Your one-stop place for foot issues of all types is a board-certified podiatrist like Yuko Miyazaki, DPM. In addition to sprains, breaks or tendon problems, we can manage various skin problems on feet and address common issues with toenails. Here are some that we see and treat often.
Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Athlete’s foot is a common fungus affecting more than just sports players. It is easy to pick up when you walk barefoot in public places, and grows quickly when your sweaty feet are closed up in damp socks and shoes. Medication usually takes care of the redness and rash, but you can help by keeping your feet and shoes as clean and dry as possible.
Corns, Calluses, and Blisters
These lesions form on your feet at areas of friction and pressure. Your body protects itself from the pressure by adding layers of skin cells, and the outer layers become dry, hard, and dead. Calluses form along the bottom of your feet and near bunions, and corns on the tops of bent toes (hammertoes). We can safely remove them, but treatment also involves shoe choice, care of your skin, and padding or orthotics that help relieve the pressure.
Friction can also cause fluid bubbles between layers of skin called blisters. You shouldn’t break a blister, as that opens your foot to infection. If it is large and painful, come in and let us safely drain it.
Dry Skin and Cracked Heels
Drinking too little fluids and exposure to dry air can cause the outer layer of your skin to dry out, leading to itching and small cracks in the skin—often around your heels. If these split open, your feet are more vulnerable to infection. We can treat severe dryness and coach you on a good skin care practices that prevent parched skin, including daily use of moisturizers.
Another common skin problem caused by a fungus is plantar warts that form on the sole. The area will resemble a mosaic of small, flat growths with little black specks in the centers. They are harmless to you, but may become painful and can spread to others. If they are serious or bother you, we can remove them with a variety of measures such as freezing, burning, or surgery.
They are exactly what they sound like—nails that are growing into the skin around them, usually in the big toe. They can be quite painful, and if they pierce the skin it can become swollen, inflamed, or infected. We can show you some home care tips that may help, but in some cases it is best to remove the ingrowing section of the nail.
Any microscopic opening in the skin near your nail can allow a fungus to enter and start feeding on the hard keratin. The tissue becomes discolored, brittle, and crumbly, and may have a bad odor as the problem worsens.
It’s important to catch toenail fungus at the earliest stage, when topical treatment has its best chance of working. Oral medications are quite effective for more advanced cases, but they come with certain side effects and require monitoring and blood tests while you take them (often for a few months).
Protect yourself from this bothersome problem with good hygiene and always wearing foot protection in places where the fungus is common—public pools, showers, saunas.
Nail Trauma and Black Toenail
There are many ways your nail can be injured: dropping something heavy on it, stubbing it, someone stepping on it, even repeated banging against the front of your shoe on long runs. This can damage the tissue underneath, making it bleed. It is that pooled blood that causes your nail to look dark blue, purple, or black. Mild cases usually resolve on their own, but sometimes the fluid needs to be drained or the nail separates from the bed and falls off.
Skin and Nail Care in the Greater Oakland area
For these and other foot issues, Yuko Miyazaki, DPM offers expert care in. Call our office in Berkeley, CA at 510-647-3744 and set up your appointment today. We want to help keep your feet healthy and ready for action!