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Dr. Terry H. Clarke on Skin Injuries of the Foot

Most individuals have experienced blisters, whether from athletic activity, walking long distances, or ill-fitting footwear. Blisters develop from friction on the skin and most commonly affect the heels and soles of the feet. Socks, shoes, and other footwear cause this friction through excessive rubbing. Moisture buildup in the shoe facilitates the formation of blisters. Individuals should take care whenever they see a red, heated spot form on the foot, as this indicates the beginning stages of a blister. Fluid will eventually pool under the top layer of the skin to prevent further rubbing. To prevent blisters, individuals should ensure that they wear shoes that fit properly and keep feet as dry as possible with synthetic socks, especially during athletic activity. Some may also consider taping toes or other areas prone to blisters or reducing friction with non-petroleum based jelly. After a blister forms, prevention of further irritation and infection becomes the main goal. Signs of infection include redness, pus, and excessive warmth. An infection demands the attention of a podiatrist.

Another skin injury, a contusion, results from a severe impact to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments, causing a deep bruise as blood collects in the area. A bone bruise, a severe and painful type of contusion, often requires medical attention. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation encourages healing until an individual sees a podiatrist. Subungual hematomas occur when a toe is crushed, which causes blood to pool underneath the toenail. When bruising and pain from this sort of injury are mild, an individual may treat it at home with topical antibiotics, anti-bacterial soaks, and anti-inflammatory medication. More severe subungual hematomas necessitate medical attention and a physician may drain the blood from under the nail. The physician will also examine the foot for other issues, such as fractures. In rare cases, a podiatrist may completely remove the nail, which eventually grows back without lasting side effects. 

About the Author:

A graduate of Temple University, where he received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Terry H. Clarke serves the needs of patients at Keystone Podiatric Medical Associates, P.C., in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Dedicated to providing high quality treatments, he participates actively in the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) and the American Podiatric Medical Association, Inc. Outside of his professional career, Dr. Terry H. Clarke dedicates significant time and resources to several humanitarian causes, including Action Against Hunger and the Modest Needs Foundation.


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