"OMG"...My Heels Hurt and My Toenails Are Ugly!

09/03/2009 03:53 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Dr. Steve Rosenberg Podiatrist, CEO / President Instant Arches Foot Products Inc. Instant Arches for Sandals & Fashion Footwear

Summer feet: cracked heels, nail fungus or plain old dirt!

It is summer time and flip-flops, sandals or open toed shoes are the footwear of choice. That means our feet are vulnerable to toe nail fungus or is it dirt disease and cracked calloused heels...let's see.

Nail fungus known as Onychomycosis can turn your toenails into a thick, yellow, flaky and painful mess. Fungus nails sometimes start out with just the corner of your toenail involved. The nail plate usually appears yellow or discolored in the tip of one your toenails first and then can later spread to other toenails. Fungus nails can detach from the nail plate making it possible for the nail to rip off if it gets caught in a sock or jammed into the leg of a table or bedpost. Once the nail plate is slightly detached from the nail bed dirt can get underneath the nail and cause the nail to have a dark appearance and turn black.

The question is, what is this mysterious material underneath the toenail, a fungus or dirt? Dirt can get underneath the clear nail plate and cause a dark spot to appear, confusing you to think "OMG" I have fungus! So check out your nails carefully and you can decide for yourself what those dreaded dark spots are underneath your toenails. If the nail doses not appear either yellow, thick (having a dry chalky flaky substance present underneath the nail plate) or disfigured it probably is not a fungal nail. Visiting your podiatrist or dermatologist is the first step in identifying and getting rid of your problem. There are over the counter topical solutions available as well as prescription oral medications that can be helpful in treating the nail fungus problem.

Another problem that can occur during the summer months are cracked thick painful callous around the rim of the heels of your feet. This can also be a problem that will drive you too a podiatrist or dermatologist. They can fissure and open up making walking difficult. Walking barefoot or wearing flip-flops and backless sandals causes them because of friction (continual rubbing of the skin on a hard surface). Having dry skin is another reason for your heels to fissure or crack. If this skin problem is not treated properly the skin could get infected. A few easy ways to treat this problem is by purchasing a foot cream with 40 % Urea. Urea will soften and moisturize the skin breaking down the thick callous formation. Another way to treat the problem is to use an abrasive file to smooth the tissue. Using abrasive files such as diamond files or even nail files are easy ways to smooth that thick tuff callous on your feet.

So, take care of your feet during these hot summer days and your feet will take care of you!