With parts of our country moving in and out of lockdown and us spending more time at home, our feet can quickly become the last thing on our minds. With them still working hard for us with every step we take, your podiatry team here at My FootDr have shared a six-step routine to easily treat your feet at home.

1. Start by putting your feet up

There’s a good reason that putting your feet up at the end of a long day feels so good. In this case, you’ll want to lay down and put your feet up above the level of your heart. For example, laying in bed and propping your feet up on the wall, or laying on the couch and resting your feet up and the armrest. This position works with gravity to bring excess fluids down and out of the tissues of your feet and legs, helping reduce swelling, relaxing tired muscles, and leaving your feet feeling relieved.

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Frustrated by patches of dry, thick skin on your feet? Whether they’re causing you pain, making it difficult for you to wear shoes comfortably, or you simply don’t like the way they look, removing dead skin from the feet can give immense relief while being painless – when done safely and correctly.

Today, the Podiatrists at My FootDr are sharing everything you need to know about dead skin on the feet, including preventing it before it starts, and how to remove it safely. 

Why Does Dead Skin Build Up On The Feet?

We call this dead skin callus, and it develops as part of a natural process where your body responds to excess pressure or friction to an area of the foot by adding new skin in these specific spots. This creates a protective barrier which prevents the friction from damaging the skin over your feet, which may otherwise cause a skin tear, leaving you vulnerable to infection, pain and other problems.

If your dead skin appears flakier than thickened, then you may have skin dryness, an Athlete’s foot fungal infection, or other skin condition like psoriasis.

Are Patches Of Dead Skin On The Feet Dangerous?

Having patches of dead skin on the feet is not a reason to sound alarm bells, especially when present in small amounts without discomfort. However, it is important to understand the warning signs and what to look out for, particularly when the callus becomes quite thick. You should consider having the callus safely removed when:

  • It starts causing you pain and discomfort when walking
  • Wearing shoes is painful and uncomfortable, especially as you may develop other problems like blisters
  • You feel like you’re walking on a pebble
  • The callus dries and becomes cracked. This often occurs at the heels and if the cracks penetrate deep enough to reach the healthy skin beneath, may cause bleeding and leave you vulnerable to infection

Often, when we remove callus in our clinic, we find that there are also one or multiple corns present beneath the callus that adds to the painful problem. See the difference between corns and calluses here.

Safely Removing Dead Skin From The Feet

When callus is removed correctly, it is not painful, as it is dead skin with no nerve endings or blood supply. Unfortunately, we see many people after they have attempted to reduce their calluses at home but have created a set of new problems as a result. Some remove too much callus, painfully cutting into the healthy skin beneath. Remember – the callus developed as a natural body response to unnatural or excessive pressure or friction, so it’s important to leave a layer intact to continue to protect the foot, and never remove too much so that you cause skin damage.

Others use pharmacy medications, often acid-based, to ‘eat away’ at the callus. Unfortunately, these often come in size-specific coverings, and will get to work on whichever area of the skin they come into contact with – whether it is callused or not. This means the acid can move onto the healthy skin and cause significant pain and damage. 

The safest way we recommend to remove the dead skin is to have it professionally removed by your podiatrist. This is particularly important if your feet are already at risk from conditions like diabetes, problems with blood flow or healing, and the like. Here at My FootDr, we carefully debride the right amount of callus to give you relief and comfort while keeping your feet protected and minimising your risk of infection. If any corns are present beneath the callus or on other areas of your feet, we’ll remove these too. 

Prevention Is Better Than The Cure

While callus is easily treated by our experienced podiatrists, its development can also be prevented or slowed. Our top tips are for prevention are:

  • Avoid tight, hard and uncomfortable shoes that rub against the feet
  • Reduce areas of high pressure using custom foot orthotics
  • Keep your feet moisturised and prevent them from becoming dry

If you do have callused dead skin and want it gone in one appointment, we’re here to help. We’re proud to be your trusted local podiatry providers, committed to delivering exceptional service, every time. 

Book your appointment with us online here or call us on 1800 FOOT DR.

