Five Myths About Foot Care
Contact: Dr. Sara Borkosky, AACFAS
Five myths about foot care
From bunions to broken toes, local foot surgeon has heard it all
(Mauldin, SC – 5/5/2014) “Don’t cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way!”
Old wives’ tales and myths like that example are fun to laugh at. We believed them as children. “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” But there are other myths that are no laughing matter, especially when they involve your health.
From bunions to broken toes, foot surgeon Sara Borkosky DPM, AACFAS has heard it all. Dr. Borkosky treats patients at her office in Mauldin, SC. She shares five myths about foot care and the realities behind them.
Myth: Cutting a notch (a “V”) in a toenail will relieve the pain of ingrown toenails.
Reality: Toenails grow just like your hair: from the root outward. In this case the root is located at the base or cuticle of the nail. When a toenail is ingrown, the nail curves downward and grows into the skin beginning back at the root. Cutting a “V” in the toenail does not affect its outward growth. New nail growth will continue to curve downward and into the skin from the root forward. Cutting a “V” may actually cause more problems and is painful in many cases. The only permanent solution to chronically ingrown toenails is removal of part or all of the toenail which can be performed in the office under local numbing to the toe.
Myth: My foot can’t be broken if I can walk on it.
Reality: It’s entirely possible to walk on a foot with a broken bone. “It depends on your threshold for pain, as well as the severity of the injury,” says Dr. Borkosky. But it’s not a smart idea. Walking with a broken bone can cause further damage.
It is crucial to stay off an injured foot until diagnosis by a foot surgeon. Until then, apply ice and elevate the foot to reduce pain.
Myth: Shoes cause bunions.
Reality: Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types make a person prone to developing a bunion. While wearing shoes that crowd the toes together can, over time, make bunions more painful, shoes themselves do not cause bunions. Numerous conservative therapies are available to help reduce the irritation and pain caused by a bunion and can include: splints, toe spacers, wider shoe gear, and orthotics. While these measures can allow for reduction in pain, the only surgical correction of the deformity will realign the foot and provide better mechanics long term.
Myth: A doctor can’t fix a broken toe.
Reality: Nineteen of the 26 bones in the foot are toe bones.
“What I tell patients is, there are things we can do to make a broken toe heal better and prevent problems later on, like arthritis or toe deformities,” Dr. Borkosky says. Broken toes that aren’t treated correctly can also make walking and wearing shoes difficult. A foot surgeon will x-ray the toe to learn more about the fracture. If the broken toe is out of alignment, the surgeon may have to insert a pin, screw or plate to reposition the bone. Otherwise, when the toe remains in proper position, simple strapping techniques can be taught for faster recovery.
Myth: Corns have roots.
Reality: A corn is a small build-up of skin caused by friction. Dr. Borkosky says many corns result from a hammertoe deformity, where the toe knuckle rubs against the shoe. The only way to eliminate these corns is to surgically correct the hammertoe condition.
Unlike a callus, a corn has a central core of hard material. But corns do not have roots. Attempting to cut off a corn or applying medicated corn pads can lead to serious infection or even amputation. A foot surgeon can safely evaluate and treat corns and the conditions contributing to them.
To make an appointment with Dr. Borkosky contact her office at 864-297-6616 or visit her Web site at Oak Tree Podiatry. For additional foot care myths, visit the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ consumer Web site, FootHealthFacts.org