People generally accept that sealed cans, drinks, and snacks are safe and uncontaminated objects, even if the seal is thin plastic. Nothing can enter the container to spoil what’s inside. Once that protection is broken, however, all bets are off. People avoid buying food with a broken seal because they don’t know what could have gotten in. That idea holds true for your body, with your skin acting as the seal. Skin problems can compromise your body’s safety, especially on the lower limbs.
An old saying warns not to judge a book by its cover, but you should be paying attention to—and making judgments on—the “cover” of your feet and ankles. Skin problems of the lower limbs are generally visible injuries or infections. They reveal that not all is well with your feet. They are unsightly, but can also open the body to infection. Some common problems that Dr. Sanjay Patel sees and treats include:
This condition, also known as tinea pedis, is fungal infection in the skin of the lower limbs. When the feet are warm and moist, they provide an environment for the fungus to grow and fester in the skin and cause damage.
These bumps are fluid-filled and develop in response to pressure and friction. As the top layer of skin is damaged, it painfully separates from the lower layers, leaving your foot vulnerable to infections.
Another skin problem that develops under pressure and friction, calluses are a thickening of the outer layers of skin to protect the foot. Unfortunately, the build-up can also put pressure on the soft tissues underneath.
Similar to calluses, these form when the skin is subject to pressure and rubbing. Corns, however, are smaller and raised, sometimes with a hard center. These also appear in non-weight bearing areas, like the tops of toes.
Cold air can actually freeze your body tissues. The deeper the ice appears in your skin, the more serious the damage. If not cared for in time, frostbite can actually kill the tissues in your feet.
This is actual tissue death. It occurs when some part of your foot loses blood supply for too long, and the cells die. Injuries, infections, immune system issues, and pre-existing conditions can all cause permanent tissue destruction if allowed to get out of hand.
Foot odor is caused by bacteria breaking down body sweat. The more your feet perspire, the more the bacteria produce smell. The sweat also clings to your socks and shoes, which can perpetuate the problem.
Diabetes can cause significant damage to your feet and cause ulcers to form. Because your body isn’t able to heal itself efficiently, they can become seriously infected and result in limb amputation if they are not properly cared for right away.
These bumps are causes by a virus getting under the skin. They can be uncomfortable to walk on and cause unsightly changes in your feet. The virus can be stubborn and hard to eliminate, but with some care, you can eradicate it.
Other skin problems can plague the lower limbs, of course, including allergies, burning feet, cysts, other fungi, lesions, psoriasis, and swelling. The key to treating any of these conditions successfully is to catch them early. Allowing them to fester provides opportunities for complications to develop, making them hard to remedy.
If you’ve noticed discomfort or changes in the skin on your feet and ankles, don’t ignore them and hope things will look better the next time you check. Take care of your lower limbs now before a more serious problem grows. Contact Dr. Sanjay Patel at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Milford and Hamden for an appointment or more information today. Call (203) 876-7736 for the Milford location, (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden office, or visit the online contact page to reach us.