Do you have swollen feet or ankles after you’ve been sitting, standing or walking in a hot environment? You’re not alone. Medically known as heat oedema, this uncomfortable swelling generally occurs because the heat from your environment causes your blood vessels to naturally expand (dilate). As they do, fluid can leak into the surrounding tissues. Pair this with gravity encouraging the passage of larger volumes of fluid down into the legs, and you’ve got swollen feet, ankles and even legs.

As with anything, there are a number of extra risk factors that can make you more vulnerable to this swelling, so today, the podiatrists at My FootDr have shared what these are, what you can do to help prevent the swelling before it starts, and how to best manage the swelling if it’s already here.

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Every year, the average Australian takes over 2.7 million steps. That’s a lot of weight, pressure, heat and kilometres for our feet to cover – and often with little rest or breaks in between. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we thought we’d swap out the notion of roses and chocolate with a thoughtful gift that will be very welcome by your partner or yourself – caring for your feet.

Here are five ways that your local My FootDr clinic can help care for and pamper your feet this Valentines Day – while doing your feet a world of good medically speaking to keep you going through all those steps.

1. Cosmetic Nail Restoration

Cosmetic nail restoration is loved by both men and women, and those that:

  • Are unhappy with the look of their toenails
  • Are battling a fungal nail infection
  • Have trauma to their toenails from an injury or accident
  • Have medical conditions like psoriasis that are changing the appearance of their nails

It’s also the perfect solution to improve the appearance of toenails in one appointment for those that don’t want to risk substandard safety and hygiene protocols, and hence infection risk, reported to be found in many traditional nail salons due to a lack of sterilising instruments between use on multiple people. 

Using the KeryFlex proven nail restoration system, our experienced and board-registered podiatrists create a flexible, non-porous and realistic looking nail over your existing nail. It is durable and is unaffected by acetone, nail polishes or detergents – meaning you can paint it as you please! Aside from the immediate improvement in appearance, your natural nail will continue to grow out beneath the new nail.

Learn more about Keryflex here.

2. A Skin And Nail Care Appointment

Our skin and nail care appointments, often referred to as ‘general or clinical podiatry’, are comprehensive and all-inclusive appointments that immediately care for your nail and skin concerns, give your feet a fantastic tidy-up, and leave you feeling much more comfortable on your feet than when you first walked in. 

With the majority of our patients having these appointments every 6-8 weeks to keep their feet feeling great and in tip-top shape year round, we welcome you to experience this foot care, completed by our experienced podiatrists, as a one-off treat, too. Your podiatrist will take care of any lumps, bumps and even the thickest or curliest of toenails. This includes:

  • Immediate and pain free removal of corns on toes and feet
  • Conservative care for ingrown toenails (non-surgical)
  • Reducing thick, cracked heels
  • Removing or reducing thick and uncomfortable patches of callused skin
  • Trimming toenails, no matter how thick or stubborn
  • Clearing the sides of the nails from debris and hard skin build-up
  • Starting to care for plantar warts

We love these appointments due to the immediate relief patients feel when they put their feet down on the floor after this care – which is often the difference between feeling like they’re constantly walking on a pebble (of hard skin beneath their feet) and feeling like they’re walking on air.

3. Care For Cracked, Painful Heels

While some people get away with minor cracks that can be cared for in a skin & nail care appointment (above), after a long summer and many months of wearing thongs – which many still wear daily – cracked heels are a big problem around this time, that we see and treat very effectively with these specific appointments.

As cracked heels start with hard, dry skin that thickens and worsens over time, our podiatrists work to remove all the excess dead skin – a process that is usually simple and painless using our sterile instrument range. We ensure that no sharp edges are left that will catch on your carpet or socks, which could otherwise pull the skin, creating significant damage.

Treating cracked heels now, and not at the end of the summer, is a great preventative measure to stop cracks progressing deep down into the healthy, supple skin beneath. We call this the danger zone, as deep cracks in this area can quickly leave you vulnerable to infection by creating portals of entry for bacteria, fungus, viruses – and a great deal of pain – that you often can’t reach on your own.

