An estimated 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves that connect the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — to the rest of the body.

Peripheral neuropathy can involve various different nerve types, including motor, sensory, and autonomic nerves. It can also be categorized by the size of the nerve fibers involved, large or small.

In the world of podiatry, most cases of peripheral neuropathy are found in the feet and develop from nerve damage caused by diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy can occur in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce the insulin necessary to convert glucose into the energy that the body needs. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly. It has been estimated that between 60 to 70 percent of diabetics will deal with some form of neuropathy in their lifetime, compared to only a 25 to 30 percent chance for non-diabetics.

The condition can also manifest itself in the feet as a side effect from certain medications, neurological disorders, arthritis or as a result from a traumatic injury. As of today, more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy have been identified, each with its own symptoms and prognosis, and are classified according to the type of damage to the nerves have sustained.

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A growing redness of the skin can often signal the beginning of a much more unpleasant condition – painful blisters.

Painful Blisters (SusanLesch / Wikimedia Commons)
Painful Blisters (SusanLesch / Wikimedia Commons)

Blisters are fluid-filled sacs that resemble fleshy bubbles on the surface of the skin. They most commonly appear on the feet as the result of friction from shoes that don’t fit properly. If the fluid sack is ruptured, blisters can become infected and begin to form pus, thus making the already lingering issue even more difficult to deal with.

There are many causes of blisters, including:

Irritation: One of the most common causes of blisters is skin irritation caused by friction or exposure to extreme cold (frostbite) or heat (sunburn). In some other cases, blisters are caused by irritation from contract with certain chemical and could eventually lead to dermatitis.

Allergies: Allergic contact dermatitis, a form of dermatitis or eczema, may result in blisters. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by an allergy to a chemical or poison. The majority of these poisons are found commonly in nature in plants like poison ivy and poison oak.

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There are few podiatric ailments more cosmetically unpleasant than toenail fungal infections, also known as onychomycosis, which spread over time and can eventually destroy the nail if left untreated.

Nail fungal infections are typically caused by a dermatophyte fungus, which requires keratin for growth and spreads by direct contact, but can also manifest from yeasts and molds.

Although nail fungus can attack both the hands and the feet, the condition occurs far more often in toenails due to the fact that your feet spend the majority of the day confined to your shoes. The dark, moist environment inside your shoes makes it easy for fungi to not only grow, but thrive.

It’s often hard to detect a fungal infection before the problem becomes a visible nuisance as these infections tend to be painless and remain out of sight for the majority of your day.

A toenail fungal infection isn’t pleasant and can lead to a variety of issues including toenail discoloration, foul odor, discharges, lifting toenail or the complete loss of a toenail.

If you fail to take the preventative methods and become infected, toenail fungus can sometimes take months to remove as the infection can often be resistant to numerous treatments.

At Delray Beach Podiatry, we’d like to help you avoid this ordeal entirely with these helpful tips to keep your toes free of fungus:

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You wake up in the morning, still drowsy and attempting to mentally map out your entire day, you step too close to a piece of furniture on your way to the kitchen … and the next thing you know, you’re grabbing your toe in pain.

It has happened to all of us, even to those who claim to have perfect coordination.

The pain felt from stubbing your toe can be unbearable given that the area is packed densely with nerve endings. Additionally, each of your toes consists of several small bones, which can break or become disjointed in the process.

After the initial pain subsides, however, it can become easier to go about our day and move past the immense pain that briefly felt like it would never end. However, what if the pain doesn’t go away? While most incidents in which you stub your toe result in no injury, there are times when a stubbed toe needs to be treated.

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect system for identifying if you have a broken toe or a stubbed toe, but the easiest way is to look for the symptoms of a broken one.

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Medically known as bromodosis, smelly feet are a common year-round problem, especially for those living in the torrid climate of South Florida.

This unpleasant foot odor occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria that live on your skin and in your shoes, producing an acid byproduct that can leave you holding your nose in disgust.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely stop your feet from sweating, regardless of the temperature or time of year. There are roughly 250,000 sweat glands in your feet — the largest concentration of sweat glands in the entire body — that produce around a pint of moisture every day. And unlike sweat glands elsewhere in the body, the sweat glands in your feet secrete all the time, not just in response to heat or exercise.

The main causes of foot odor are:

Poor personal hygiene: By not washing your body regularly, you fail to slow down the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

Hormones: You excrete more sweat during hormonal changes, meaning teenagers going through puberty and pregnant women are at a higher risk for foot odor.

Fungal Infections: Any sort of fungal infection on your feet, such as athlete’s foot, can create foot odor.

Hyperhidrosis: A medical condition that causes your body to sweat more than usual.

Stress: Anxiety and stress trigger the release of a stress hormone called “cortisol,” which in turn stimulates the sweat glands.

The best way to prevent foot odor is to practice good personal hygiene and not wear the same pair of shoes every day. It’s also important to clean your feet daily and dry them thoroughly after washing. Additionally, you should also change your socks at least once per day, especially if you live an active life.

Other food odor prevention methods include:

Placing medicated insoles, which have a deodorizing effect, in your shoes

Weaingr leather or canvas shoes, as they let your feet breathe, unlike plastic ones

Sprinkling baking soda in your shoes to kill bacteria

Applying odor eaters and powders to your feet

Keeping your feet dry as much as possible

There are also several at-home soaking treatments that can be used to eliminate the bacteria that causes foot odor. Before trying any of these treatments, however, it is recommended that you talk with your primary care physician or a podiatrist first.

These easy-to-prepare foot soaks include:

Salt: Salt pulls moisture out of your skin, reducing the amount of bacteria that can survive there. Soak your feet for approximately twenty minutes each day and do not rinse your feet after removing them from the water. Instead, dry them thoroughly and go about your day.

Tea: The tannic acid in tea helps to close your pores, reducing the amount you sweat. Experts say to soak your feet in tea for approximately 30 minutes a day for one week.

Baking soda: Add 1 tbsp of baking soda for every quart of water, creating a solution in which bacteria struggles to grow.

If you are suffering from foot odor, you should always consider seeing a podiatrist before attempting to cure the problem yourself as he or she may be able to recommend a specific product for your case.

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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:

BOCA/DELRAY

16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445

561-499-0033

BOYNTON BEACH

8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472

561-499-0033