Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: melanoma

By Dr. Rion Berg
August 01, 2018
Tags: melanoma  

While it's extremely rare for someone who is young to develop nail cancer, it did happen to Miss Illinois Karolina Jasko. She was only in high school when she found a vertical line under her fingernail. She didn't go to the doctor until it became infected. Then she was diagnosed with melanoma.

She was fortunate. She only lost her nail. Melanoma can spread to the entire body and can be deadly. Survival of melanoma is even more uncertain if it's found on your feet and toenails. That's because it's usually detected at an advanced stage when treatment might be too late.

While melanoma of the toenail is rare no matter what your age, it's important to be seen by a podiatrist if you have bruise under your toenail that doesn't go away.

Other Symptoms

  • A new brown or black band in the nail

  • Dark color is spilling over the skin next to the nail

  • Signs of infection such as drainage, pus, and pain

  • A bruise, splitting, or bleeding of the nail without any trauma

  • A bruise under the nail that doesn't go away with time even with trauma

Although some dark bands can be non-cancerous and caused by a bacterial or fungal infection it's important to get it checked out as soon as possible.

Sixty percent of these types of melanoma are found in the fingernails and 40% are found in the toenails. Most commonly it's found in the hallux nail or big toenail.

Risk Factors

  • Over 50

  • Personal or family history

  • Personal or family history of atypical moles

  • People of color

Unlike melanoma of the skin, melanoma of the nail is not cause by sun exposure.

Prevention

Although it's not possible to prevent the condition, early identification and treatment provides the best chance for effective treatment and survival.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on how early the melanoma is detected. They include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

If you have a unexplained bruise or streak in your nail that won't go away, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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By Dr. Rion Berg
October 26, 2017
Category: Fungus toenails

So your big toenail has turned black and you're wondering what to do about it. To set your mind at ease, black toenails usually come about because of trauma. It could be that you dropped something heavy on your toenail, but more then likely you were skiing, hiking, or running and your shoes were just a bit too tight.

But sometimes a black toenail can be the sign of toenail fungus or even worse, melanoma.

That's why it's so important not to never ignore a black toenail.

Fungal Nails
A black nail can be a sign of onychomycosis or fungal nails. In Seattle, our feet are covered in socks and shoes or boots most of the year. And many of us wear cotton socks that keep our feet slightly damp. This is the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive.

Runners and other active people also are at greater risk due to repetitive pressure on the nail bed which causes it to lift slightly allowing the fungus in where it can set up shop.

It's best to get this condition treated as early as possible to ensure the best chance of success.  To learn more about treatment visit our Seattle Fungal Toenail Center.

Melanoma
At worst a black toenail is diagnosed as melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tends to grow very slowly so it's important not to dismiss it. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer of the feet. Unlike our face which we look at every day, many of us ignore our feet.

When found on the feet there is a much higher death rate due to this cancer which can spread throughout the body. That's because we are more likely to find it when it's already too advanced to adequately treat.

Related articles:

Protecting Your Feet From the Sun Can Avoid Skin Cancer Disaster
Guide to Eliminating Ugly Fungal Toenails

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Download a copy of our eBook, "No More Foot Pain" .

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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Many times throughout my career as a podiatrist I've had patients come to me with big toenails that have turned black. Most often a black toenail is simply the result of nail trauma. The nail turned black because they're a runner or a skier and they wore shoes or boots that were just too tight. Or they loved to tinker with their car and they dropped a tire iron on their toe. Sometimes kicking a solid object too hard can also cause a blackened nail to arise.

But sometimes a black toenail can be the sign of toenail fungus or even worse, melanoma.

That's why it's so important to make sure to see a Seattle podiatrist if you notice your toenail is black or turning black.

Fungal Nails

Onychomycosis or fungal nails are a very common occurrence. In Seattle, our feet are covered in socks and shoes or boots most of the year. And many of us wear cotton socks that keep our feet slightly damp. This is the perfect environment for toenail fungus to thrive.

Some of us are more prone to nail fungus due to our genetics.

Runners and other active people also are at greater risk due to repetitive pressure on the nail bed which causes it to lift slightly allowing the fungus in where it can set up shop.

Fungal nails can be difficult to treat particularly if it's been a longstanding problem and the nail has thickened or the patient is immunocompromised.

It's best to get this condition treated as early as possible to ensure the best chance of success. Even so fungal nails can return just like a chronic case of gingivitis. Prevention is key for those who've had it by limiting their exposure--using socks that wick away moisture, alternating shoes on a daily basis, or using a UV light shoe sanitizer.

Melanoma

At worst a black toenail is diagnosed as melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma tends to grow very slowly so it's important not to dismiss it. In fact, melanoma is the most common cancer of the feet. Unlike our face which we look at every day, many of us ignore our feet.

When found on the feet there is a much higher death rate due to this cancer which can spread throughout the body. That's because we are more likely to find it when it's already too advanced to adequately treat.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

 

If the Puget Sound area was a state it would rank 4thin the nation in skin cancer rates. For many of us this may sound counterintuitive. After all aren't we the rainy city and the cloud capital of the country?

Athough this is probably true, I think it's also the reason many of us don’t take proper precautions. We don't cover up or use sunscreen because we believe that we aren't really getting that much sun or that we need the Vitamin D. Also, when it's cloudy we forget that we’re still exposing ourselves to harmful UV rays.

Even though we may think these are all good reasons for exposing our toes, we still need to be careful when it comes to excessive exposure to the sun. When it comes to feet, melanoma is the most common skin cancer found there with a survival rate of just 52% in contrast to 85% for melanoma on other parts of the body. Melanoma also strikes people of any age, unlike other skin cancers.

Foot Cancer Can Be Harder to Detect

The higher death rate from foot melanoma is very likely due to later identification when skin cancer is more advanced. Cancer on the feet can be difficult to detect when it appears in between toes, under toenails, and on the bottom of the feet. That’s why it’s important to check all areas of your feet and let your Seattle podiatrist know if you notice any new or changing moles, freckles, or warts.

Who’s At Greater Risk?

People with fair skin, those who got blistering sunburns before 18, and those with many moles, particularly at a young age.

Skin Changes to To Look For

  • Asymmetrical in shape
  • Irregular borders
  • A mix of colors instead of just one color
  • Greater than 5mm in diameter

Protecting Piggies from the Sun

Here are some tips to lower your risk for skin cancer.

  • Apply sunscreen on the top and soles of your feet. Safer sunscreen products can be found by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens. This group is particularly conscious about sunscreens that provide the best protection but without harmful chemicals.
  • Wear water shoes or shoes and socks.
  • Become curious about your feet on a regular basis; when drying your feet be sure to check between your toes, underneath your nails, and use a mirror to look under your soles if you can’t reach that far.
  • Don’t forget to use sunscreen on your kids and check their feet as well; sun can do more damage to children.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+