Foot Care: Time to get ready for sandal season

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With spring and summer around the corner, soon it will be time to remove all those layers of clothing, winter shoes and boots and bare your feet and toes. Looking good from head to toe soon will become important again. What better way to start preparing than at your feet and work your way up. Here are some tips to help you address those nettlesome problems.

Fungal infection
A common complaint among my patients has to do with the appearance of their nails. Discolored, thickened and brittle nails may be a sign of fungus infection. Several prescription and over-the-counter treatments are available for this condition, but most of them require use for several months. Oral medications are the most effective, but those afflicted should be tested at a qualified lab to determine if they are appropriate candidates for this type of treatment. Some side effects occur, but often they can be reversed after the medication is discontinued. Side effects usually affect 1 percent of those taking the medication.  To avoid fungal infections, make sure your pedicure equipment is sanitized. If you have sweaty feet, make sure they stay dry. Also, avoid walking barefoot, since fungus spores may grow in wet and moist environments.

Corns, calluses, dry skin
Corns, calluses and dry skin are also common complaints. Not only are these unsightly, but they also can be painful. The secret to avoiding corns and calluses is constant care and attention. Foot spa services, as well as visiting your podiatrist, can set you on a track to eliminating and avoiding these problems. If you visit a pedicurist, make sure he or she is a licensed professional so that your care is being handled by someone who has expertise in this area.  Foot spa services provide more concentrated care to problem areas.

Unwanted hair
Another major summer complaint is the unsightly presence of unwanted hair. Traditional methods of hair removal include shaving, tweezing and electrolysis. These methods, although effective, can be painful and costly. Moreover, they are not permanent. Pulsed light and laser treatments remove unwanted hair permanently from the fairest to the darkest skin with safety, comfort and speed. Most treatments require several sessions to effectively remove unwanted hair permanently. Treatments are also more affordable now. Not everyone, however, is a candidate for this type of treatment. Be sure to consult your doctor before going this route.

Spider veins
Spider veins in the legs and feet are very unsightly. Traditional treatments include injection with a sclerosing agent to remove the unwanted veins and surgery. Although these treatments may be effective, they also can be costly and sometimes painful. Laser treatments are available to remove or reduce spider veins. This method is noninvasive and very effective. Consult your doctor for more information.

There’s no time like the present to start getting ready, then go!   

Jean V. Archer is a foot specialist qualified in podiatric medicine and surgery. She is on staff at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in Forest Hills, N.Y., and is the owner of Eden Spa Foot Care in Richmond Hill, N.Y.