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Frequently Asked Questions

One of my big toe nails is about 80% white in colour and I would love to know how to treat it.  

The most common cause of a white appearance over the toenail is a fungal infection. This can be treated but is difficult so the sooner you start the better. We have an information sheet on fungal toenails on our website here which explains the cause and treatments.


Can you please tell me the best way to treat a corn on the inside of my little toe?

Corns are caused by pressure on the skin. To treat them you must therefore reduce the pressure.  This can be done in two ways.  Firstly in the short term reduce the corn using a “Pedi paddle” – it’s like a little piece of fine sandpaper on a stick. Rubbing this over the area will reduce the thickness of the skin causing the corn to be painful. Then for the long term treatment, to prevent the corn returning you need to find what is causing the pressure on that part of your foot. The most likely culprit will be a pair of poorly fitting shoes.
Of course you could see a Podiatrist to treat the corn, it's quick and pain free. Corns can often be misdiagnosed so it could be worth your while seeing a podiatrist to make sure it is actually a corn in the first place. You can read more about corns on our website under common foot problems by clicking here.


I have quite a bad pronation... I do have orthotics, is there anything else I can do?

Pronation is a natural part of the functioning of your feet. Abnormal pronation on the other hand can lead to a range of problems in the feet, ankles, shins, knees and even your lower back. Orthotics should help relieve the problems caused by abnormal pronation; however they are usually part of a treatment plan that includes stretching and strengthening of foot and leg muscles and footwear advice. Footwear is an important key to successful orthotic therapy as poor footwear can minimize the effectiveness of the orthotic.


Other than corrective surgery or wearing flat shoes, are there any methods or aids to correct bunions?

Bunions can be treated conservatively using orthotics. Orthotics can prevent the bunion from getting worse, but they will not re-straighten the bunion. So the sooner you initiate this type of treatment the better. There are a number of bunion strengtheners available in pharmacies, online and through catalogues which in professional experience have never benefited patients who  have tried them. The reason for this is that bunions are caused by the way your foot functions while you stand and walk and these products do not address that. The same can be said for surgery. While surgery can straighten the deformity, if the underlying cause is not assessed and treated then it will return in time and you’ll be back under the knife. Orthotics gave you a safe conservative treatment option to go with wearing properly fitting shoes.
For more information on bunions read our common foot problems page – bunions.


I have a really painful heel (right foot only). Could this be a "bone spur"?

"Bone spurs" or "heel spurs" are common under the heel bone, the Calcaneus. In fact, it is estimated that around 70% of all people who have foot x-rays taken for any reason have a bony spur under the heel. The most common cause of heel pain is a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation within the long tendon that runs the length of the arch under the foot and attaches to the heel bone.

Plantar Fasciitis can be very painful and at times can make weight bearing impossible! The good news is that it is treatable with a conservative treatment plan that usually does not require surgery. For more information on heel pain, see our common foot problems page by clicking here.


What is the best thing to do about ingrowing toenails? I have found that if I can cut an inverted 'V' in the nail, it seems to relieve the pressure. Is there anything else I can do?

Ingrown nails form as the nail grows forward from the nail bed.  If the nail bed is misshapen, the nail will continue to grow back incorrectly. Podiatrists can help you with a procedure that removes the ingrown portion of nail and prevents that part from growing back again. Please click here to see more information about ingrown nails, and the myth of “V cutting”. 


One of my small toes has a deformed toenail which causes me pain when I walk in shoes, surprisingly it is pain free in bare feet. What is the cause of this? 

You probably have a little corn on the side of your toe nail.  They can be very difficult to see but very painful, especially in shoes as the side of the shoe presses on the corn. A Podiatrist will easily and painlessly remove this for you. Please click here to read more information about corns and their removal.


I have a Ganglion on top of my big toe at the first joint from my foot, it is very painful and I have problems buying shoes. Can anything be done for this problem?

Ganglions are not usually painful. If they are, it is likely to be because it is putting pressure onto other structures within your toe, or it may not be a ganglion.  Please click here to read more about Ganglions.


My Orthotics seem to be causing me to walk funny, they are two years old. Do I need to be reassessed?

Orthotics change shape over time with the pressure placed on them by your foot as you stand and walk each day. The changes are unpredictable, some will simply make the orthotic less effective, others may actually be detrimental to good foot function. Foot Mechanics use a recall system to ensure patients don’t continue to use orthotics past their recommended lifespan.

If you feel you are walking “funny” you should definitely have the orthotics reassessed.


I have had my toes operated on to try to fix ingrown nails, how can I make sure they don't return?

It is very unusual for ingrown nails to return after a patient has had surgery to remove the nail. Although other health professionals and doctors offer nail surgery for ingrown nails, Podiatrists are the specialists in nail surgery and can offer you a range of methods for preventing ingrown nails.  If you have been consulting a podiatrist for your ingrown nail surgery, ask how they have “removed the nail bed”.  The most common method is through chemical cauterization with Phenol.  Please click here to read more information.

 


l kicked my big toe against a hard object and ever since my toe aches.

A one-off injury such as kicking your toe very hard against an object can start a wear and tear process within the joint known as osteoarthritis. Hallux Limitus and Bunions can both develop from this arthritis in the big toe joint.

Orthotics can be very effective for both reducing pain and halting the bunion deformity so it doesn’t continue to progress. If left untreated the big toe can end up crossing right over the top of the second toe! Orthotics can be worn in a wide range of shoes, including gumboots.

 


What is the difference between having orthotics that are the length of a foot and the half-length ones?

The only difference in most cases is the length. Three-quarter length orthotics are used to go into summer sandals. Click here to view our Revere sandals range. As long as your three-quarter length orthotics still come down as far as the ball of your foot, they shouldn’t slip around as your heel or the ball of your foot will always be in contact with the orthotics when walking. Sometimes we will use Velcro buttons under the orthotic to keep it from moving if they are being worn in particularly open sandals.


I like to wear high heels, are they bad for my feet?

The short answer is - yes.  High heels are not good for your feet; however worn in moderation, the stress high heels place on your feet can be minimised. See this article for tips for wearning high heels: "Podiatrist's 'killer heels' survival guide for women who love fashion".