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  Of callous' and Corns...

Sports related dermatoses (skin conditions)

Amongst the most common, if not THE most common injuries afflicting athletes affect the skin. This includes the professional, amateur, school-level, and 'weekend' variety of athletes.  A vast variety of dermatologic conditions are represented including traumatic,environmental exposures, neoplasms (growths), infections, and inflammatory conditions. I should note that many of the conditions I discuss here are not specific to the athlete or sport, but are more common, frequent, and more severely presented than in the non-athlete.

Skin Infections:

These are among the most commonly seen conditions, and the most acute as they are contagious and thus can spread to others. Seen most in the contact sports like wrestling, and football; and also, activities that promote a moist skin environment like swimming and use of occlusive equipment. Skin infections can range from bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. A few common diagnoses include impetigo, tinea, Herpes, furunculosis, folliculitis, atypical mycobacteria, and warts. Remember, a successful infection requires a source, contact or air-borne inoculation, and a growth environment (typically one that is warm and moist).

If a skin infection is suspected, I strongly recommend examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment by aboard-certified dermatologist. Accurate, and prompt medical attention will certainly help contain and resolve the infection so our athletes can get back to their sport and assist in spreading the infection to other skin areas or even other teammates.

 

Inflammatory conditions:

The issues here are a bit more complex, as not just the athlete or sport are of concern, rather we must consider the equipment, and environment as well. Irritants and allergy ore two different but related types of rash promoters. Allergic responses can be instigated by chemicals and contacts from so many places directly involved with sporting activities.  We find potential sources for allergic (involving the body's' immune system) rashes (which includes eczema and hives) from shoes, goggles, neoprene, tape, topical products (antiseptics and analgesics). Accurate diagnoses require an excellent history, and an experienced medial work-up.

 Irritant-causing substances rashes are everywhere, from our own perspiration, soaps and detergents, chemicals used on the field of play itself, and materials used to make uniforms and protective gear.  These rashes tend to be localized to the site of contact, but not always, and can be tricky to diagnose.

Skin concerns due to Trauma:

Corns, callous' and blisters are the most frequent and troublesome issues. the latter two are due to friction (and, in most cases moisture), the former due to repeated pressure. Occurring most on the hands and the feet, these simple lesions can sideline the most avid athlete simply due to the functional discomfort involve {ask any major league pitcher!}.

Nail plate issues are of paramount concern as they tend to be challenging to both diagnose and treat. Nail remedies take long periods of time (usually 6+ months in the case of fungus) to be even partially effective. There are some more acute nail injuries due to quick stops and starts, direct injuries  (getting stepped on),  and sports that involve kicking. We see these in runners, tennis players, basketball, skiers, and soccer players for the most part.

There are many unique injuries as well.  A few examples include joggers’ nipples (painful inflammation and erosion due to repetitive friction), Talon Noir and Moguls’ palm (bleeding in the upper skin layers due to shearing forces on the skin (basketball and skiers are common sports), and Acne Mechanica. This later condition is due to combinations of factors seen with a variety of sports. It may develop due to heat, friction, and occlusion (common in football, wrestlers, fencers, and hockey players).  Consider even the frictional forces that induce skin trauma from the very popular water-slide parks.

Our Sporting Environment:

The sporting season means a great deal to sport-related dermatology. In the winter, our skin concerns involve frostbite, circulation to our toes, ears, nose, and fingers. Local moisture can complicate matters further.

Water sports involve many levels of concern insofar as the skin. Consider the chronic wet surface, friction (which may allow a portal of entry for many types of naturally occurring or invasive microbes) and chemicals that may be added to the water. Fresh water vs. salt water and geographical location can make up a significant part of any water-related skin condition diagnosis. For example, we may encounter infections and irritations like Sea-bathers eruption, Swimmers-itch, as well as many types of unpleasant stings and bites ( a topic for another Doctors' Blog in the future).

 

 Growths (neoplasms):

The Athlete’s nodule is a nonspecific term relating to a long list of reactive dermatoses seen in a variety of sports. Football players, boxers, surfers, and hickey players develop these not uncommonly. The location is the common entity. For example, boxers see these on the knuckles, hockey players on the ankles, surfers on the knees and tops of the feet. You get the idea.  The challenge with these lesions is to get the diagnosis accurate. the list of possibilities is not limited to just frictionally included benign lesions. We must consider other potential diagnosis, most tend to be unremarkable and insignificant, but some are not so worry-free. It may be simple and easy to attribute a non-healing lesion to friction but consider that many athletes spend a great deal of time enjoying and participating in their sport (s) while out in the sun.  Outdoor sports, (especially those in the water or at high altitudes) carry a certain risk that goes along with long term repeated ultraviolet exposure. This means you, skiers and swimmers. Athletes, coaches, trainers, and fans of all ages (sitting in the sun watching sports also counts here ) are not exempt from this risk are at risk of accumulating sun (UVB) damage in their skin.

Any non-healing, unfamiliar, growing or changing skin lesion MUST and SHOULD be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist for accurate diagnosis. Annual skin examinations are paramount to a good health-maintenance program.

 

So, go have fun, enjoy your sports, be active and happy. Pay attention to your skin's health. 

