The Importance of Taking Care of One’s Feet, Part 1

 

Dr. Arash Hassid discussed different feet and ankle ailments.

Dr. Arash Hassid, director of the SoCal Foot and Ankle Center, addressed the importance of keeping your feet healthy during his talk, “Foot and Ankle Ailments,” at the Palisades Library community room on Monday.

TOENAIL FUNGUS

“A fungal toenail is one of the hardest to get rid of,” said Hassid, a foot and ankle surgeon who has been in practice for 14 years. “There is no magical cure or treatment and there is only about a 60 percent cure rate.”

He said the key is to catch the fungus early, before it gets under the nail. You may have nail fugus if one or more of your nails is thickened, whitish to yellow-brown discoloration, or brittle, crumbly or ragged.

There are several over-the-counter solutions, such as a 50 percent mixture of white vinegar and water (used once a day for 15-20 minutes) or applying Vick’s vapor rub.

There’ a medication, Lamisil, but one’s liver should be tested before it can be prescribed. “I usually do not recommend the pill,” said Hassid, who also noted that “nail polish is bad for fungus because it doesn’t allow nails to breath.”

If you are going to a salon for a mani/pedi, make sure that the instruments and the soaking bed are properly sterilized, Hassid advised. Some salons use plastic in a tub between clients. These plastics are thin and might have a hole: he doesn’t consider that a proper sterilization technique.

INGROWN TOENAILS:

This condition can happen with improper cutting of the nail, “round, instead of straight across,” Hassid said. Aggressive cutting of the cuticle can also cause the condition. “Treating with an antibiotic is unnecessary,” he said, and once again warned, “Don’t cut toenails rounded.”

PLANTAR WART:

This wart is caused by the human paploma virus and may be spread in showers, gyms and at pools. “It looks like a cauliflower and can be painful to touch,” the doctor said, noting it can be treated but there is a 18-22 percent re-occurrence rate and warned that corns and calluses are often misdiagnosed as the wart. “Don’t diagnose on your own.”

This is one virus and the condition can be treated with acids or injections or a home remedy (that has a 60-70 percent cure rate). Soak in apple cider vinegar and then put duct tape on the wart.

“We don’t know why duct tape works,” Hassid said, but doctors speculate that maybe the glue in the tape inflames the virus or that the tape prevents the virus from getting air.

CALLUS/CORNS:

The doctor doesn’t recommend over-the-counter medication for this problem. “The best thing is to moisturize it,” he said. “Wear socks (poly-blend) and change your shoes every day.”

Wearing shoes and sandals without socks can cause friction on your feet. “When you wear sandals, you overwork your toes because they have to grip.” Also, “if your skin is less hydrated, you are more likely to develop it,” Hassid said.

Corns, which are thick, hardened layers of skin, are on a toe or between a toe and a callus can be found anywhere. “They are developed because of increased pressure.” By eliminating the source of friction or pressure, the corns and calluses will disappear.

(Look for bunions, athlete’s foot and plantar fasciitis in “Feet,” Part 2.)

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