Why Do I Have Noticeable, Dark Veins On My Legs?

Noticing bluish veins growing darker and more prominent in your legs is a cause of concern for many. But what do they mean, why is this happening now, and what can you do to treat or prevent them? Today, our podiatrists are sharing what you need to know about spider veins and varicose veins on your legs.  

What are veins, and what do they do?

We have veins all around our body, most of which we can’t see through our skin. Veins play a very important role in helping return the blood from our body back to the heart. This includes working against gravity up our legs by using a series of one-way valves that prevent the blood from going backwards, combined with muscles surrounding the vessels which contract and help pump blood to the heart.   

Veins become dark and visible when there’s a problem with their function

If problems arise with the vein valves, the blood itself or the surrounding muscles, blood may pool inside the veins instead of being transported back to the heart. This causes pressure to build within the vein, which weakens the vessel wall and results in the vein bulging and twisting to produce a noticeable varicose vein or spider vein. The difference between the two are: Varicose vein: Varicose veins are bigger than spider veins and are the most common cause of prominent blue veins in the legs. They tend to bulge out from the skin, giving them a worm-like appearance. They can develop anywhere on the body but most often arise in the feet and ankles. Spider vein: Spider veins are very small, prominent vessels that often take the form of a spider web pattern – having a central point and then branching out. These veins may be red, purple, or blue. They’ll most often appear on the legs or the face. Up to 60% of adults will experience changes in the appearance of their veins, which may occur along with:
  • Foot & leg aches and cramps
  • Throbbing, burning and tingling
  • Tired, heavy legs
  • Foot & leg swelling
  • Inflammation & itchiness

Are blue, prominent veins something to be concerned about?

The good news is that while dark veins may not look the best, they don’t pose an immediate hazard to your health. They can, however, indicate an increased risk of two important problems:
  • Blood clots: the blood that pools in large veins can, under certain circumstances, clot. If the clots travel to other areas of the body, they can result in an embolism (a blockage in an important vessel), which can be dangerous for your health and can even turn into a medical emergency. 
  • Venous ulcers: blood building up and pooling is a cause of ulcers, which may bleed and even become infected.
This is why it’s important to bring any concerns you have to your doctor at your appointments – and let us know too!  

Am I at risk of spider or varicose veins?

Women are twice as susceptible as men, though problems with the veins can affect anyone. This is largely due to hormonal changes throughout the various stages of a woman’s life. If your job keeps you on your feet, like if you’re a tradie or healthcare worker, you may also have an increased risk. Other risk factors include:
  • Increasing age – as we age, our valves can wear down, become weaker and lose elasticity
  • Increasing weight & obesity – extra weight on the body can put extra pressure on the veins
  • A decrease in physical activity & movement 
  • Pregnancy – as a result of hormonal changes, combined with the increase in blood volume and pressure on the veins from the fetus, mothers are more vulnerable to developing varicose veins
  • A history of injury
  • Surgery
  • A family history of venous insufficiency – if your parents had varicose veins, your chance of having them is significantly greater
  • Standing for long periods at work – doesn’t allow your blood to flow as well as it should

Treating varicose veins

If you’re concerned about your veins, your GP will be able to refer you to a vein specialist. Our podiatrists can also help you manage certain symptoms by using: 
  • Compression stockings
  • Exercises targeted at promoting circulation in the feet and legs, especially at the calves
  • Helping improve your mobility so you can walk or exercise daily
  • Footwear to assist your mobility and help you feel comfortable on your feet
Every treatment plan is tailored to your unique needs by our experienced podiatry team. To get the best results, don’t forget to:
  • Limit long periods of sitting or standing as much as possible
  • Elevate your legs periodically, this can help with promoting blood return and reducing swelling
  • Get your 30 minutes of exercise every day
  • Limit high heel wear – flat shoes better work your calf muscles and help blood flow in this area
Book your appointment with us by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here.  

Medical Pedicure: The Safe, Feel-Good Foot Care Mums Love This Mother’s Day

Looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift in Auckland that your mum will truly appreciate?

