occur when you have contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction, such as, lotions, adhesives, nickel, poison ivy and even medications.
Treatment: Treatment includes a prescription for topical steroids or moisturizers. Your doctor will also want to determine the cause for your allergic reaction and eliminate exposure.
Athlete's Foot (tinea pedis)
What is it? Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection that usually occurs between the toes but can also affect other areas of the foot.
Causes/Symptoms: Fungus thrives in warm, damp environments, which are commonly found inside your shoe, around pools and showers. Symptoms include: dry skin, peeling skin, itching, burning, swelling and blisters.
Treatment: Treatment includes a prescription for an anti-fungal, as well as, encouragement to keep your feet dry, and to wear proper footwear around pools and in public places like showers.
Melanomas of the Foot
What is it? “Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the cells of the skin that produce pigmentation (coloration).” It can occur on your skin, but also be present in your finger nail or toe nail bed.
Causes/Symptoms: Most cases are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds, but can also come from exposure to radiation.
Signs to look for on your skin- ABCDs of melanoma:
Asymmetry- one half of the spot is different in shape than the other half.
Border- border is irregular. The edge/ border is typically ragged, notched or blurred
Color- Mix of colors or hues are present. It is not uniform in color.
Diameter- Melanoma grows, whereas moles will remain small. A spot larger than a pencil eraser is cause for concern.
Signs to look for on your nail bed: A pigmented band, the length of your nail, that does not grow out with your nail. Overtime it can become wider, the color can change throughout the band, development of a nodule can occur, or may even cause the nail to crack.
Treatment: Treatment begins with examining area of concern and then taking a biopsy. If biopsy determines the area to be cancerous, your podiatrist will recommend the best course of treatment.
What is it? Warts are a viral infection caused by the humanpapiloma virus (HPV). They are often mistaken as corns or calluses. They occur when HPV enters the skin through a small cut or abrasion. Children and teenagers are more susceptible to getting warts, than adults.
Causes/Symptoms: Warts are spread by touching, scratching or contact with skin shed from another wart. If left untreated, wart clusters can form. Warts look like small rough growths on your skin.
Treatment: If self-care approaches have not helped, your podiatrist can provide you with a few options: prescription strength salicylic acid, Cryotherapy, minor surgery or laser treatment.
Venous Stasis Dermatitis
What is it? Venous Stasis is when the veins in the leg are no longer properly carrying blood back to the heart. This also results in blood building up in the feet, ankles and legs. “The pigmentation from the red blood cells stains the skin from the inside, and a reddish-brown discoloration develops on the skin, which is called Venous Stasis Dermatitis (VSD).”
Causes/Symptoms: Venous Stasis is when the veins in the leg are no longer properly carrying blood back to the heart. This also results in blood building up in the feet, ankles and legs. “The pigmentation from the red blood cells stains the skin from the inside, and a reddish- brown discoloration develops on the skin, which is called Venous Stasis Dermatitis (VSD).”
Early symptoms of VSD include:
- heaviness or aching when you stand or walk for extended periods of time. -swelling at the ankle at the end of the day.
- varicose veins
- skin is itchy, dry, red or sore
Symptoms as VSD progresses include:
- swelling beyond the ankle
- dry cracked skin
- red to violet colored open sores
- shiny skin
Treatment: Types of treatment include:
- compression socks
- mechanical compression to help move fluid away from the leg -corticosteroid creams
- vein surgery to repair damaged veins (such as placement of a stint)