4. Comfortable Footwear

Our shoes become the ground we walk on and determine what and how our feet feel. That’s why if you choose your ground to be a hard plastic, the chances of your feet feeling tired and achy, or the chance of you developing foot pain, is much higher.

This is exactly why so many of our clinics offer a footwear range so you can try on and get the best shoes for your feet – and not just that feel great, but fit your foot type, too. We have podiatrists and trained staff available to ensure you get the best fit and maximum comfort.

Don’t have a My FootDr near you? That’s okay! We have an online store too.

5. Treating Those Lingering Aches Or Pains

Finally, the best way we can think of to treat your feet this Valentine’s Day – or help your loved ones treat theirs – is to care for those lingering aches, pains or injuries. You know, the ones you may be hoping will get better on their own, or that you know you need to have seen, but it’s been a crazy last 12 months (which it absolutely has!). 

This is done through a biomechanical appointment, where our experienced podiatrists look at:

  • Which tissues, muscles, ligaments or structures are causing your discomfort or pain
  • The strength and flexibility of the involved joints and muscles
  • Your foot posture
  • Comprehensive analysis of your gait (the way you walk) and how your feet and legs engage during walking and/or running
  • Pressure testing of both feet

Alongside your history and a series of other questions, this consultation will determine the how, what and why of what’s going on – followed by an optimal plan to get you pain-free and feeling great!

Ready To Feel Great On Your Feet?

Our podiatry team are ready when you are! As the largest podiatry provider in Australia, we’re proud to be your trusted local podiatry providers, committed to delivering exceptional service, every time. Book your appointment with us online here or call us on 1800 FOOT DR.

Dark spots on the toes and feet are both a cause of concern for many patients we see and treat here at My FootDr. From wondering if they’re a sign of something serious, to being aesthetically displeasing, patients often ask us how they can get rid of the discolouration, fast.

To help, our podiatry team has shared the common causes of dark marks we see on the feet and toenails, what they mean, and what can be done to remove them.

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As having black spots beneath our toenails is far from the norm for most people, it’s not surprising that they can ring alarm bells and cause concern. Especially when we think back to favourites like Bob Marley who passed away at age 36 from a melanoma (which appears like a dark patch under the nail) that started beneath his toenail.

The truth is that there are a variety of causes for dark spots beneath the nails. Most of these aren’t pretty to look at, some of these can be associated with discomfort or ongoing problems, some are harmless, and in the least common but most extreme cases, some may be a sign of cancer.

To help, your My FootDr podiatry team have shared the top six causes of black spots beneath the toenails.

1. Blood Beneath The Nail 

This is what we call a subungual haematoma which translates to blood beneath the nail. There are many reasons why you may get bleeding beneath the nail, and before you worry, most of these are harmless and comparable to getting bruising beneath your skin.

Examples include impact injury, like having your toe stood on in sports or dropping something heavy on your foot, stubbing your toe, wearing tight shoes that press on your toes, keeping your nails too long so that they’re constantly buttressing against the end of the shoe, and the like.

Depending on the size of the bleeding and the spot, you may lose your toenail. If this happens, it’s likely that the nail will simply grow back with little harm done, though as toenails grow slowly, it may take anywhere from 9-18 months.

2. Toenail Fungus

While we traditionally know and recognise fungal nail infections as having a yellow discolouration, it may also be green, brown and black, too. You may distinguish toenail fungus from other causes of black discolouration by looking for other common features like brittle, crumbly or thickened nails. 

Again, fungal nail infections are not a cause for alarm bells, but they do require treatment to stop the infection from spreading to your other toes, and to others within your household. We highly recommend using anti-fungal laser to treat fungal nail infections as it has superior effectiveness over traditional methods like creams, lacquers, powders and tablets.

3. Bacterial Infection

Specifically speaking, we’re talking about a pseudomonas bacterial infection. Unlike nail fungus which often doesn’t pose any immediate dangers to our health, bacterial infections require immediate treatment because of the way they affect our bodies and put us at risk of the infection entering our bloodstream – which is when things can get very serious, very quickly. 

