Common conditions and treatments

We treat a wide range of podiatry treatments for foot
problems including:

  • Sports injuries
  • Lower limb pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Children’s foot problems
  • Corns and callus
  • Fungal toe nails
  • Thick toe nails
  • Verruca
  • Ingrowing toe nails
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Diabetic feet
  • Aging feet
  • Arthritic feet
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Bunions
  • Lesser toe deformities
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Sport injury treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Sports injuries

Lucy specialises in treating sports and running foot and ankle injuries. She provides comprehensive injury management including strength and conditioning, training programme education, gait re-training and orthotics if indicated to modify the forces acting on the joints and muscles of your feet and reduce pain. These may be issued ‘off the shelf’ with a generic prescription or custom made to fit the unique contours of your foot.

Lucy is a runner herself. She ran the Brighton Marathon in 2014 and now volunteers as part of the marathon medical team giving her insight into the challenges faced by long distance runners. She understands the common pitfalls and can help to prevent any potential foot related problems developing both in training and on race day.

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Foot and ankle pain

There are many different causes of pain in the foot and ankle. A thorough assessment will be undertaken to establish the diagnosis and devise an effective management plan.  Many foot and ankle problems are stress injuries, caused by inappropriate footwear and/or poor gait when running or walking. Your foot and lower limb function will be assessed and your range-of-motion and muscle strength tested.  If indicated, your walking or running gait will also be evaluated.

Lucy uses a combination of orthotics (insoles), footwear advice, activity modification and strength and conditioning to treat these injuries and reduce the need for surgical intervention.  If a systemic cause is suspected, a referral to the relevant specialist will be initiated.

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Heel pain - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic
Verruca treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Verruca

Verrucae are plantar warts that occur on the soles of the feet or around the toe area. They are caused by a viral infection, which affects the outer layer of skin (epidermis). The virus can enter the skin if there is any break in the skin or if the skin is very moist, which explains why it is common to pick them up at swimming pools. In most cases the verruca is painless and, given time, will resolve without treatment. Painful or spreading verruca can however cause distress.

A range of verruca treatments are available in clinic including cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments and debridement and new Swift microwave therapy.
This is an exciting advance in treatment, which has proved to be very successful according to recent studies. Swift uses microwaves to destroy the verruca tissue and does not require any local anaesthetic or significant dressings.

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Corns and calluses

Corns and calluses occur as a reaction of the skin to the pressures on it. Sometimes this is pressure from shoes; sometimes there is a structural or functional cause. Corns and calluses can be painlessly removed. Lucy will also give advice or provide treatment to target the cause and aim to reduce further recurrence.

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Thick nail treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Thickened Toenails

Thickened toenails can cause problems with footwear fitting correctly, are difficult to cut and are often viewed as unsightly. If a toenail is very thick and is left untreated, the pressure placed on the nail bed can lead to tissue damage. Thickened toenails have a number of causes, the most common being fungal infections and trauma. Your nails will be assessed and treatments will be recommended that can make your nails more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

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Fungal toenail infections

Fungal infection of the toenails often occurs with Athlete’s foot, but can occur on its own. The toenails become thick and discoloured. This infection can be difficult to treat, especially if the nail bed is involved.  There are a number of ways this infection can be treated such as oral medication or the application of a topical anti-fungal. Regular thinning of the nail plate increases the effectiveness of the treatment. Your nails will be assessed and you will be advised on the most appropriate and effective treatment.

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Fungal nail treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic
Athletes foot treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Athlete's foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin that can lead to intense itching, cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, redness and scaling. It can occur on moist, waterlogged skin, usually between the fourth and fifth toes initially, or on dry, flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot.

It is usually treated with anti-fungal creams or sprays. If left untreated the fungus can spread to the toenails. It is important that hosiery and footwear are also treated to prevent re-infection.

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Ingrowing toenails

Ingrowing toenails can occur when a nail has been damaged or is deformed. The nail grows into the skin causing pain and sometimes leading to infection. In more severe cases, it can cause pus and bleeding. Ingrowing toenails most commonly affect the big toenail, but can affect the other toenails too.

This condition can be treated conservatively, but surgery may be necessary to prevent recurrence. Surgery is performed under local anaesthesia. Usually only part of the offending nail is removed, although sometimes it is necessary to remove the whole nail if it is very deformed.