Our medical pedicures take care of mums feet – from her toenails to her corns and calluses, while giving her the assurance that her feet are being cared for by registered health professionals, safely and under strict hygiene and sterilisation protocols.  More than this, at every appointment, we discuss any concerns that mum may have about her feet, check for any warning signs or problems she may not have noticed, and explain why mum may be seeing the changes in her feet and legs that she is. Simply put, this is an all-inclusive service dedicated to optimising mums foot health – where she leaves our clinic feeling great on her feet. Grab your gift voucher for mum today.  

What does a medical pedicure include?

We use premium, sterilised and specialised tools to:
  • Trim toenails – regardless of how firm or thick
  • Reduce toenail thickness across the entire nail where needed 
  • Remove or reduce areas of hard, dry skin (callus)
  • Remove or reduce cracks in the heels
  • Remove corns in the feet
  • Remove skin and dirt build-up beneath and down the sides of nail
We finish by smoothing the skin using a sanding tool, filing the nails, using an antiseptic spray, applying tea tree oil and finishing with a moisturiser. Bliss!  

Why is a medical pedicure better than a pedicure at a nail salon?

88% of nail salons in New Zealand failed to meet adequate disinfection and sterilisation standards. By adequate, we mean quite simple – that they were taking appropriate measures to clean and sterilise both the premises of the salons and the tools they use so they don’t just get moved from person to person with a glass of water in between. This is absolutely shocking for us – as registered podiatrists, we maintain excellent, strict safety and hygiene protocols because your health and well-being matters. So failing to meet such simple cleaning practices to help prevent infections and other problems for your valued customers always baffles us. Aside from giving mum the assurance that her foot care is a safe and premium service, another benefit is that she gets access to all our knowledge and equipment. If she has concerns or questions about her feet, or any pains or changes she’s recently experienced, she can discuss these with our podiatrist and get all the info she needs, learning what she should be doing at home to best care for and protect her feet. If mum wants to come back in the future, she can book in with her same podiatrist that will monitor her foot health and help keep her healthy, active, mobile and independent.  

Before & after images

Here are a few before and after images from the results we get in-house.

The premium care your mum will love this Mother’s Day!

We’re proud to be one of Auckland’s leading and trusted podiatry teams, located in the One Health Building on Remuera Road. To book your appointment, call us on 09 523 2333 or book your appointment online.

Medical Pedicures: Why You Should Replace Your Salon Pedicure With A Medi Pedi

Having your nails and the skin on your feet taken care of feels great. What feels even better is walking away feeling confident that your foot care has performed safely, under strict hygiene and sterilisation protocols, and by registered podiatrists that have dedicated their careers to learning everything there is to know about your feet and how to best care for their health. This is exactly what medical pedicures offer here at Perform Podiatry, and why they are the #1 choice.

Salon hygiene in New Zealand: It’s a problem

It was previously found that 88% of nail salons here in Aotearoa failed to meet adequate disinfection and sterilisation standards. These standards aren’t complicated, outrageous or challenging, either. They simply dictate that appropriate measures should be taken to clean and sterilise both the premises of the salons and the tools they use so they don’t just get moved from person to person with a glass of water in between, which now tends to be the norm from what we’ve observed. The goal of taking the right measures is very simple and effective, it minimises your risk of picking up an infection, Infections can take hold via your toenails or from getting a cut in your skin (among others), thereby sterilisation and disinfection are critical tools for helping reduce the likelihood of negative health outcomes as a result of the service. While we personally haven’t spoken to any salon owners about the reasons they don’t meet these standards, there is one obvious reason we know from our own experience. Maintaining excellent – and even good – hygiene and sterility protocols is time-consuming and expensive Here at Perform Podiatry, every single tool we use to care for your feet must be steam sterilised in a controlled cycle for approximately two hours – a cycle that reaches over 200 degrees celsius, and is proven to effectively sterilise each instrument and that is carefully documented on all our records. Prior to the sterilisation, the tools are also cleaned and managed – and that’s just the instruments, we haven’t even started on the clinic room and chair. All of our standards are heavily regulated and audited by a professional board, so you can be sure that they’re up to scratch.

What does a medical pedicure service include?

