Foot News Blog

Whether wearing sandals, walking around the pool in the summer, or wearing open toe shoes at a wedding, everyone wants their toenails to appear healthy. Fungal infections of the toenails cause the nails to thicken, become very hard, brittle, and discolored; often yellow, green, or black. The cause is more related to genetic predisposition than environment. Fungus grows everywhere in the environment, including inside shoes, socks, on floors, shower tubs, floors, etc. It is not possible to get rid of the fungus in the environment. Some of us, however, are genetically prone to developing a fungal infection of the toenails. This can become a problem, as it can spread to other toes, cause difficulty wearing shoes, and potentially lead to pressure or diabetes related wounds under the nail.

Until recently, there were few options for treatment of such fungal infections. Use of a prescription topical medication daily over the course of 8-12 months, oral antifungal medications, removal of the affected nail without a nail growing back, or leaving the nail as is were the only options. The topical treatment success rate is marginal, with a cure rate lower than 20%. Oral antifungal medication success rate is higher, 60-70%, but requires lab work to monitor liver function while on the medication. Finally, removal of the toenail requires about 8-10 weeks for the nail bed to heal. Incidentally, removal of a fungally infected toenail typically does not achieve any long term benefits, as the nail will usually regrow with the same appearance.

Dr. Block and the Bluegrass Foot Center is pleased to now offer in office laser treatment for discolored toenails and inflammatory conditions. This painless procedure, performed monthly for three months, has a success rate close to 85%, requiring no ingested medications.A topical cream is needed as maintenance to prevent recurrence, and this treatment is not covered by insurance plans.

If you have dark, discolored toenails and have either failed other conservative treatments, or are simply tired of how they appear, inquire as to whether or not laser treatment can help your nails return to their normal, healthy appearance!

Ankle sprains occur in just about all of us from time to time, resulting in pain and swelling of the ankle.  The severity of the sprain can vary, depending on the amount of pulling or tearing of the ligaments on the sides of the ankle.  For a basic sprain, simple rest, ice, compression, elevation, and some anti-inflammatory medication works very well.  For more severe sprains, immobilization in a walking boot may be needed to rest the area for a couple of weeks.   The pain and swelling following a sprain can linger for a couple of months.  Even after a simple sprain, the area can remain swollen for 2-3 months.  There is no real cause for concern as long as the pain subsides.  A simple elastic ankle sock can be used (available in the office - see receptionist) daily to keep some compression on the ankle during the day. 

If you repeatedly sprain your ankle, with progressive instability of the ankle, you may have ankle instability as a result of damage to the lateral ankle ligaments.  For chronic ankle instability or concern about an ankle sprain, give the experts a call.  Dr. Block and staff at the Bluegrass Foot Center is where you will find the answers to all your foot and ANKLE problems.  Until next stay, stay healthy friends!

With Summer weather comes sandals, flip flops, and barefeet.  Exposed toes is the norm for many.  Many of those who prefer the sandals and flip flops, however, also suffer from deformed, discolored, or thick toenails.  But what are the options to try and attain a normal appearing toenail when open toe shoes are desired?  Painting the nail and the skin is an option, but one that doesn't leave a very natural appearance of a normal toenail.  Take home fake nail kits are commonly used, but are usually short lived, as they don't stand up to the pressures of shoes and walking as well as one would like.  Moreover, use of fake nails creates a potential for water to reside under the fake nail, potentially leading to infection.  Finally, there is a medical grade resin applied in the office, which looks and feels like a normal, healthy toenail.  This product lasts approximately 2 months, and may need to be reapplied at that time, as the nail will grow out, warranting touching up of the nail.

If you suffer from unsightly toenails, and want to look and feel your best this summer, give us a call to discuss your options.  Dr. Block and staff at the Bluegrass Foot Center will keep you on your toes!

Health insurance remains a hot topic both among consumers across our country, as well as among political pundits promising better, broader coverage.  Much of this debate is the result of ever escalating cost of health care delivery.  Over the past 20 years, we have seen more and more direct marketing to consumers.  Pharmaceutical companies, and more recently, specific surgery suppliers are marketing directly to consumers.  Now patients go to their doctors telling them what medication they want to take or what brand of knee implant they want for their knee replacement.  This has forced insurers to place safeguards in determining what more expensive treatments are necessary or warranted.

As a result of increasing health care costs, insurance companies are placing more and more responsibility for their member's health on the insured.  This is especially true for self insured policies, where the employer pays ALL insurance claims themself.  In effort to promote health and wellness, these employers will often offer smoking cessation incentives, access to exercise facilities, cost free wellness medical visits, and weight loss counseling.  A patient today presented with a pedometer attached to their shoe, as directed by the insurer.  A pedometer is a device used to count the number of steps taken in a day.  Over the 4 week period, the patient was required to log online, and enter the number of steps taken each day.  A minimum of 4,000 steps was required daily by the insurer.  If the individual took fewer than 4,000 steps in any given day, the insurer would consider this a more sedentary lifestyle, resulting in their premium increasing considerably.  From the insurer perspective, the more sedentary the individual, the higher risk of health related problems.  Potential health problems for the insurer=increased expense for the insurance company, or with a self insured policy, the employer.  Some employers have gone as far as restricting employment to ONLY nonsmokers.  In addition, each December, this particular employer holds a company wide diet for their members, directing them to eat a certain amount of fruits and/or vegetables each day; hopefully reducing their intake of holiday sweets. 

A recent survey found that 72% of people do not exercise due to foot pain.  If you suffer from foot pain, or feel unable to exercise as a result of foot pain, give us a call.  The source in Owensboro and the TriState area for your foot pain, Dr. Block and staff at the Bluegrass Foot Center is the only foot doctor you need!  Stay safe and healthy Owensboro!

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