If you have this bacterial infection, it can pop up quite quickly to produce green-black discolouration on the nail. You’ll likely have a pungent smell coming from the feet, which may almost smell sweet. As this bacteria has a preference for moist environments, particularly the muddy outdoors, you may be a regular swimmer or have recently completed a hike or tramp.

You may also have a condition like psoriasis that originally caused damage to the nail, allowing the bacteria to penetrate and take hold more easily. Regardless of how it came to be, it’s important that you have this infection treated immediately.

4. Medical Conditions

Sometimes, black discolouration is a side-effect of other conditions like diabetes, kidney problems, heart disease and anaemia, to name a few. If that’s the case, managing the discolouration relies heavily on managing the original problem effectively. 

If your GP or specialist doesn’t already know about the discolouration linked to your other medical conditions, make sure you tell them at your next appointment so they can keep any eye on the progression – it can often be a handy indication on how your treatments are going.

5. Melanoma (Skin Cancer)

We had to get to this one eventually, right? There’s always a chance that the black spot beneath your nail is actually a mole, and that the mole may be a malignant melanoma, which is a dangerous and severe form of skin cancer. It may appear as a round black mole, or it may appear as a streak in the nail – which is what it did for Bob Marley. 

Melanomas aren’t typically painful or symptomatic, so it’s really important to let everyone know about it – your podiatrist, your GP, your skin specialist – and keep a close eye on it yourself. If you’re worried about a melanoma, definitely avoid painting the nail so you can monitor for any changes, like in shape and pigmentation, and signs that it’s getting bigger.

Over time, it may cause discolouration and changes in the areas surrounding it too. Melanomas are not something you want to take a chance with or ignore and hope for the best. You must have it seen to immediately.

6. It’s Your Nail Polish

Ending with our least concerning cause – for many people, wearing dark nail polishes over time can discolour their nails. Usually, it only affects the top layer of the nail and doesn’t affect the area beneath the nail at all. Which is great news as in most cases, we’re able to use a nail burr to immediately remove that top discoloured layer and fix the problem! Just book in for one of our nail care appointments.

Concerned About What You’re Seeing?

Nail problems should never have you worried or keep you awake at night – and if they are, we highly recommend trusting those instincts and having your nails checked. Our podiatry team will give you an idea of what the likely cause for your nail discolouration is and treat it accordingly – or refer you to a specialist if we suspect something more sinister or further investigation is required.

Book your appointment online here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

So you’ve lost – or are well on the way to losing your toenail. It’s likely your big toe, though any toenail can come loose, and it likely pops to the forefront of your mind anytime you put on or take off socks and shoes because you’re worried that whatever is left may catch on the fabric and be painfully ripped off. Sound familiar?

As loose toenails bring with them a myriad of questions including:

  • Will my nail grow back?
  • Will my nail look normal?
  • Why has it fallen off?
  • Why does my nail look so white now?

… your My FootDr podiatry team has given you the low-down on losing toenails, why it happens, and what you can expect going forwards.

Why Toenails Fall Off

First thing’s first. The #1 cause for nails falling off or becoming loose is trauma. This may look like dropping something heavy on your toenail, stubbing your toe, your big dog jumping on your toe – you name it. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, you might have a loose nail regularly from tight (but necessary) boots on the slopes. Sometimes, it can be as simple as not trimming a long toenail and spending a whole day on your feet, with the nail constantly pressing firmly against the end of the shoe.

Regardless of the cause, the end result is the same: damage to the nail and likely bleeding beneath the nail too. If your nails are painted then you may not realise, but many people will develop a black/purple spot beneath their nail – or across the entire nail. This is dried blood beneath your toenail. Unless it’s at the very tip of the nail, it’s likely that you won’t be able to clean the area until your nail grows out. Thankfully, if you can’t reach the dried blood to clean it, neither can any bacteria or other nasties, so in most cases, you don’t need to worry about infection or anything sinister.

What the dried blood does do is fill the space between the nail itself and your nail bed, otherwise known as the pink skin beneath the nail. As the two layers are now separated, there is nothing holding the skin to the nail in that area any longer. Hence, it becomes much easier for toenails to fall off – and eventually, as the nails continue to grow, they most likely will as they’re no longer ‘attached’ like they used to be.

