Welcome to the Senior Foot Care blog.  It's where you will find articles, press releases, information - and our thoughts! - on the world of aged care podiatry.

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Onychauxis

Onychauxis is a thickening or overgrowth of the nails which can come to be discoloured turning white, yellow, red and black. It is shown in both the fingernails and toenails and is existent in a number of different ways. If the nails are red and black, it is usually a consequence of dried blood beneath the nail plate, however it could also be a melanoma so it is best to get it checked.

What causes Onychauxis:

  • Any Change to nail plate/root/bed
  • Age i.e. metabolic change and poor circulation
  • Systematic diseases i.e. psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, poor circulation, diabetes, cancer
  • Fungal/bacterial infections
  • Trauma/ injury e.g. by dropping something heavy on your toe or repetitive pressure from shoes.

Treatment for Onychauxis:

Treatment of the nail requires addressing the underlying problem that is causing the nail thickening and implementing a special nail care routine to encourage the overgrown nail to grow out so that it can be replaced with a healthy nail. Special nail care routines could include:

  • Cut nails carefully. Soak feet in warm water for around 10 minutes and then use nail clippers to cut across the nail. Avoid cracking or splitting as this can result in ingrown toenails.
  • You can soak feet in a bowl of water with 3/4 tablespoons of cider vinegar; 3 times a week to soften the nail before buffing to remove the top layer.
  • The thickened nails may need to be reduced by a podiatrist if you are unable to do it yourself. Once this has been done, tea tree oil can be used regularly to keep the nail soft and to avoid infection.
  • Soothing care is essential

It is okay to apply a polish to the thickening nails. A clear varnish can help protect the nail and may also smooth the appearance and make the overgrowth less noticeable.

Prevention of Onychauxis:

Proper Nail Trimming: Trim your toenails straight across the upper edge rather than making them around at the top. The rough edges should be smoothened with a file.

Wear Light Shoes: Wear shoes that provide enough space for your toes to breathe. Try wearing open-ted sandals from time to time. This will give space for your toenails and let them grow easily. An injury to the nails can also lead to Onychauxis.

Rotrocalcaneal Bursitis

Rotrocalcaneal Bursitis is the inflammation of the Retrocalcaneal bursa, which is located behind the heel bone. It is a thin, slippery, fluid-filled sac that serves as a both a cushion and lubricant between the heel bone and the Achilles tendon.

Causes:

Repetitive use of the Ankle: Retrocalcaneal Bursitis is often causes by frequent ‘mini-traumas.’ These mini-traumas are often due to excessive walking, jumping or running uphill, which causes the foot to flex considerably. People who suddenly intensify their exercise programs without adequate stretching and muscle conditioning may get Retrocalcaneal Bursitis.

Foot or Ankle Deformity: A foot or ankle can make it more likely to develop Retrocalcaneal Bursitis. For example, some people can have a abnormal, prominent shape of the top of their heel, known as a Haglaund’s deformity. This condition increases of irritating the bursa.

Previous Injury: A trauma to the affected heel, such as inadvertently striking the back of the heel against a hard object, can cause the bursa to fill with fluid, which in turn can irritate ad inflame the bursa’s synovial membrane.

Treatment of Retrocalcaneal:

Many cases of Retrocalcaneal Bursitis can be treated effectively at home. One of the most important factors is eliminating shoe gear that presses against the back of the heel. Comfortable, supportive footwear and frequently resting the foot will minimise friction at the heel and give the inflammation a chance to reduce.

Following the R.I.CE. formula, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, is often sufficient to treat Retrocalcaneal Bursitis:

  • Rest: People with Retrocalcaneal Bursitis should avoid activities that irritate the bursa, such as jogging or excessive walking.
  • Ice: Applying a cold compress to the back of the ankle for about 20 minutes, two or three times a day may help alleviate symptoms and decrease swelling.
  • Compression: An elastic medical bandage, wrapped around the affected heel and ankle can help control swelling.
  • Elevating the affected heel: Siting down with the leg elevated on a stool or lying down with the foot elevated on a pillow can help reduce blood flow to the area, therefore reducing inflammation.

 

Heel Spurs

Heels spurs are a common source of heel pain. Heel spurs are a bony growth attached to your heel bone (calcaneus) and grow into your foot arch. Heel spurs are often painless, they can cause heel pain. They are frequently associated with plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the fibrous band of connective tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the ball of the foot.

Causes:

Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel bone, a process that usually occurs over a period of many months. Heel spurs are often caused by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. Heel spurs are especially common among athletes whose activities include large amounts of running and jumping.

Risk factor for heel spurs include:

  • Walking gait abnormalities, which place excessive stress on the heel bone, ligaments, and nerves near the heel
  • Running or jogging, especially on hard surfaces
  • poorly fitted or badly worn shoes, especially those lacking appropriate arch support
  • Excess weight and obesity

Other risk factors associated with plantar fasciitis include:

  • Increasing age, which decreases plantar fasciitis flexibility and thins the heel’s protective fat pad
  • Diabetes
  • Spending most of the day on one’s feet
  • Frequent short bursts of physical activity
  • Having either flat feet or high arches

Treatment for Heel Spur:

In case of heel spurs rest is most important. Active sports, running long walks etc should be avoided to start with. If you’re in a job that requires a lot of standing, take a few days off work. Rest (or reduced activity) is essential to allow the inflammation from becoming aggravated. Furthermore you can use ice packs ( place on heel for 5-10 minutes) to ‘cool down’ the inflamed area. You can take anti-inflammatory medication or apply a topical inflammatory (i.e. a cream) to help reduce inflammation. If you have pain that persist for more than one month, consult a health care provider. He or she may recommend conservative treatment such as:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Shoe recommendations
  • taping or strapping to rest stressed muscles and tendons
  • Shoe inserts or orthotic devices
  • Physical therapy

Slideshow