Podiatrist - Houston
1140 Business Center Drive Suite 510
Houston, TX 77043
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By Aleisha Allen, DPM
July 01, 2015
Category: Nail Problems
Tags: Fungus   Toenail   nails   fungal  

No one wants to know that they have fungus growing on their body. The thought alone is enough to make most people shudder. When it comes to toenail fungus, understanding the risk factors enables you to take the appropriate measures to prevent this from happening to you.

Anyone who has toenails could potentially suffer from this condition, but risk factors that increase the odds of developing fungal nails include:

  • Frequent or heavy sweating. Fungal conditions are directly related to damp feet, so individuals who sweat often or perspire heavily have a heightened risk.
  • Damp or humid work environments. When a job exposes an individual to humid, damp environments on a frequent basis, he or she faces greater odds of developing a fungal infection.
  • Being male. Men tend to be more predisposed to this condition than women, which is often a result of career choices. Jobs that require substantial physical demands—which typically leads to sweaty feet—are more frequently filled with males.
  • Old age. The additional years’ worth of exposure to fungi, coupled with reduced blood flow, makes it more likely that an older person will have developed nail fungus than someone who is younger.
  • Medical conditions. Diabetes, circulatory issues, and weakened immune systems make it harder for the body to fight off infection.

If any of those factors applies to you, fear not! They don’t guarantee that you will get a fungal infection, only that you are more likely. That’s a key distinction. Knowing that you have a greater risk means that you can direct your attention to preventative measures like:

  • Keeping your feet dry.
  • Choosing socks that wick away moisture – like those made from nylon, polypropylene, and wool.
  • Wearing clean socks every day.
  • Wearing shower shoes or sandals in public places like gym locker rooms, pool decks, and communal showering areas.

The preventative methods for keeping toenail fungus at bay can certainly decrease your odds of developing an infection, but it is difficult to eliminate all risk. Should you develop a case of fungal toenails, Houston Foot Specialists can provide the care and treatment you need. Simply contact our Houston, TX office by calling (713) 467-8886 or schedule your appointment online and we will get started on restoring your nails to their natural, healthy condition.

By Aleisha Allen, DPM
June 24, 2015
Category: Nail Problems
Tags: Toenails   nails   black   discolored  

The Houston Area Road Runners Association (HARRA) is a volunteer-led organization for runners that sets out to support and promote the running community. This association connects 45 different running clubs and identifies areas that are just “good places to run.” If you run long distances, you might want to consider some tips to avoid black toenails.

The term “black toenails” actually refers to any dark discoloration, including brownish, purplish, and reddish hues. There are various root causes of this condition, including:

  • Physical trauma. An accident or something heavy dropping on your foot can cause darkened coloration.
  • Repeated trauma. As opposed to a single, traumatic event, a dark toenail can develop from repeatedly hitting the inside of a shoe during long-distance runs or while playing soccer.
  • Fungal infection. Severe cases of toenail fungus can darken the nails significantly.
  • Melanoma. The rarest—and most lethal—cause is malignant melanoma.

Any of these causes for the condition can be treated, but it is simply better to avoid black toenails in the first place. The following prevention tips can help:

  • Clip your toenails properly. This means cutting straight across, instead of rounding them. Also, keep them even with the edge of your toe (not too short).
  • Only wear shoes that fit properly. Your footwear should have a thumb’s width of space separating your longest toe from the front of the shoe. If your toes cannot wiggle freely, then you need a new pair.
  • Wear protective shoes. Avoid the risk of damage from a heavy object falling on your foot by wearing protective footwear, like steel-toed work boots, if your job requires you to move such items.
  • Ask for help. If you need to move heavy items—furniture, boxes of books—at home, be sure to enlist help.
  • Prevent toenail fungus. Protect your nails from a fungal infection by keeping your feet dry, wearing clean socks every day, and using sandals or shower shoes in warm, damp environments—locker rooms, shower areas, pool decks—where fungi thrive.

Perhaps you were unable to avoid a case of black toenails, so now what can you do? Easy! Schedule an appointment with the experts at Houston Foot Specialists. We will provide an accurate diagnosis, determine if there is any greater issue, and then provide the effective treatment you need. Contact our Houston, TX office either via our online form or call us at (713) 467-8886 today.

By drallen@houstonfootspecialists.com
June 16, 2015
Category: Nail Problems
Tags: Toenails   dark   black  

With the 4th of July coming up quickly, it’s time to start reviewing your many options for celebrating our nation’s independence. One that might appeal to runners out there is the 20th annual Freedom 5K, which starts at 7 a.m. on Lost Creek Blvd. If you are an avid runner, you may discover dark toenails from time to time, but without knowing the cause. Let’s look at what is behind this condition.

Dark toenails can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common for runners is bruising or even slight bleeding under the nail. This is often caused by the repeated trauma of a nail striking the inside top of a running shoe with every step. It can also happen as the result of a toe hitting the inside front of a shoe as the foot slides forward. Especially common for marathon runners, this is viewed by some as being a “badge of honor” of sorts for logging great distances.