Our medical pedicures start with trimming your toenails using our German-made and individually steam-sterilised nail clippers, reducing any hard areas of dry, dead callused skin, removing any corns from the feet and toes, treating and reducing any cracks in the heels, and managing similar problems using a surgical-grade scalpel. We make sure to remove any skin, dirt and anything else trapped beneath or down the sides of the nail with a sterilised file. When this build-up is allowed to remain, you can experience discomfort, pressure, and you may be more vulnerable to infection. Part of your treatment uses a precision burr to reduce the thickness of the nails where needed, while smoothing the ridges of the nails and removing overgrown cuticles and jagged nail ends. All our burrs are steam-sterilised and we have a large variety of different sizes, shapes and materials for each purpose – whether it be reducing a very thick, crumbly nail or polishing a delicate, thin nail. Your dry, flaky skin and uneven skin will be smoothed and reduced and a disposable nail file is used to smooth out any final edges that may catch on your socks or stockings. The nails are then cleaned with a clear antiseptic spray, followed by tea tree oil – a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Finally, we apply the appropriate moisturiser to your feet to have you feeling great on your feet!

Diabetes & other medical conditions can put you at risk

If you’ve been told that you’re at high-risk when it comes to your foot health then having your feet taken care of professionally and in a sterile environment is particularly important. This is because with diabetes, neurological or neurovascular problems, you’re at a higher risk of injuring your feet and not being able to recover well – making you vulnerable to a series of problems and complications. 

Ready to feel great on your feet?

We’re Auckland’s trusted podiatry team, and part of the team at the One Health Building on Remuera Road. To book your appointment, call us on 09 523 2333 or book your appointment online.

Christmas Is For Crackers, Not Cracked Heels!

If you suffer from cracked heels, then you’ll definitely know about it. Your heels feel rough and the breaks in the skin can catch on your socks and carpet. When you walk barefooted, the cracks can trap dirt. As the hard skin is left unmanaged and continues to build, the healthy skin at the base of the cracks can crack too, causing them to bleed and become very painful. This is where we come in and turn hard, cracked heels into soft, smooth skin.

But what causes cracked heels?

When the skin at the heels becomes dry, it loses its elasticity and suppleness, and becomes hard. Repeated pressure, friction and insufficient moisture to the heels cause more callus to develop. When the thick, dry callus is placed under stress and tension, it splits and cracks. If the cracks split the underlying healthy skin, they’ll become painful, may bleed and are vulnerable to infection. Cracked heels are ultimately caused by factors that place more force or friction on the heels. These include:
  • Certain footwear such as jandals and those with a firm sole
  • Barefoot walking which places more force through the heels as there is no cushioning from footwear, as well as encouraging the loss of moisture
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Not keeping the heels well moisturised

How can we get smooth, supple heels again?

It’s actually much more simple than you think! There are two key steps. 1.  The first is to book in for a 30-minute medical pedicure with us. We’ll start by removing all of the hard, dead skin from your heels using a surgical scalpel. Don’t worry! Because it’s all dead skin, this step is completely harmless. We’ll then use a sanding disc to smooth out any rough or uneven areas, apply tea tree oil, and using an intensive urea-based moisturiser. After these steps, you’ll notice a significant difference as you feel soft, smooth skin. We often hear remarks about how much skin has come off their heels, and that it’s likely to have tipped the weight scales in their favour! 2. The second step is that you continue to moisturise your heels every day. The harsher the conditions and the hotter it is, the more important it is for you to moisture. So this is an absolute essential for the summer! You keep doing this every day, and you keep your cracked heels at bay. If 12-months down the track you notice you’ve let the routine slip and you need another appointment to remove the skin again, we repeat this process and you’re away smiling.

Take care of your heels today!

To start taking care of your feet – and to feel miles better after your first appointment, book in with our foot care experts by calling 09 523 2333 or book online here!

Think you might have a fungal nail infection? Think again.

Having discoloured, brittle toenails showing through in your sandals is not on anyone’s wishlist this summer. Because of the relatively easy way that they spread from one person to another, fungal nail infections have become a relatively common problem we see here at Perform Podiatry. But what may surprise you is that approximately 50% of all people who think they have a fungal nail infection are wrong. What this really means is that if you don’t have a fungal nail infection (and you don’t realise), you could be wasting money, time, and the effort of actually applying the antifungal every day to produce no favourable results. Even worse, you continue to risk spreading the infection to your family and anyone that you share a shower and common surfaces with.