 

Be safe and healthy always, but especially so during these challenging times.

 

Wear a proper mask and use social distancing.

If you have questions, please ask your dermatology specialist, we are here to help.

SKIN HEALTH TIPS & DERMATOLOGY NEWS

10 Great Ways to Help Prevent Skin Cancer

(American Society for Dermatologic Surgery)

  • Avoid sun burns-Apply SPF before you go in the sun; and re-apply every 2 hours.

  • Wear sun-protective clothing

  • Wear a shade-producing hat

  • Wear sun glasses (UV rated)

  • Use SPF  on your lips too !!

  • Be aware of reflected sunlight

  • Reapply, reapply, reapply-Use SPF every 3-4 hours

  • Avoid excessive sun between 10am and 2 pm

  • Avoid tanning beds

  • Have your skin examined regularly

 

Questions? Want to learn more? See your board-certified dermatologist soon, and regularly

 Dry Skin Care

Not all moisturizers are created equal.

Chemistry matters !!

The goal of a skin  moisturizer is to keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Hydrated skin feels better, functions more effectively, and is a better barrier against irritants and disease. Choose a product that fits your budget, and is not unpleasant to touch and fragrance.  Cream-based products are prefered over lotions in the winter-time  as they tend to seal in the moisture better.

ASK YOUR DERMATOLOGIST WHICH EMOLLIENT MIGHT BE BEST FOR YOUR DRY SKIN

 

Tips:

  • Humidify your home

  • Apply moisturizer (emollient cream) often, especially after washing or bathing

  • Avoid long HOT showers, and use soapless fragrance-free skin cleansers.

  • Use gentle, clothing detergent products. Be sure laundry cleaning chemicals are rinsed out completely

 

Springtime brings flowers, rain, warm weather, and Poison Plants...

    Poison ivy, poison oak , and poison sumac are plants   that may cause an irritating skin rash on some people. It is an oil, URUSHIOL, present in the sap of these plants that can cause the allergic reaction.  You may also get a rash through indirect contact with the oil, perhaps from clothing, tools, or pets that may have the oil on them. Poison Ivy is by far the most common in our area. Sumac and Oak  can be found, but tend to be more shrub-like and the leaves look different.  Learn to recognize these plants and avoid contact. If uncertain, call a qulaified landscaper or horticulturist to look at your garden or yard.

 

If you suspect a allergic plant rash, call your dermatologist ASAP, as these rashes, which tend to cause blistering, can become very red, itchy, blistered, and easily infected.

 

Dermatologists can diagnose your irritating rash, and offer treatments to relieve itch, rash, and possible secondary infection.

Helpful Links to Learning

American Academy of Dermatology:  www.AAD.org

 

National Psoriasis Foundation: www.psoriasis.org

 

National Rosacea Society:

www.rosacea.org

 

Skin Cancer Foundation:

www.skincancer.org

 

National Eczema Foundation: www.nationaleczema.org

Do You Work Outside in the Summer?

Here's a few things to consider to help keep your skin safe:

  • Clothing: consider wearing a hat long sleeves, and protective gloves. Cotton fibers are comfortable and cool; but fibers that are tightly woven provide more protection from ultraviolet .Bright and dark colors (rather than white) protect you better because the dyes absorb the UV rays.

  • Seek shade: Find covered areas for as much of your work as possible. Adjust your work schedule, if possible, to allow for more to be done during off-peak sun hours.

  • Hats: Remember, you need to protect your ears and neck as well as your face. A tightly woven canvas hat provided better protection than a loose straw one.There are bandanas that are rated with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).

  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes and eyelids. Find lenses that block 99-100% of UV rays. The larger, the better. Polarized lenses help by reducing glare from reflected surfaces.

  • Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a SPF rating of 30, SPFs up to 50 offer extra protection. You must re-apply every 3-4 hours, and even more frequently if you are perspiring. There are so many varieties of UV protective products, find one you like and use it properly. THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO USE A SUNBLOCK.  Ask your dermatologist if you have questions or special issues like allergy or sensitive skin.

  • Skin Exams: see a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin cancer screening. Most skin cancers can be cured IF detected early.

 

      The above are highlights from the 2016 Skin Cancer Foundation Journal. Please visit SKINCANCER.ORG for more information

Preventative Skin Care

--BE AWARE--

  • Be Sun Smart

  • Protect your kids, Teach sun safety

  • Get Vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

  • Get a physical exam of your skin regularly

  • Check your skin at home too for new, changing or          non-healing lesions

 

  • Know the ABCDE's of moles

  • Avoid tanning beds

  • Apply sunblock properly

  • Seek shade

  • Early detection can be the best prevention

 

  • SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST REGULARLY, AT LEAST EVERY 12 MONTHS--- SOONER IF YOU SEE A NEW, CHANGED, OR UNFAMILIAR SKIN LESION

 

  One more thought...

If there is a topic you'd like to see discussed here, please call our office and add your suggestion. We'll do our best to address your idea. 

 

Call: 773-237-SKIN  (7546)

Call today and schedule an appointment

A & G Dermatology Associates

1733 N Harlem Avenue

Chicago, IL 60707

773.237.7546 (SKIN)

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