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Posts for tag: Ulcers

By Crofton Podiatry
November 13, 2018
Tags: Diabetes   Ulcers   gangrene   smoking   drinking   nerve damage  

Who can be affected by foot ulcers? Foot ulcers are usually a result of poor circulation, nerve damage, and/or prolonged pressure on the foot. Those who have conditions such as peripheral arterial disease, kidney failure or diabetes are prone to developing foot ulcers due to complications of these diseases. Excessive smoking, drinking or sitting (yes, sitting) can also increase the risk of developing foot ulcers.

What is a foot ulcer? An ulcer is a sore or wound that is slow to heal. The skin can begin to break down and the wound can get deeper, even to the point of exposing bone!

When does a diabetic person get foot ulcers? Once a diabetic person experiences loss of sensation due to nerve damage and poor circulation, ulcers can begin to cause problems. 

Where do foot ulcers appear? Most commonly, ulcers tend to form under the balls of feet, along the arch, on the toes, and on the heels. These are areas that experience the most pressure throughout the day.

Why is it a big problem to have foot ulcers? When left untreated, foot ulcers can become severely infected, leading to gangrene and even amputation.

…and finally, How does having diabetes lead to foot ulcers?

When you have diabetes, your body has a hard time controlling sugar levels.

The direct effect is that having high blood sugar levels damages your nerves. This leads to neuropathy, which causes you to lose feeling in your extremities. When you cannot detect discomfort or pain in your feet, the rest of your body does not have the information it needs to heal sores or wounds.

A diabetic’s body also doesn’t send normal signals to regulate the circulation of fluids and blood, so the ulcer does not receive the nutritive healing factors it needs. If the ulcer becomes infected, it’s that much more difficult to heal!

As you walk and put pressure on your feet, it can cause that part of the skin on your foot to begin to break down and become an ulcer. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you may not even notice it until a couple weeks later, when it’s likely infected.

That’s why it’s important to do foot checks often and take good care of your feet when you have diabetes. If you notice the beginnings of a possible ulcer, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll, at Crofton Podiatry before you experience complications. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 or contact us online. Our podiatry team is ready to assist you at our office in Crofton, which also serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD.

Heading to the beach this weekend? Don’t forget to put sunblock on your feet too!

There’s a reason why your skin is the body’s largest organ. It covers every inch of us, giving us information about the outside world, through the magic of touch. But that also means that in addition to soft and cuddly sensations, the skin is also exposed to harsh elements like the sun, rough surfaces, friction from shoes, pathogens, and anything you might be allergic to.

The skin on your feet are susceptible to the following:

  • Blisters, rash, or hives: Allergies can cause your skin to react to certain substances like sock materials or grass. You may feel itchy at the contact location, and pain if blisters occur in response to allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Athlete’s foot: Dry, itchy skin near the toes (as with Athlete’s foot) can be caused by the fungus, tinea. The same fungus can get into the toenails, causing brittle, discolored toenails, or fungal toenails.
  • Rash: Athlete’s foot can be a cause for a rash on the feet, but autoimmune skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis can also cause dry, itchy, scaly skin and rash.
  • Corns and calluses: These are caused by chronic friction, typically on the toes or near the balls of the feet. As a preventative measure, the skin thickens and can become painful and unsightly.
  • Smelly feet: Foot odor usually occurs when there is an overgrowth of bacteria or fungi. They can be contracted in communal areas such as locker rooms or community pools and can live in your socks and shoes. If you tend to sweat throughout the day, especially if you have hyperhidrosis, there’s a good chance that the bacteria and fungi thrive and make things stinky. They can also cause an infection!
  • Infection: Any cuts, scrapes, or large wounds are susceptible to attack by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Any open skin allows for pathogens to enter and cause problems for your skin, including ulcers.
  • Warts: If you an open wound on your foot comes into contact with a surface in which someone else with warts has touched it, you are at risk of getting warts on your feet too. They can come and go on their own, but warts can become painful and continue to live in your body if not properly treated.
  • Malignant melanoma: While not commonly found on the foot, it is still possible to find an unusual looking mole on your feet, especially if your feet are often exposed to the sun.
  • Dry skin and heels: Just like the rest of your skin, your feet might become dry as well. The most commonly dry area of your feet is the heel. When you’ve got heel fissures, your heels can become dry and cracked, even causing you pain.

If you’ve noticed some changes in the skin of your feet, make an appointment at our Crofton, MD office to see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll. At Crofton Podiatry, we will use the latest treatment options to assess and take care of your foot and ankle care needs. Our Crofton, MD office serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD.

 

By Crofton Podiatry
May 30, 2018
Category: Foot health
Tags: Diabetes   Ulcers   cancer  

You have probably heard all about the negative effects that smoking has on your body. It has been known to cause health problems (and even cancer) for almost every organ in your body. But in case you need another reason to quit smoking, your feet and ankles can be negatively affected too.

The most obvious way that cigarettes affect the body is that the nicotine constricts the size of the arteries, making it more likely for them to get clogged. Additionally, when smoking, you inhale carbon monoxide while breathing, reducing the amount of oxygen you are able to intake. The carbon monoxide then attaches to hemoglobin in our blood, which prevents essential oxygen from being delivered to the rest of our body, including the feet.

What symptoms are felt in the feet when you smoke?

