With the COVID-19 virus now at pandemic levels in NSW, it has cut a large swathe through our social and economic lives and left many of us in uncertain positions indefinitely. For most that simply means avoiding scenarios and workplaces, but for others it means missing appointments are crucial for normal daily function. Podiatry is a profession that is highly specialised and takes years to qualify for. I can’t teach you everything in a written blog of course, but there are still a few tricks I can pass on if you are stuck at home and can’t get to us.
- Soak your foot in warm salty water intermittently for around 10-15 minutes and gently pull the skin away from the nail on the affected toe. This will soften the skin and the salinity of the water acts as a gentle abrasive to remove smaller bits of debris. By no means a full proof method, but can provide effective temporary relief and can be repeated as often as necessary.
- Apply topical antiseptic to the affected area. I see people with the infection exposed to the air with sock fluff and debris sticking out of it. As a general guideline, airing is not recommended if you can see the toe oozing fluid. Cover it with a topical antiseptic or antibacterial solution that can be purchased over the counter and then keep covered with a Band-Aid or similar. This will not cure the problem but will certainly be a step in the direction.
- Avoid the temptation to cut or pick the nail any further.
- If the skin is very hard with some cracking that isn’t painful, you can treat this at home quite easily. All you will need to do is purchase a good quality heel balm and a pumice stone or a pedi-egg. If you don’t have a heel balm, any moisturiser will do
- Soak your feet in some warm water or have a shower. Then you simply need to apply the pumice to the hard skin until smooth, apply liberal amounts of cream to the affected area and put a pair of socks on. The socks are important because they will prevent a fall and will keep the moisturiser on your feet until it has soaked in. You only need to wear them for around 10 minutes.
- This can be repeated daily, or multiple times daily if needed. Admittedly this one requires a bit of patience and some consistency, but the payoff is worth it in the end. Please do not use any sharp implements!
- These are nasty hard little things that can cause no end of grief. They are difficult to treat at home and we may not be able to fully relieve the pain on distance but I am confident we can reduce the pain temporarily.
- Follow the instructions I have outlined for hard cracked skin but pay close attention with the pumice to the affected area if you can. The more hard skin you can remove, the greater the pressure. Similarly the moisturiser is very important. Corns are formed by pressure and friction, if we can soften the skin and remove it, we will reduce the friction and the pain
- Avoid the shoes you know cause you grief. You know the ones. The boots that are too narrow or the flats with a seam that sits right near your little toe.
- Avoid medicated corn pads if at all possible. These usually contain an acid solution which can cause nasty burns and leave you sorrier than when you started out.
- Pad the area. A simple bandaid will suffice. Don’t be afraid to use more than one bandaid at a time, as often the double up of the dressing is more effective.
- Less is more if you are uncertain and doing it yourself.
- Use nail clippers and trim in nice straight lines across the top of the nail.
- It doesn’t have to be super short, just enough to stop irritating you or catching in your socks or causing pain in your shoes.
- Don’t cut down the sides.
- If your nails are too hard to cut, try cutting them after a bath or soak them in warm water beforehand.
- Give them a gentle file afterwards if you have one handy to ensure there are no rough edges.
- These things are going anywhere in a hurry. Continue to follow the advice your podiatrist has given you or email/call your podiatrist for specific advice if you feel you need it.
- Another problem unlikely to be going away in a hurry. Hopefully your podiatrist has given you specific information but if they haven’t this is a good general guide.
- Use a pumice or a pedi egg to file away the hard overlying skin on the wart.
- Treat the wart topically with some over the counter wart solution from your chemist
- Continue to treat as directed by both your clinician and the instructions on the back of your bottle.
- Ensure you keep the pumice/pedi egg away from other family members to prevent them from getting the infection.
Good luck! Hopefully some of these remedies will help get you through this time until you are willing or able to come and see us directly. We are now also offering a home service for those who consider themselves to be at risk, so please do not hesitate to call us directly on (02) 9542 3491 to organise this service.
Stay safe and stay healthy
The Team At Sutherland Podiatry Centre