So, how can you know DEFINITIVELY if you have a fungal nail infection or not?

The solution is a simple test that we perform in the clinic using a small sample of your nail. Simple! The test detects the presence of fungus in the sample, and if it’s positive, two lines appear on the strip – very much like a pregnancy test! It’s 99.9% accurate and once we know what the problem is (or isn’t), we map out the best treatment for you So if you’ve been struggling with a fungal nail infection for years and tried everything under the sun without success, please come in and get it checked before you try anything further!! We’d love to help you feel and perform at your best and be proud to show your toes off in the summer! For your interest, here are a few facts on fungal nail infections for you to bear in mind:
  • If one toenail is infected and left untreated, it has a 100% probability of spreading to the other toes throughout your lifetime
  • Fungus lives and thrives in warm, moist environments – like shoes, socks, showers, gyms and saunas. This is also where it is most likely to spread
  • Fungus damages your nails because it feeds on the keratin that your nails are made of. That’s why they become discoloured and flaky.
  • Fungus travels through spores. So if you have a fungal nail infection, there will be plenty of spores where your feet are most often – including in your bed sheets, making anyone your partner vulnerable to infection!
  • Once a fungal nail infection starts, some find it very difficult to treat. This is NOT because of the effectiveness of the various treatment options (though sometimes this does apply), but because of the risk of RE-infection throughout the treatment. That means the risk of an infection taking hold again once the fungus that was already living on the nail has been destroyed.

Taking the worry of infection out of pedicures with medical pedicures!

There’s nothing like treating yourself with some well-deserved pampering. Spa treatments, massages, facials… There’s a warm, fuzzy feeling even thinking about taking an hour or two out to relax and be pampered. When it comes to getting your nails done, however, this warm feeling can become a little tainted. This taint comes from seeing the instruments used on your feet, being pulled out of a drawer or a cup, without any signs of sterilization on sanitation, and that uncomfortable thought creeps through your mind… “Who was this used on before me? Were they cut? Did they have any fungal infections or other infections that may spread to me? How hygienic is this really?” If you’ve ever thought this, you’re definitely not alone. We’re absolutely speaking from our own experience from before we got into podiatry and from the feedback that we still regularly receive from friends and patients. And it’s a very fair thought to have. Fungal nail infections are spread through contact. Plantar warts are spread through sharing surfaces like the foot spas and floors you frequent barefooted in a local nail parlour. While these risks are also present at gyms, saunas and the like, the risk is definitely higher at nail salons due to the tools that are used from person to person, without knowing the salon’s hygiene and sterilization protocols. What we do know, however, is our sterilization and hygiene protocols when we perform our medical grade pedicures.
  • We use an autoclave on every single instrument, before every use. This uses heat/steam to completely sterilise every piece of re-usable equipment that comes into contact with your feet.
  • Following the best-practice guidelines, the instruments are heated to at least 134 degrees to effectively kill anything that has previously come into contact with the instruments.
  • We bag and record every single instrument set, the autoclave cycle it went through, the date it was sterilized, and the autoclave’s printout declaring that the cycle was successfully completed.
  • We don’t open this bag until we’re with you in the treatment room.
And that’s just the beginning. We disinfect all of our surfaces, treatment chairs, floors, and go above and beyond to ensure our hygiene standards are top-notch. This is because our goal is not only to make you look and feel great, but care for your health and well-being. That’s what makes our medical pedicures different – plus the fact that with each appointment, your feet are also being checked by an expert podiatrist and we can make you aware of any risks or things we notice that you may not be aware of. So if you or any of your family would like to have a pedicure without the risk or worry, come in and see our team. You can book by calling 09 523 2333 or click here to book online.  

Say goodbye to discoloured fungal toenails!