In a similar manner, subungual hematoma is also caused by trauma. The key difference is that this typically happens as the result of a single event, like dropping something heavy onto a toe or having a foot stepped on with substantial force. In this situation, blood pools under the nail—which explains the dark spot—and can result in painful pressure.

Fungal infection is another cause of darkened toenails. When this condition becomes particularly severe, it can turn the nail to an almost black color. There are various treatments that can be used to handle a case of toenail fungus, and we can certainly discuss your options at our office.

In rare, yet quite serious, situations, a black spot under a nail could be an indication of malignant melanoma. This does not happen often, but it will require immediate medical care. Too often, this condition is caught in an advanced stage and treatment is not as effective as it otherwise could have been.

If you have discolored toenails and are unsure as to the root cause, make an appointment with Houston Foot Specialists and we can help. The knowledgeable experts at our Houston, TX practice will not only provide an accurate diagnosis, but will also prepare an effective treatment plan specifically for you. Call our office at (713) 467-8886 or schedule your appointment online today!

By Aleisha Allen, DPM
June 09, 2015
Category: Foot Health
Tags: Diabetes   Feet   barefeet   bare   diabetic   wounds  

At only about an hour’s drive away, Galveston Island’s beaches are a perfect getaway for Houston, TX residents who want to find either relaxation or bustling summertime hotspots. When you are stressed and need some respite from the daily grind, there’s nothing better than digging your toes in the sand or feeling the beach under your feet. Be careful, though! Going barefoot does leave your feet vulnerable to injury—and that can be bad news for those who live with diabetes.

It’s important to keep in mind that the Galveston beaches aren’t the only place where you might sustain an injury while going barefoot. At home, it is easy to stub a toe on a piece of furniture or step on something sharp if you aren’t careful. The same holds true for walking barefoot in your yard outside. These foot injuries might not seem like a big deal, but diabetic individuals need to be aware that little issues can become major ones pretty quickly.

One of the conditions that frequently accompanies diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves that report physical sensations to the brain. Numbness is a potential, and common, symptom of neuropathy, and this means that it is possible to sustain an injury without even knowing it. The danger here is that a minor cut or scrape opens the door for infection to set in, and your body has a diminished ability to handle it.

A major component of responsible diabetic foot care is to inspect your feet daily so you can find issues at the earliest possible stage, when they are the easiest to treat. Another one is to avoid going barefoot, no matter if you are in the house or outside. It is essential to catch issues as soon as possible, but even better to simply avoid them in the first place.

Protecting your feet is of utmost concern for individuals who live with diabetes. Avoiding the temptation to walk barefoot is one facet of diabetic foot care, but there are other essential steps, too. Let our caring experts at Houston Foot Specialists help you create a plan to keep your feet—and the rest of you!—safe from potentially serious issues. Schedule your appointment with our Houston, TX office by calling (713) 467-8886 today.

By Aliesha Allen, DPM
June 03, 2015
Category: Diabetes
Tags: Diabetes   Foot   exams  

The American Diabetes Association’s Houston, TX office estimates that 33% of children born in the U.S. after the year 2000 will be affected by diabetes. The good news when it comes to this widespread disease is that steps can be taken to successfully manage it. One of the most important is a daily self-foot exam. Use the following tips to help:

  • Get into position. The best way to examine your feet is to sit on a chair or the edge of your bed and rest one foot on the opposite thigh. Make sure you have adequate light, so you can easily see any issues.
  • Dry your foot. Use a soft towel to pat your foot dry. Start with the top and bottom and then proceed to carefully dry the areas between each of your toes.
  • Check the bottom. Attempt to make the sole of your foot easily visible by gently rotating your ankle. If you cannot, you may need a handheld mirror or loved one to assist. Be sure to inspect the entire sole, from heel to the ball of your foot. Stay alert for any dry skin, open sores, or irregular textures or bumps.
  • Use your hands. Run your hands along the entire foot to note any temperature differences or lumps that have developed.
  • Use your eyes. A visual inspection is important for easily observing anything out of the ordinary. Issues you may note include sores, scabs, corns, and bruises. Also, give a visual sweep to your toes and toenails to ensure that their coloration is normal.
  • Examine your toes. Carefully spread apart your digits with your fingers and see if there are any abnormalities between them.
  • Repeat with your other foot. Once you have conducted your diabetic foot exam for one of your feet, repeat the process with the other side. Just because one foot is cleared doesn’t guarantee that the other will be!

Keep in mind that if your self-foot exam brings any issues to light, you need to seek treatment as soon as possible. Here at Houston Foot Specialists we make that easy for you. No matter what you might have found, we are ready to help! Our goal is to ensure the health and safety of all our patients, so contact our Houston, TX office today by either calling (713) 467-8886 or scheduling your appointment online.

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1140 Business Center Drive
Houston, TX 77043

Podiatrist - Houston, Houston Foot Specialists, 1140 Business Center Drive, Houston TX, 77043 713-467-8886