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Ingrown toenail treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic
pediatric foot treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Children's feet

Lucy frequently advises parents who are concerned about the development of their children’s feet. “Flat” feet, pain or unusual walking and running patterns are common reasons for consultation.  Often only reassurance and postural exercise is required but sometimes specialised orthotics or other forms of treatment are indicated. Verruca and ingrowing toenails are also very common presentations in children.

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Heel pain

Heel pain is usually felt under the heel or just behind it and can range from mild to disabling depending on the cause.  Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar aponeurosis, which is a thick band of fascia or connective tissue under the sole of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. The plantar fascia works with the muscles of your foot and around your ankle to support the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber when you walk.

However, there are many other causes of heel pain including lower back problems or inflammatory joint conditions. A thorough examination will be performed to establish the cause.

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Diabetic foot care

People diagnosed with diabetes can develop foot complications including a loss of sensation in the feet. This can result in damage that you may be unaware of such as standing on a sharp object or a toenail digging in. People with diabetes should have annual foot assessments to monitor any loss of sensation. Numb feet should be always be protected and checked regularly for damage.  Diabetes can also affect the blood supply to the feet, causing a delay in healing and increasing the risk of infection. The circulation to your feet is also checked during a diabetic foot assessment.

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Arthritic Feet

Arthritis is a disease of the joints, which causes them to become inflamed and stiffen.  There are three main types of arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Gout.  Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in many joints of the body including the feet and tends to occur symmetrically.  For example, if your right big toe is swollen and painful, chances are your left big toe will be too.  RA is a chronic inflammatory disease where a faulty immune system attacks the tissue that lines and cushions the joints, leaving them swollen, painful and stiff. It tends to affect the smaller joints such as the toes first, so feet are often one of the first places to be affected.

Osteoarthritis is often called the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage of a joint becomes damaged. When the cartilage deteriorates, the bone underneath can thicken, causing pain, stiffness and swelling.  Osteoarthritis can affect any of the 33 joints in the feet but mostly affects the joint at the base of the big toe which is more prone to wear and tear from the pressures of walking.

Gout is the result of an imbalance of uric acid in the body and manifests via a build-up of uric acid in the blood. Small crystals may form, which collect in the joint causing irritation and inflammation, and which can be very painful and severe.  The main symptom of gout is waking up in the middle of the night with an acute throbbing pain in the big toe, which is swollen. Usually only one of the big toes is affected. The pain lasts for a few hours and usually subsides then doesn’t return for a few months.

Lucy can help to alleviate issues by adapting your existing footwear with orthoses (insoles), which redistribute the pressure as you walk, or other devices such as toe props and shields, which fit easily into your shoes and help redistribute pressure away from the affected parts.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic
Bunion treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Bunions

“Bunions”, also known as hallux abducto valgus, are a common condition in which the big toe is angled excessively towards the second toe, leading to a bony lump on the outside of the big toe joint. This can also form a large sac of fluid, known as a bursa, which can then become inflamed and sore. Callus or corns may appear over the bunion due to excessive pressure from footwear. Early conservative management by a podiatrist can help to relieve symptoms.  We can also advise on whether a referral to an orthopaedic or podiatric surgeon for a surgical correction might be indicated.

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Balance

Balance problems increase with age. Numerous issues can affect your ability to walk steadily, including, but not limited to, neurological conditions, arthritis or other joint problems, weak muscles or tendons and nerve damage (neuropathy).  Everyone may trip or fall from time to time but, if you’re older, a trip or fall could be very serious.

Your balance issues will be evaluated and signs of any underlying diseases considered. If we suspect that an underlying condition may be causing your balance problems, a referral to another specialist would be instigated. Your footwear will also be evaluated and a programme of strengthening and stretching exercises may be recommended that you can perform at home. Exercise programmes have been shown to significantly reduce the rate of falls in older people.

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Balance Problems - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic
Morton’s neuroma treatment - Podiatrist in Hove and Brighton - Hove Foot Clinic

Morton’s neuroma

A neuroma is a thickening or enlargement of nerve tissue, which is often caused by irritation or compression of a nerve. This is the most common type of neuroma in the foot and usually occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes. A sharp or dull pain is usually felt between the third and fourth toes, which can be aggravated by wearing tight shoes and by walking. You may also feel numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation around the area. Treatment aims to reduce and relieve pressure around the nerve. It might include footwear modification or orthotics (insoles) to modify the forces acting on the joints and muscles of your feet and increase the space between your toes, thereby reducing pain.

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