Posts for: April, 2010
Sunscreen on Your Feet?
Prevent skin cancer on feet
When at the pool, beach, or lake we all lather up with sun screen to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. But do we remember to apply sunscreen to our feet?
Many don't realize skin cancer can occur on the feet from unprotected sun exposure, and overlook applying sunscreen to the area. Skin cancer of the foot is prevalent and can even be fatal if not caught early.
While all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, can be found on the foot, the most common is the most serious form, melanoma. Symptoms can be as subtle as an abnormal-looking mole or freckle found anywhere on the foot, and often go unnoticed without routine foot exams.
Early diagnosis is key to effective treatment for the condition. But because people aren't looking for the early warning signs or taking the same precautions they do for other areas of the body, often times skin cancer in this region is not diagnosed until later stages.
We recommend to regularly inspect your feet, including the soles, in between their toes and even under their toenails, for any changing moles or spots and to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist.
Don't Let Your Feet Ruin Your Day at the Beach
As you head to the beach this summer we wanted to discuss some common injuries to look out for and some simple preventative treatments that you can utilize.
Puncture wounds and cuts: Wear shoes to protect your feet from puncture wounds and cuts caused by sea shells, broken glass and other sharp objects. Don't go in the water if your skin gets cut - bacteria in oceans and lakes can cause infection. To avoid complications from a puncture wound, see a foot and ankle surgeon for treatment within 24 hours.
Jellyfish stings: Remember that a jellyfish washed up on the beach can still sting if you step on it. If their tentacles stick to the foot or ankle, remove them, but protect your hands from getting stung too. Vinegar, meat tenderizer or baking soda reduce pain and swelling. Most jellyfish stings heal within days, but if they don't, medical treatment is required.
Sunburns: Feet get sunburn too. Rare but deadly skin cancers can occur on the foot. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to the tops and bottoms of your feet.
Burns: Sand, sidewalks and paved surfaces get hot in the summer sun. Wear shoes to protect your soles from getting burned, especially if you have diabetes.
Ankle injuries, arch and heel pain: Walking, jogging and playing sports on soft, uneven surfaces like sand frequently leads to arch pain, heel pain, ankle sprains and other injuries. Athletic shoes provide the heel cushioning and arch support that flip-flops and sandals lack. If injuries occur, use rest, ice, compression and elevation to ease pain and swelling. Any injury that does not resolve within a few days should be examined by a foot and ankle surgeon.
Diabetes risks: The 20 million Americans with diabetes face serious foot safety risks at the beach. The disease causes poor blood circulation and numbness in the feet. A diabetic may not feel pain from a cut, puncture wound or burn. Any type of skin break on a diabetic foot has the potential to get infected and ulcerate if it isn't noticed right away. Diabetics should always wear shoes to the beach, and remove them regularly to check for foreign objects like sand and shells that can cause sores, ulcers and infections.
Carolina Foot Specialists will be presenting a Community Health talk on "Heal that Heel Pain" at the new East Cooper Hospital April 21st between 10AM-11AM. The presentation will be in the first floor classroom and is free to the public. To register please call (843) 884-7031.