  It’s been a fantastic, hot summer here in New Zealand, with lots of time wearing sandals, at the beach and feeling that soft, green grass beneath of our feet. For many of our patients recently, it’s also been the time that they’ve noticed a few unusual changes in the appearance of their toenails – usually yellow and white patches – and have come in to find out what it is and what they can do about it! For many of these patients, the verdict is the same…

It’s a fungal nail infection

A fungal nail infection, medically referred to as onychomycosis, is the infiltration of the nail by a fungus. The changes you may see in your nail occur as the fungus spreads and feeds on the keratin in your nail. In fact, approximately 50% of abnormal toenail appearance changes are caused by a fungus, and around 10% of all adults suffer from fungal nail infections. What does that mean?

Fungal nail infections are easily spread

Yep, fungal infections are definitely contagious and are easily spread within households and public places. This is because fungus spreads through spores that move through the air, as well as direct contact. Fungus also thrives in warm and moist environments, and doesn’t require sunlight to grow. This makes places like showers, public pools, changing rooms, gyms and nail salons the ideal breeding ground for fungus. Once you’ve picked up an infection, the environment inside closed in shoes also provide ideal conditions for the infection to grow and persist. When you come in contact with the fungus and your immune system doesn’t clear the infection before it takes hold, the symptoms will begin. Certain conditions do make people more susceptible to infection. These include:
  • Poor circulation
  • Increased age
  • Male gender
  • A compromised immune system
  • Previous trauma/injury to the feet and nails
  • Family history of infection
  • Diabetes

What do fungal infections look like?

Nails can appear:
  • Brittle
  • Crumbling/flaky
  • Thickened
  • White/yellow/brown discolouration
  • Worm-eaten appearance
You may also develop whitish streaks or spots in the nail, and the nail may begin to come away from the nail bed. They may also cause an odour.

Make sure it really is a fungal nail infection and not something else

It’s important to note that there are other conditions that have a similar appearance to fungal nail infections, such as psoriasis of the nail and trauma. This is why before spending time and money treating the infection, you should get a confirmed diagnosis. We can do this in our clinic in just 5 minutes, easily and painlessly from a small sample of your nail. Once we have a confirmed diagnosis, we’ll talk through the best way to treat your infection based on your symptoms and presentation. We’ll also give you all of the information you need to stop the spread of infection to your friends and family, and minimise your risk of future re-infection as much as possible! For more information or to book an appointment, give our expert team a call on 09 523 2333  

Medical Pedicures

Medical Pedicures – Feel great and stay safe on your feet with Perform Podiatry If you’ve ever been to chain nail salon, there’s a good chance you’ll have asked yourself things along the lines of:
  • Has this chair been cleaned from the person before me?
  • Do they sterilise their instruments?
  • How do they stop the spread of infection?
  • What are the chances I’m going to pick up something nasty?
And you’d be absolutely right to wonder one or all of those things. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as a surprise to us to hear patients describe picking up fungal infections of the skin and nails from salons before they start seeing us. Warts can also be readily transmitted through contact in various places ranging from public swimming pools to gym showers and the like. Hygiene is important! Direct contact is one of the easiest ways to spread infections and a nail salons that have hundreds of feet a day pass through them. It can definitely be a risk when you can’t be certain of their infection control and hygiene protocols. Safety and Hygiene First What you CAN be certain of is our hygiene, infection control protocols and standard of care. At Perform Podiatry, we’re committed to providing clinical excellence in all areas of Podiatry – and this very much includes General Nail Care appointments! Every set of instruments is steam-sterilised at least the day before you see us to meet all of the health board regulations and protocols. We document and track each instrument set and cycle to ensure this and for our clinical records. We use all of the recommended personal protective equipment (and even extra!) to protect both yourself and us from any potential contaminants. We take continued professional development courses to learn and keep updated on the latest standards and techniques in infection control at least every 2 years. More than hygiene, we have a large variety of tools and instruments to make sure your feet get the best care. We follow clinical guidelines throughout all of our treatment to ensure that nothing may pose a risk to your foot health. We care for elongated toenails, thickened nails, fungal nails, discoloured nails, ingrown nails and whatever nail condition you have. We remove unwanted callus, reduce cracked heels, remove corns, treat warts and fungal infections and much more! We then help you understand what caused the problem you’re having and how to stop it from coming back. You are much more than just another pair of feet to us – your feet are what keep you going throughout the day and throughout life and we value that! It’s why we do what we do in Podiatry. To get the best in care for your feet, give us a call and book in with our awesome team! 09 523 2333