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Keeping Your Feet Safe on Vacation

My dad is a podiatrist, and every summer when we were at the beach or the pool, he pestered me (and my brothers) to put sunscreen on our feet. I certainly did not understand at the time just how important it is to protect your feet from the sun. But now I know that it takes even more than sunscreen to keep your feet safe during the long summer days. No matter where you go on vacation, there are some important things to do and to watch for to help keep your feet comfortable. The first thing, of course, is sunscreen. My dad was right to pester us kids- both the top and bottom of your feet can get sunburned. In addition, the skin on your feet can be more susceptible to melanoma (along with other types of skin cancer), especially if you have a family or personal history, or if you already have moles on your feet. If your feet spend any time in a pool or ocean, make sure to apply the sunscreen on them afterward. The beach brings other dangers besides the sun too- it feels nice to walk barefoot on the sand, but shells, glass, wood, and other objects that might lay hidden can all cause cuts or injuries to your feet. If you have gotten a cut on your foot, going in the water can invite bacteria and other organisms to cause infections. Wearing sandals on the beach can help protect you, and checking your feet before you head for a swim can prevent you from swimming with an open cut that you didn’t notice before. If you’re spending a lot of time in a pool, ocean, or lake, investing in a pair of water shoes goes a long way for protecting your feet.   Of course there are other places to vacation besides the water. If you’re spending time camping, hiking, or touring a new city or country, make sure to wear good shoes that protect you from the elements and from the miles. Always give your hiking boots or walking shoes a good test run to make sure they fit well and won’t give you blisters. Keep in mind that feet swell when you’re standing and walking, so you might need a larger size in a hiking or walking shoe. Good arch support can help prevent fatigue and strain in your feet and ankles. If you’re spending time outdoors, always check your feet for insect bites. We’re all pretty familiar with mosquitoes, but keep an eye out for bites or stings from other critters. Ticks, chiggers, bees or wasps, spiders, even crabs or jellyfish can spell trouble. If you’re concerned about the appearance of an insect or animal bite, see a doctor right away.   Summer vacation is a great time for rest and relaxation, adventure and exploring. Remember these tips to keep your feet safe and healthy, so you can enjoy your vacation to the max. Have a great time this summer- and don’t forget the sunscreen! Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Caitlin MaddenDr. Caitlin Mahan Madden works in our Rockville, MD (Shady Grove) and Wheaton, MD offices. The information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice. You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose. Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information. The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional. The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice. This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site. Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use. You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance. In no event will Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory. This website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.

MoCo365 Features FASMA

Dr. David Freedman, a founding member and Vice President of Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, is featured on MoCo365. This initiative highlights businesses from all sectors of Montgomery County, Maryland with the purpose of showing the diversity of the area through the stories of successful leaders, entrepreneurs, and inventors. While FASMA began in MoCo, it has expanded throughout the Mid-Atlantic with 35 offices reaching from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Learn more about our history and what makes us unique by watching this video.  

Injuries to Your Toenails

What are some possible causes of toenail injury?

Everyday injuries can cause your toenail to fall off. Hitting your toe on a chair or bedpost, dropping something on your foot, or simply pulling your socks on too fast can damage your toenail. Toenail Injury Injuries to the nail may lead to a subungual hematoma, which causes blood to collect under your injured toenail. This can delay growth of the toenail and be painful for the first few days or weeks. If it can be tolerated, the best way to treat it is to soak the area in cold water for 15 minutes, clean the area with betadine or an alcohol swab, apply antibiotic cream, and trim straight across the toenail. If the subungual hematoma extends to a little over a quarter or half of your toenail, then you must seek treatment at a doctor’s office. If you experience throbbing or severe pain near the hematoma, your doctor will determine if the hematoma needs to be drained to relieve the pressure.  X-rays may also be taken to make sure a fracture has not occurred. In diabetics, or immune-compromised patients, care is important so that infections do not occur. Keep in mind, toenail growth will slow down significantly after the injury. It can take anywhere from six months to two years for the nail to completely grow back. Pressure on the toenail can cause it to weaken and lift off the nail bed. Make sure other toenails are trimmed neatly and wear well-fitting shoes to prevent any future injuries. A half centimeter of room should always be present in the front of shoes to prevent pressure of toenails. A good shoe store can help fit your shoes and make sure you are not feeling extra pressure around your toenails. It is also possible to develop a fungal infection of the nail after a toenail injury. The injury provides an invitation for fungus to grow between the nail bed and loose toenail. If this occurs, your doctor should take a sample of your toenail to confirm that it is fungus, and then treat accordingly. Your doctor will discuss when antifungal medications are necessary on a case by case basis, depending on the results of a nail biopsy. People who have athlete’s foot and diabetes are prone to fungal infections. Diabetic patients have a harder time fighting off a fungal infection and must take extra precaution. Another cause of toenail detachment is psoriasis, an autoimmune condition. With psoriasis, the skin cells begin to build up at a faster rate and cause the toenail to lift off. Many cases of nail psoriasis are mild and don’t persist. Some of the symptoms may include thickening/pitting of nails, unusual nail shape, yellow-brown discoloration, or a chalky-like buildup. If the foregoing remains an issue, your doctor may prescribe topical steroids to rub into your toenail and cuticle.  

What to do when your toenail is injured or falls off.

Step one: Don’t panic. If your toenail starts to fall off, you must follow a few basic tips to avoid worsening your prognosis.
  • First, clean the area with an antiseptic agent as tolerated.  
  • Second, apply an antibiotic ointment with a band-aid. If part of your toenail has fallen off or is detached, it is wise to let a doctor remove the remaining portion to avoid more pain or exposing your nail bed to infection.  
    • Do not lead the band-aid on all day and night-- leave the band-aid on during the day, but leave your toe open at night to let the area get some air.
    • Change your band-aid regularly regularly-- a dark, moist environment creates a way for infection and fungus to form.
  • Also, the doctor will determine how much of your toenail to remove, depending on how much of the toenail is detached.
Do not wait to seek treatment until your entire toenail falls off. While these tips provide a basic understanding of toenail injuries and detachment, they are not substitutes for medical treatment, especially if the pain persists or you are unsure about how to proceed. In such cases, please contact your doctor.   Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Reema DuaDr. Reema Dua works in our Rockville, MD office. The information on this site is provided for your assistance only; this site does not provide podiatric advice. You should never diagnose or treat yourself for a podiatric condition based on the information provided herein, and the information is not provided for that purpose. Likewise, you should never determine that treatment is unnecessary based on this information. The information contained herein is not a substitute for podiatric care provided by a licensed podiatric professional. The information provided herein is not podiatric, medical or professional advice. This site does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Reema Dua and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, related to any products offered for sale on this web site. Dr. Reema Dua and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC further expressly disclaims any product warranties of effectiveness or fitness for any particular purpose or use. You are solely responsible for your use of, or reliance on, any products offered for sale herein, and any consequences arising out of such use or reliance. In no event will Dr. Reema Dua and Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic, LLC be liable for any damages resulting from use of or reliance on any such products, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory. This website, and the information contained herein, is provided to you as a service for use at your sole risk.