Dry Skin

What causes Dry Skin on the Feet?
Dry skin occurs when the outer layer of the top layer of skin becomes dehydrated. Dehydrated skin becomes less elastic and is prone to split and crack. Dry skin is prone to infection, both fungal and bacterial, as the cracks provide a portal of entry into the body.

  1. Medications: certain medications have a side effect of dehydrating the body. Make sure to discuss how much fluid intake is needed to compensate for a certain medication, or switching to a different medication if possible.
  2. Athlete’s Foot: a fungal infection of the skin or nails of the feet causes dry, flaky skin.
  3. Excessive Washing: washing your feet in excess can cause dry skin.
  4. Detergents: a reaction to certain detergents in your body soap and laundry detergent may be causing dry skin.
  5. Aging: as we age, we can become dehydrated more easily. In addition, our circulation and nerve and hormonal function may deteriorate, which each by itself can cause dry skin.
  6. Medical Conditions: certain medical conditions such as thyroid imbalance and some autoimmune disorders may cause dry skin.


How to Treat or Prevent Dry Skin?

Over-the-counter lotions, creams and moisturizers help to manage the dryness. Stronger prescription creams may be necessary for more severe cases. Dr. Kraft can discuss various treatments, including some more organic, effective solutions.

Do not wash your feet too often. Avoid bubble baths, fragrant soaps, and other products that may dry your skin. Pat your skin dry after bathing, instead of rubbing the towel over your feet. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water because the heat from the water can contribute to your dry skin.

Moisturize after each shower or every time your feet come in contact with water. Never apply moisturizer between your toes, since this area is already moist.

Wear shoes and socks which allow your feet to breathe.

Sinus Tarsi Syndrome

The sinus tarsi canal is a cavity on the lateral (outer) side of the foot in front of the ankle. A number of ligaments, blood vessels and nerves pass through the sinus tarsi. The sinus tarsi space is filled with many connective tissues that contribute to the stability and the proprioception of the ankle (proprioception is the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself). In sinus tarsi syndrome, the ligaments around the sinus tarsi—the interosseous and cervical ligaments—are injured, causing instability of the sub-talar joint. This joint allows inversion and eversion of the foot, which is the ability to move the foot in toward the body or away from the body. With instability of the sub-talar joint, these movements are exaggerated. This causes stress across the sinus tarsi tissues, which leads to inflammation and ankle pain characteristic of sinus tarsi syndrome.

Symptoms of sinus tarsi syndrome occur gradually and are usually progressive.  If you have injured the ankle, the symptoms of the initial injury tend to never fully resolve, so even though the injured ligament has healed, you are left with pain due to the resultant instability and irritation of the sinus tarsi area.  The most common sinus tarsi symptoms are:
1)  Pain: tends to be localized to the sinus tarsi area and feels deep inside.  Gets worse with prolonged activities such as walking or running and eases with rest
2)  Instability: especially when exercising on uneven ground or slopes, when jumping or quickly changing direction, a feeling of unsteadiness when walking, especially when on uneven surfaces
3)  Stiffness: the ankle may feel stiff first thing in the morning and then improve as you get moving around and loosen up
4)  Tenderness to Touch: around the outside and front of the ankle
5)  Pain with Ankle Movements: especially inversion (turning the sole of the foot inwards) and plantar-flexion (pointing the foot down)

When diagnosed early, a full recovery can be made in just a few weeks.  However, if the problem is not addressed in the early stages sinus tarsi pain can become a chronic problem.  Treatment usually consists of the following:

Treatment usually consists of the following:
1) Rest: This is essential as any activities triggering pain within the sinus tarsi needs to be avoided, as this will allow time for the injured tissues to heal.  This may require the use of crutches and or an ankle brace in the short term.  The most common cause of prolonged pain from sinus tarsi syndrome is failure to rest from aggravating activities.

Toe Pain

Why does my toe hurt?
There are many reasons why a toe can hurt. Here are a few reasons why a toe can hurt:

  1. Infection- the skin in between the toes is a moist environment, and more vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections. Any small crack in the skin can be the beginning of an infection.
  2. Over-activity- any increase in activity beyond what your body is used to can cause stress to the joints and ligaments of the toe.
  3. Toe sprain- mechanically stubbing the toe or catching it on a piece of furniture can cause immediate pain and swelling of the toe. If the swelling persists, it can become a “sausage toe”, which can cause residual pain.
  4. Arthritis- some forms of arthritis symptoms first start in the small joints of the toe.
  5. Improper fitting shoe gear- wearing shoes too small or too large for your feet can cause toes to hurt.
  6. Tight heel (Achilles tendon) cords- causing toes to curl and become fatigued.
  7. Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, inherited blister conditions, ingrown toenails, corns.

Heel Pain

Why does my heel hurt?
Heel pain has many different causes. Some of the reasons are listed below:

  1. Bony arch of foot is falling, causing stress to the ligaments that attach to the heel bone.
  2. Arthritis- many different types of swelling in joints can also cause heel bone spurs.
  3. Hormonal changes can affect areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bone. Our feet are more vulnerable during pregnancy and peri-menopause for females, and changes in testosterone and thyroid hormones can also cause stress to the plantar fascial ligament which can then be felt as heel pain.
  4. Reduced bone density- osteopenia and osteoporosis can make the heel bone more vulnerable to stress fractures.
  5. Over-activity- a sudden increase in activity beyond what we are normally used to can cause stress to our heel bone and injury to the plantar fascia that attaches to the heel bone.
  6. Worn out shoes- Wearing the same pair of shoes for more than six months or 500 miles can cause lack of support to the feet when walking on hard surfaces.
  7. Changing the shoes from wearing structural support many miles and then changing into thong sandals with no support.
  8. Tight leg muscles, which lead to tighter ligaments on the bottom of the foot.
  9. Stepping on a sharp object, glass, or splinter and not noticing the object until it travels deeper into the heel.
  10. Viral lesions or warts on the bottom of the heel.
  11. Deep cracks or fissures in the skin around the perimeter of the heel.
  12. Previous trauma to the heel bone that has been reactivated due to recent trauma of stepping onto heel from a height.
  13. Nerve entrapments or inflammation of nerves sending messages to feet.
  14. Spinal cord issues- bone spurs on vertebrae, arthritis, sciatic nerve pain, tumors of spine.