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • cold
  • soreness or pain
  • wounds/ulcers that heal slowly
  • pale skin
  • slow hair and nail growth

Smoking can increase the chances of certain conditions that negatively affect the feet. Mainly, smoking is more likely to cause Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Plaque can build up in the smaller arteries, making it harder for blood and fluids to circulate. This prevents essential nutrients from being delivered to the rest of the body, especially the feet and lower legs.

Those who have diabetes and who are smokers are an even higher risk of losing sensation in the feet. On top of reduced circulation, high blood sugar levels damage the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy), making it hard for the feet to communicate with the rest of the body.

When you think about the negative effects of smoking, you may not even remember to think about the feet, but they are certainly affected. It can result in many negative foot health complications, which we can help you with.

To get an assessment of your feet and ankles, make an appointment at our Crofton, MD office to see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll. At Crofton Podiatry, we will use the latest treatment options to take care of your foot and ankle care needs. Our team is ready to assist you at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie, MD areas.

By Crofton Podiatry
January 10, 2018
Category: Heel Pain

When it comes to foot problems, the balls of the feet and the heels tend to incur many of the most common issues. The heels in particular are prone to pain from heel spurs and discomfort from the surrounding soft tissues (Achilles tendon, plantar fascia). It’s important to pay attention to these problems so that they don’t lead to chronic issues or get worse.

And speaking of problems that can get worse, don’t forget about the skin that covers the heels. The skin is subject to a lot of wear and tear and can incur damage and irritation as well. The following are heel skin problems and what might cause them:

  • Blisters: Those who wear high heels may be all too familiar with blisters that form on the back of their heels. Actually, many shoes with closed heel cups that do not have padding can cause painful blisters. And don’t forget about shoes with thin straps in the back – they can cause blisters, but also dig into the skin if they are too tight.
  • Heel callus: When the heel endures friction or irritation, the skin around the area can thicken and harden. Ill-fitting shoes, repetitive motions, or standing for a long period of time can put extra pressure on the bottom of the heels, leading to thickened skin. However, the thicker it gets, the drier and more uncomfortable it can become. Those with diabetes with peripheral neuropathy are prone to developing calluses, as they lose sensation in their feet and do not make adjustments to reduce friction on their heels.
  • Heel fissures (dry, cracked heels): Friction and continuous rubbing of the skin around the heels can also cause heel fissures. This is common when wearing open-backed shoes, such as sandals, which can leave the skin on the feet to become dry. When the heels are dry and friction is present, the skin can crack and bleed. This uncomfortable and painful condition should be treated promptly to prevent worse symptoms, like ulcers. Those with skin disorders like psoriasis or eczema should be more attentive to the skin on their feet as they are more likely to have problems with dry, cracked heels that take a long time to heal.

The cold, dry winter air can make heel skin problems worse. Moisturize your feet nightly with foot creams to relieve discomfort and nourish the skin. Additionally, use padding and orthotic inserts to relieve pressure on the parts of the heels that may be affected. Orthotics can help keep the feet in place, reducing the friction that is caused when your feet slide around in the back of the shoe. 

Having recurring skin problems on your heels this winter? Consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry to get the right treatment. Make an appointment at our Crofton, MD by calling (410) 721-4505. Our team is ready to assist you at our office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

By Crofton Podiatry
November 21, 2017
Category: Diabetes
Tags: corns   calluses   Diabetes   Ulcers   gangrene  

As part of American diabetes month, we wanted to share with you how it can affect your feet. High blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can damage your nerves, leading to  neuropathy. This direct problem can lead to complications from even the smallest injuries or conditions.

It starts with neuropathy.

When diabetes is not properly controlled, your nerves are at risk for damage. In particular, the legs and feet begin to tingle, burn, and/or lose feeling completely. Treatments can be used to slow down progression and relieve symptoms, but once it has begun its course, diabetic patients become more at risk for foot complications because of neuropathy, including:

  • Poor circulation – Because the nerves signal how the body functions, damaged nerves can mean that blood does not reach certain parts of the body. You may experience decreased blood flow to the feet, which means that fighting infection and wounds is more difficult.
  • Ulcers, Gangrene – With neuropathy, it is more likely that cuts or injuries can go unnoticed. A seemingly small issue can become more complicated, since the healing process is slowed down due to poor circulation. Ulcers can form and deep infections can even get to the point of causing gangrene. When this problem is left untreated, amputation may become necessary to prevent further complications.
  • Calluses, Corns – Because you lose feeling in the feet, you may not realize how much friction your feet endure in your shoes. It can cause calluses and corns that thicken part of your skin. Ultimately, they can begin to break down and become an ulcer if left untreated. You should use a pumice stone when you see calluses and corns on your feet, and seek help from our podiatrist if you cannot get a good handle on it.
  • Dry Skin – The skin on the feet can become irritated or dry, without you realizing it. The lack of sensation and nerve damage contribute to your body not replenishing oils and moisture to the feet’s skin. Pay attention to your feet and moisturize after daily foot washing.

Remember to check and wash your feet daily, being careful not to burn your feet in hot water. This is an important part of taking care of diabetic feet. If you notice problems with your diabetic feet, consult with our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry before complications worsen. Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 to receive a thorough assessment. Our team is ready to assist you at our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.




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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

Podiatrist - Crofton, Crofton Podiatry, 2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25, Crofton MD, 21114 (410) 721-4505