Other causes of nails becoming loose and detaching can include:

  • Fungal nail infections
  • Nail thickening (onychauxis)
  • Psoriasis
  • As a side effect of medical treatments like chemotherapy

My Nail Has Been Loose For A While. When Will It Fall Off?

This really depends on the cause for it becoming loose, how severe it is, and where the damage to the nail originally occurred. For example, if you had some bleeding right at the base of the nail, it may take weeks or months for it to fall off – if it does at all. But if you had severe damage and your entire nail is currently black, it may only take days or weeks.

Will The Nail Grow Back?

In the majority of people we see, yes they do – but here’s what you should know. Anytime we grow new nail, it is produced by nail-growing cells in the nail root, found deep beyond our cuticles. They’re made of a protein called keratin, and it’s a constant process of the new nail pushing out the older nail at the tips, and hence our nails growing longer.

As long as there’s nothing interfering with the nail-growing cells and this process, then you can and will grow new nail. But, if you dropped a bowling ball onto your foot or burnt your toes and have subsequently damaged the cells to the point that they can no longer grow new nail, then it may not grow back.

Interestingly, some people choose to have their toenails completely removed and the nail-growing cells destroyed using an acidic substance if they have longstanding problems with their nails and decide they no longer wish to put up with the hassle and discomfort. So yes, it’s very possible for your toes to no longer grow nail, though we don’t see this occurring naturally too often.

Will The New Nail Look Normal?

This is quite similar to the previous question. As long as the nail-growing cells are healthy and your body is producing everything it needs to grow the nail, then it’ll grow back and very likely have a normal appearance. If there’s a problem with the toe, the nail growing cells have been partially damaged, or something like a fungal nail infection or other problem is present, then the nail may grow back distorted. 

It’s really a case-by-case situation and it depends very much on your personal history. But if you’ve just stubbed your toe or worn tight shoes or sports boots, then it’s likely it’ll grow back normal.

Why is part of my nail so white now, instead of pink?

The reason our nails have that nice pink colour is because of the tiny blood vessels that feed the nail bed directly beneath your nail. When the nail exceeds the nail bed at the tips of the nail, it appears white. The same is true if part of your nail is now white – the nail has separated from the nail bed, and so now appears white instead of pink.

Be careful if this is the case – dirt and bacteria can get trapped in this newly formed ‘cave’ between the nail and nail bed, putting you at risk of infection. To help, you can wash and dry thoroughly in this area or cut the nail back accordingly, being careful not to go too far.

Worried About Your Nail?

If you’re worried about your toenails, something doesn’t look or feel right, or you’re experiencing any unexpected pain or discomfort, your local My FootDr podiatrists are here to help. 

If your toenail is loose but hasn’t fallen off yet, here are a few tips on how to look after the nail:

  • Try to keep the edges of the nail as smooth as possible using a nail file to stop them catching on the edges of shoes and socks
  • Keep a simple dressing over the toe to reduce irritation to the area
  • Avoid tight, narrow footwear that put pressure on the nail
  • If there’s a risk of infection, monitor your nail closely, apply antiseptic as needed, and use warm salty water to help reduce the infection risk
  • If your nail is painful, bleeding, or there is any other cause for concern, always see your podiatrist immediately. Especially if you have medical conditions that affect your circulation or increase your infection risk like diabetes

Book your appointment online here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

You may be a parent wondering if buying your child that new pair of shoes is a good idea, or if they’ll just outgrow them at the speed of light like they did with the last pair. You may have gone up a shoe size recently and have found yourself wondering didn’t my feet stop growing years ago?

Whatever the reason you’re here, the podiatry team at My FootDr have answered this age-old question and given you all the ins, outs and exceptions below.

It starts with growth plates

Quick anatomy lesson: every single growing bone has one or likely multiple growth plates. Growth plates are specific areas within a bone made of cartilage where the body adds new bone to. Simply put: they’re how our bones grow. In long bones like our shin bone, there’s a growth plate present at both the top and the bottom of the bone.

Traditionally, feet stop growing when our growth plates harden

When we’ve reached maturity, as determined by our body and hormones, our growth plates turn from being softer and more vulnerable to injury to hard, solid bone. This makes them indistinguishable from the rest of the bone, and the body is no longer able to add new bone cells in there to grow the bone. Hence, we stop growing.

The process of our growth plates hardening is unnoticeable and not painful or symptomatic, so you won’t even know it has happened – and unfortunately in the case of your child, you won’t know until some time passes and their feet haven’t increased in size, that it has occurred. 

While your child’s feet are still growing and have these growth plates, they are vulnerable to problems like growing pains and fractures of the growth plate – which may even slow down the growth rate of the bone. If you’re worried about foot or leg pain in kids, bring them to your local My FootDr centre for a check up.

The magic number varies for everyone

As growth plates often close near the end of puberty, there is no magic number to work with. For some, this may be as early as 14 years, while for others, their feet may only stop growing around the age of 18 or beyond. Boys do tend to stop growing earlier than girls – but this is a generalisation. If your child is currently going through a growth spurt – their feet are almost certainly still growing.

Feet can change size in adults, but they don’t grow

When it comes to growing feet in adults, you’ll likely be right if you feel that your feet may have changed size, but this won’t actually be the feet ‘growing’. There are a number of conditions, causes and foot problems that affect the posture and alignment of the feet, which in turn affects their size. For example, if you were to go from having a nicely arched foot, to one that is significantly flatter, then your foot will be longer and wider, and you may not fit your normal shoes comfortably. 

Reasons for feet changing size in adults include:

  • Pregnancy – increases foot size due to the hormone Relaxin which loosens the ligaments and connective tissues, so the feet tend to flatten
  • Tight, small shoes – can cause our toes to claw and therefore our feet will appear smaller due to the reduced toe length
  • Thongs and similar shoes that encourage our toes to grip the ground – also encourage muscle and ligament contracture resulting in the claw or hammertoe position which can make our foot length appear smaller
  • Age – from our 50’s onwards, our ligaments tend to lose some of the strength and flexibility they once had, and stretch. This means our feet can get bigger and wider
  • Weight – as your weight increases or decreases, you may find that your foot size does too due to the added mass
  • Swelling – a number of medical conditions, as well as lifestyle factors, can cause our feet to swell and therefore influence the size of our feet – and definitely the shoe size we need to walk comfortably

Unfortunately, when our feet flatten, the tissues, ligaments and muscles in our feet are more easily strained and overused, which can quickly lead to foot pain. This is why often use solutions like custom foot orthotics to keep feet and arches well supported, maximising comfort and reducing the risk of injury.

Worried about the changes you’re seeing in your or your child’s feet?

While changes to the feet in both adults and kids can be normal, remember that foot pain is never normal, and that if you’re worried about something you’ve noticed then trust your gut instinct and come in for a foot health check. 

Our experienced podiatry team perform comprehensive assessments that look at everything from muscle and joint strength, flexibility and function, to a postural assessment, to a detailed video gait analysis and more. This gives us a complete picture of what’s happening with your feet – and what we can do to help.

Book your appointment online here or call us on 1800 FOOTDR

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s fantastic to see the kids decorating their school books, getting their bags and uniforms ready and getting excited about what classes they’ll be in. But what about their feet?

Having the right gear and care for their feet is an easy and simple way to help your child get the best start to the school year!  Two healthy feet can keep your student feeling comfortable, out of pain, able to run and play with their friends, and not miss out on school activities and sports.

To help, My FootDr has put together our top 5 ways to start this school year on the right foot!

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While for some, the thought of coming home, taking off your shoes and socks and putting your feet up after a long day feels like bliss, many Australians opt to keep their feet hidden because of peeling skin on the bottoms of their feet. 

As I don’t know why my feet do that, they’re always peeling is a sentence we hear often in our podiatry clinics, today we thought we’d share our four most common causes of peeling feet – and what you can do to remedy the problem.

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